The international success of "Game of Thrones" not only makes the HBO cash register ring for years. Tourism also benefits from the hype surrounding the fantasy saga. For many people, however, this not only has advantages ...
Every year, 1.4 million tourists (figures via Deutschlandfunk Kultur) visit the Croatian port city of Dubrovnik, which until a few months ago has regularly turned into Königsmund, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms in the HBO fantasy series "Game Of Thrones". Visitors come to marvel at the keep - the home of self-proclaimed Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) and her family - to stroll through the narrow streets where Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) occasionally visited brothels and the large one to take a close look at the city wall ...
MASS TOURISM IN KINGS LANDING
Because all these impressive places really exist and they look almost exactly the same as on the TV screen. I have to know because I was one of the 1.4 million tourists this spring. At the end of a trip to Croatia, I visited Dubrovnik for two days and not only witnessed the great "Game Of Thrones" scenes but above all the huge crowds that are pushing through the old streets via the control system (!) And close to each other the city walls sneak.
Since the HBO series, the number of tourists has risen by a third - and this not only suffers the charm of the Adriatic but above all the lives of the inhabitants. If there are 10,000 cruise ship passengers per day and 15,000 other day visitors in the small town, there is simply no room left for everyday life.
OF DRAGON BEERS AND MISSING SUPERMARKETS
And indeed there is no undisturbed everyday life in Dubrovnik - even for purchase in a normal supermarket with food, the few people who still live in the old, beautiful walls have to leave the city.
There is simply no room for normal life in Dubrovnik. Instead, restaurants, souvenir shops, and ATMs as far as the eye can see. And everywhere in between: "Game Of Thrones" merchandise. If you are looking for Egg Cups in the shape of a dragon, you will soon find what you are looking for. Nobody can be happy about it - not even the most diehard "Game Of Thrones" fan. For me, the visit - mind you in the offseason - more torture than pleasure.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL?
According to Tagesschau.de, 5,000 locals used to live in Dubrovnik, but now there are only 800. In order to save the city and make it more attractive for both tourists and residents, the city administration has meanwhile developed plans. Cruise tourism, in particular, is a huge problem. From 2020, at least something should change. Then "only" 4,000 passengers are allowed to stay in the city at the same time and accordingly not so many ships are anchored in the harbor.
While many fans mourn "Game Of Thrones", the end for Dubrovnik should be a new beginning full of hope. Hope for a healthy mix of tourism, tradition and everyday life. Who knows, fans might soon be making a pilgrimage to the locations of the upcoming "Lord of the Rings" series from Amazon ...