Dubrovnik is mulling over the idea of banning new restaurants for the next five years.
The Croatian picturesque town on the Adriatic Sea has struggled with over-tourism of late, brought about mainly due to the town’s location as ‘King’s Landing’ in the popular HBO television series Game of Thrones.
The town has put measures in place to reduce tourist numbers by limiting the number of cruise ships that can dock in the ports and banning four out of five souvenir stalls. The ban would pertain to outdoor seating, which, as almost all restaurant seating in the town is outdoors, in effect a ban on new restaurants.
The ban on new restaurants would make it impossible for new establishments to place seating on the street until 2025. As the old town of Dubrovnik is all located within the city’s medieval walls, the majority of restaurant seating is on the streets. Most restaurant interiors are made up of only the kitchen with seating outside.While Croatia is experiencing a growth in its culinary scene, Dubrovnik is home to just one Michelin star restaurant, 360°.
"Anyone wanting to open a restaurant in the Old Town cannot put down new tables and chairs for the next five years," Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Franković, who is proposing the move, told CNN of his plans.
"They can open inside, but knowing the Old City it's very hard to find a place where you can work inside. 99% of restaurants work mainly with outside tables."
Over tourism is a serious concern in popular European cities such as Venice which struggles to cope with the burden of cruise ships landing and unleashing thousands of hungry tourists at the same time. The Italian city banned new fast food outlets in 2017, however, some locals claim the ban is being flouted. Barcelona locals took to the streets in 2018 to vent their frustration at what they see as a daily 'invasion' of tourists.