Newest EU state goes all out for marina growth


Up to an incredible 28,000 yachts will be sailing in the Adriatic by 2018, if the latest EU member gets its way. Croatia currently has some 50 marinas offering around 14,000 berths and the government is planning to double this by 2018, IBI magazine reports.

The Croatian Association of Nautical Tourism estimates that 70,000 yachts dropped anchor in the Adriatic last year and the Adriatic states of Croatia and Montenegro are planning to expand their nautical tourism sectors through increased marketing and expansion of yacht infrastructure along their coasts, according to a report in the Southeast European Times.

The coasts of these two countries are attractive for yacht cruising holidays and there is ongoing expansion of the marina infrastructure in both countries. Croatia currently has some 50 marinas offering around 14,000 berths and the government is planning to double this by 2018. These countries look to the Western Mediterranean where there are 180,000 berths to see the opportunity for growth. The Adriatic is within a day or so’s cruising and is seen to hold significant growth capacity. Croatia’s membership of the EU may well be a bonus for this.

Mato Frankovic, director of Dubrovnik Marinac told the newspaper: “We have only 380 berths left here. Before we had 450, but the yachts are getting bigger by the year. I get people in my office who are seriously rich. They want to moor their megayachts for winter. I have increased the price for a berth up to €100,000 per season, but they keep coming to my office.”

Frankovic often has to turn yachts away, forcing owners to seek winter berths in France, Italy or America.

In Montenegro, the leading development in recent years is the Porto Montenegro project. Beckett Tucker, Porto Montenegro’s sales manager, told the SE Times: “The Adriatic is very attractive to yacht owners. While Greece is one week sailing from southern France, the Adriatic can be reached in slightly over one day.”

Tucker explained to the newspaper: “We’re now extending the marina so as to accommodate 150 to 170 berths for superyachts and 800 for smaller boats. That would turn Porto Montenegro, built on a former Yugoslav navy base in the Bay of Kotor where 1,000 people are employed, into the biggest marina for megayachts in the world.”

Cavtat in Croatia attracts a number of larger superyachts, including one of Roman Abramovich’s fleet and Lakshmi Mittal’s 80m (262ft) yacht. Luksa Glavina, a director of Dalmi Resorts, a Canadian company planning to build a 200-berth marina across the bay from Cavtat, indicated that an additional 1,000 berths are planned over the next few years in the area.