Adriatic Sea Forum 2023 in Dubrovnik: Many projects

The sixth edition of the Adriatic Sea Forum took place in Dubrovnik, with greetings from the Mayor and leading authorities in the maritime field of the Croatian city.

The two-day forum were focused on the discussion and challenges of tourism in the Adriatic, with the presence of 50 international speakers and more than 250 operators representing professional categories interested in tourism in this area. The main results of the summit lead to a declaration of intent on future initiatives and activities to be implemented in the tourist ports of the Adriatic.

“The figures we are sharing with all operators in this sixth edition of the Adriatic Sea Forum testify to the recovery of all nautical tourism in the Adriatic, a sector that will soon (in 2024, if not already in 2023) return to pre-pandemic figures”, comments Francesco di Cesare, President of Risposte Turismo. “Public organizations and private realities are investing heavily in products, and the conviction remains strong that we can strive for better results, not only quantitatively. In our opinion, there is still much to be done to give due recognition to one of the most beautiful areas in the world and finally make it one of the most popular tourist destinations for international clients. To achieve this, more efforts are needed, not only in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of promotion and the ability to offer holiday proposals that are always up to date and in line with the new sensitivities and preferences of demand.”

Several projects will be realized: the new cruise terminal in Marghera, Venice, for the berthing of ships over 25,000 tons, and the one in Igoumenitsa, Greece, which will be able to accommodate ships up to 240 meters in length, in addition to the new marine station at Porto Corsini in Ravenna. Then, by the summer of 2024, the second marina in the port of Bari and the first marina in Split will be completed.

According to Risposte Turismo’s research team, the cruise and ferry sectors will be the main beneficiaries of new investments in the current three-year period (a total of about 210 million euros), out of a total of more than 416 million euros in infrastructure dedicated to nautical tourism in the Adriatic.

Among the main findings of the new edition of the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report, presented by Francesco di Cesare – President of Risposte Turismo, cruises, ferries and boats were discussed.


In terms of cruise traffic, the 32 Adriatic cruise ports will receive 4.5 million passengers (embarking, disembarking and transit) in 2023, an increase of 29.3% compared to 2022.

At the end of the year, Corfu will be confirmed as the Adriatic cruise port with the highest number of passengers (615,000, +16.8% compared to 2022), ahead of Venice, which will rise in the ranking thanks to 243 ship calls, not including the traffic in Chioggia and Dubrovnik. At the foot of the podium Bari (half a million passengers) and Kotor (440 thousand).

In 2023, Italy will be confirmed as the queen of cruise traffic with just over 2 million passengers handled (+35%), representing 46.2% of the total, ahead of Croatia and Greece. Positive year-end forecasts are also expected for other countries bordering the Adriatic, from Montenegro to Slovenia and Albania.


The recovery in passenger traffic on ferries, hydrofoils and catamarans continues. According to updated forecasts, the thirteen main Adriatic ports will record 19.3 million passengers handled (+7.9%) and over 79,000 ship calls (+9.9%) at the end of the year.

Croatia will remain in first place at the end of the year with over 9.7 million passengers handled (+6.2%), ahead of Greece and Italy.

Among the ports analyzed, there are positive forecasts for Split, firmly in the lead with 5.2 million passengers handled, Igoumenitsa (Greece) and Zadar (Croatia), in addition to the good growth of the port of Korcula (Croatia).


In the nautical sector, the demand for services is growing and more than 206 million euros of investments have been earmarked, of which at least 182 million euros for the construction of new marinas and the rest for the expansion of existing facilities.

New projects include Vlora Marina in Albania and Porto Baros Marina in Rijeka, Croatia, while the expansion of existing facilities includes Marina Polesana (Croatia) and Marina Korkyra (Greece). On the Italian side, 40 new berths will be built in the Jesolo marina, 50 in the Rodi Garganico marina and up to 10 in the Brindisi marina.

Germany is the main source market for nautical tourism, followed by Austria and Italy. However, the Risposte Turismo survey highlights the importance of integrating the marinas into the tourist programs of the host areas, which is unfortunately demonstrated by the scarce offer of excursions and guided tours of the area by nautical facilities.

Since 2013, the Adriatic Sea Tourism Report has been a point of reference for all nautical tourism operators in the Adriatic region, and also includes updated forecasts for the closure of maritime traffic until 2023, as well as an in-depth look at nautical tourism in the seven countries bordering the Adriatic Sea.

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Lucia Angeli