Stay away from our city, Croatian tells Kiwi drunks

By Michael Dickison, Ivo Scepanovic

Pave Zupan Ruskovic. Photo / Supplied
Pave Zupan Ruskovic. Photo / Supplied

"Drunken and crazy" young Kiwis and Aussies have been told to stay away from Dubrovnik in Croatia.

But the city tourism official who made the demand has now been sacked for her lack of "tourism diplomacy".

Pave Zupan Ruskovic lashed out at the Downunder tourists and said it would be better if they did not visit Dubrovnik.

"When they enter the city they come drunken and crazy. And that's absolutely not appropriate for any city and in particular for Dubrovnik," Mrs Zupan Ruskovic, a former Croatian Tourism Minister, told the local weekly Dubrovacki List.

In response, Dubrovnik Mayor Andro Vlahusic said he would not be renewing her contract as the city's tourism destination manager, which ended on Saturday.

"Dubrovnik is an open and free city where all the guests are welcome. The private opinions of Pave Zupan Ruskovic have made it seem as if some tourists are not welcome in Dubrovnik, and we have found such quotes unacceptable."

But a defiant Mrs Zupan Ruskovic is standing firm: "Dubrovnik does not need drunken Kiwi and Aussie tourists walking naked down the central street."

Some local tourism officials have blamed her for a lack of "tourism diplomacy", but some tourism operators said she was merely saying what others dared not say.

But maybe she did not say it in a diplomatic way, hotel owner Mate Divic told local daily Slobodna Dalmacija.

A New Zealand woman made headlines recently when she cut her wrist while having sex on a yacht at the island of Hvar in the central Adriatic.

House of Travel retail director Brent Thomas said the popularity of Croatia as a destination for Kiwis had grown tremendously in the past few years and particularly among well-travelled couples who wanted to see somewhere different in Europe.

The firm had never had any feedback about misbehaving Kiwis.

"[But] let's face it, any destination is going to have problems. Kiwis enjoy having a good time, as do Australians, so there's always going to be an element that overindulges and creates an impression that's not favourable."

Marija Kapiteli, a director of NZ-based Croatia Times Travel, said the comments as reported were "extraordinary, very disappointing, unhelpful and very naive for anybody involved in tourism to be making".

- additional reporting: Michael Dickison

- NZ Herald

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