18 November 2019
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Kotor in Montenegro is often referred to as the hidden jewel of the Adriatic sea and, like its northern neighbour Dubrovnik, it was granted UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site status which helped it gain global recognition. Once the wars of the 1990s were over and publications like Lonely Planet started putting Kotor on the travellers must see list, the number of visitors increased gradually over the years. As the more popular Dubrovnik became overly crowded, many saw Kotor as the perfect alternative. But the number of visitors to the city in recent years have exploded. Kotor is now one of top five destinations for cruise ship destinations. This year, one to three cruise ships dock in its small port almost every day. With thousands of tourist flocking to the city daily, government reports record breaking numbers. This year’s season was the best yet exceeding EUR 1bn in revenue. But there are now fears the medevial “jewel”  might be facing the same fate as Dubrovnk and Venice due to mass tourism. “Kotor was once recognisable for being more authentic than Dubrovnik, but now we are the same,” said Sandra Kapetanović from Expeditio, a Kotor group of architects that advocates sustainable development, in a comment to Croatia’s Jutarnji list. “We are becoming a city of souvenir shops,” she added. Two years ago, UNESCO threatened to remove Kotor from the World Cultural Heritage List, which was a wake up call to Montenegrin authorities who last year decided to impose a temporary ban on any new construction in and around the city. But how the government will tackle the looming issue of overcrowding in the long term remains to be seen.

Adriatic Journal

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