Dubrovnik braces for a major drop in tourism revenues due to the coronavirus epidemic  (Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL) Dubrovnik braces for a major drop in tourism revenues due to the coronavirus epidemic (Grgo Jelavic/PIXSELL)

Dubrovnik, one of Croatia's top tourist destinations, is worried about the upcoming season as foreign travellers cancel plans because of the coronavirus epidemic. The city expects to lose some thirty million kuna in revenue in the first six months of this year due to less money flowing in from visitors. Reservations for the peak season have not been canceled yet, but it is estimated that revenues could be down by 30 to 40 percent from last year and possibly much more if the epidemic persists.

Mayor Mato Franković has announced a set of measures to offset losses for local businesses including some tax breaks and reduced fees. The city also has a sizable surplus from last year which it plans to use to plug the holes in this year’s budget later this year.

"The season itself is not in question right now and must not fuel a panic. Our pre-season will be significantly weaker than expected, not to mention last year's numbers," Franković said.

Franković expects the city to really start feeling the effects of the crisis after Easter. The biggest drops are expected in the cruise ship sector, where 70 to 80 percent of bookings are expected to be canceled.

"Looking at the spread of the virus in Italy, if anything even close to that happens here, we are done. We rely on tourism and there won't be any," a local man told HRT.

Business owners in the city worry that even if the situation persist just until June that will already have a profound effect on the local economy.