This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Located on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, the city of Zadar has been a key destination in a part of Europe that has seen significant tourism growth during the past 20 years.
The Port of Zadar Authority oversees all cruise and ferry activity at the port. The authority works to ensure that visitors to the region, which is rich in culture and natural coastal beauty, have an experience they won’t forget in a hurry.
A number of national parks, historical sites and unspoiled islands in the Adriatic Sea are easily accessible from the city, which itself is more than 3,000 years old.
Visitors to Zadar can also explore other nearby places along the Dalmatian coast. Nearby lies the beautiful Plitvice Lakes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while the Kornati archipelago is a group of 140 islands that together comprise one of Croatia’s most pristine national parks.
With such offerings available, the Port of Zadar Authority has seen a significant increase in the number of cruise passengers at its two ports – the City Port and Port of Gazenica, which lies around three miles south of the main city.
The authority noted a 94% increase in cruise passengers in 2016 compared to 2015, with around 136,000 passengers visiting. More calls are expected in 2017, while passenger numbers are expected to remain at a similar figure.
These figures are even more impressive when compared to those from earlier this decade. The Port of Zadar welcomed seven times as many passengers in 2016 than in 2012 for example.
A major reason for such growth is the development of the facility at Gazenica, which commenced in 2014 and has radically enhanced the Port of Zadar’s profile. The port no longer has a ship size limit, meaning passenger number growth is now possible.
To help sustain such positive trends, a new terminal building is being constructed at the Port of Gazenica. The Port of Zadar Authority will be overseeing this work, which is scheduled for completion in January 2018. The tendering process for the management of the terminal building is expected to commence during 2017.
Part of the new terminal building will serve domestic traffic needs, while the rest will be dedicated to cruising – both transit and homeporting – and international ferry and ro-ro activities.
The Port of Zadar Authority is keen to enhance the port and the city’s growing reputation within the cruise industry. To support this, the authority is working with other stakeholders in Zadar to encourage investment in the city, particularly around commercial and hospitality opportunities.