The town of Hvar, on the eponymous island in central Dalmatia, will dedicate all of 2018 to celebrate 150 years of organised tourism on one of the most popular islands of the Croatian Adriatic.
The central events marking the anniversary of the first tourist board on the island will take place May 10-15, including a series of exhibitions, concerts and other programmes.
The town of Hvar was visited by 198,000 tourists in 2017, or 15 percent up from 2016.
“Hvar is already receiving this season’s visitors from Croatia and abroad. The first four months of 2018 were very good for the town of Hvar in terms of arrivals, which were 16 percent up from the same period the year before. This is important, as this rise was achieved during the tourist pre-season,” director of the Hvar tourist board, Petar Razovic, said.
Razovic added that the biggest increase in visitors was recorded with tourists coming from Japan and South Korea, and that among those currently staying at the town the largest groups by country of origin were the ones from Scandinavian countries, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
In 1868 a society to promote Hvar as a health tourism destination was established, and the same year the town’s first hotel opened. Over the following five decades, the town became a popular resort known across Austria-Hungary, attracting upper class visitors from Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, until the country’s disappearance in 1914.
The town authorities will combine the programme with the 160th anniversary of the meteorological station on Hvar, one of the oldest in Europe, as well as the 160th anniversary of the birth of one of the most famous of island’s natives, Ivan Vucetic, credited with inventing fingerprint identification techniques in the 1890s after emigrating to Argentina.
The town, renowned as an upscale and glamorous party destination, will also open to the public the renovated Arsenal building, a historic 13th century Venetian shipyard, along with Europe’s first public theatre which opened on the building’s first floor in 1612.
“We are hoping the positive tourist trends will continue, and we believe the 150th anniversary of tourists on Hvar might serve as a new reason to come and visit our town and our island. It’s not just a celebration for us, it’s an important milestone on the national level as well, and holds importance for the entire Croatian tourist industry,” said Mayor of Hvar, Rikardo Novak.