On 26 July, the Pelješac Bridge was inaugurated in Croatia. It is one of the biggest EU-funded projects in the EU and the biggest one in Croatia. The new bridge will connect the southernmost part of Croatia and Dubrovnik to the rest of mainland Croatia, by crossing the Mali Ston Bay over the Adriatic Sea.
This bridge will significantly improve the everyday life of Croatians – by reducing the travel time between Dubrovnik and Split – and travellers in the nearby areas. A smooth flow of goods and people will facilitate access to public services, such as healthcare, and economic services in the different sub-regional centres. This seamless connection will also greatly benefit tourism, trade and will reinforce the territorial cohesion of the region.
The Pelješac Bridge is 55m high, thus allowing a free transit of the vessels and 2.4 km long, with four lanes. The EU is also funding infrastructures linked to the bridge, such as the construction of access roads, including tunnels, bridges and viaducts, the building of an 8km-long bypass near the town of Ston and the upgrade of the existing road D414.
This is a project of great importance for both Croatia and for the EU. This bridge is a symbol of European solidarity and support to Croatia in financial and political terms.Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms
In addition to enabling a road connection to and from the south of Croatia, the Pelješac Bridge is also becoming a new tourist attraction in its own right, which will play a part in the country’s tourism promotion and is expected to further stimulate tourist demand for the south, stated the Croatian National Tourist Board Director, Kristjan Staničić for Hina.
“The bridge will certainly be a new tourist attraction, both for sailors, for whom sailing under the bridge will be a special experience, as well as for many travellers and tourists who can enjoy a wonderful view of the bridge from the surrounding viewpoints and roads. Just how much the bridge itself will be highlighted in the creation of special offers, tours, souvenirs and other products depends on the destinations themselves and the businesses and service providers operating in that region, and the CNTB will, as done to date, use the bridge as part of promotional and informational campaigns,” said Staničić on Tuesday ahead of the opening of the Pelješac Bridge.
Director Staničić also said that it is still too early to talk about the direct and definitive impact the bridge will have on the tourism numbers in destinations in the far south, but he believes that it is quite certain that the bridge will reduce the dependence of the region on air traffic.
This fits into the image of Croatia as a very well-positioned and recognized high-quality car destination, to which the Pelješac Bridge additionally contributes.Kristjan Staničić, Croatian National Tourist Board Director
“Although Great Britain and the USA are among the most important tourist markets for the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the markets of Germany, Poland, France and Slovenia are also very important, as well as the domestic market, so a direct impact of the bridge on greater demand and arrivals from these markets is also expected”, said Staničić.
Regarding tourism, Staničić also emphasized that, in addition to the better road accessibility to Dubrovnik and the entire Pelješac peninsula, the bridge also means that traveling to that part of the country will be much more convenient and pleasant from now on. “We are especially proud of how the bridge, with its complex and unique design, has changed the view of the Bay of Mali Ston, which will certainly benefit us in the preparation of attractive and high-quality promotional materials and content for foreign markets” he said.