ABOUT THE REGION
Dubrovnik Neretva County is a regional government, NUTS II level in Adriatic Croatia. It is the southernmost county of Croatia. The major part of the territory of the County is situated by the national border with neighbouring countries Bosnia and Herzegovina (land and sea border) on the north, Montenegro on the south-east, and Italy, (sea border) on the south. It's territory is divided into 22 units of local government, 5 cities (Dubrovnik, Korčula, Ploče, Metković and Opuzen) and 17 municipalities (Blato, Dubrovačko primorje, Janjina, Konavle, Kula Norinska, Lastovo, Lumbarda, Mljet, Orebić, Pojezerje, Slivno, Smokvica, Ston, Trpanj, Vela Luka, Zažablje i Župa dubrovačka). The center of the County is the city of Dubrovnik.
The Dubrovnik-Neretva County belongs to minor Croatian counties both with regards to the surface of its land territory, and the number of its inhabitants. It covers an area of 1.780,86 km, its population according to the most recent official list being 122,568 inhabitants. The 1,024.63 km long coast of the County is highly indented and varies from protected bays with sandy beaches of exotic beauty to an open-sea exposed steep coastal area with cliffs. This diversity of exceptionally rich landscapes makes the coast of the County one of the most beautiful coasts in the Mediterranean.
As part of the national road traffic network, Dubrovnik Neretva County is located at the end of the Adriatic road (D8). National Highway A1 ends in the town of Ploče. County has 17 national roads, 33 county roads and 72 local roads.
Considering the number of passengers, air traffic is the most important transport that connects the County with the rest of Croatia and world . Dubrovnik International Airport belongs to the international airport of secondary category of "4E". It is located near Čilipi in the Municipality of Konavle, at 20 km from Dubrovnik. The importance of air transport in the County traffic system is in the fact that more than 60% of the total number of tourists comes to the County by plane. On an annual basis Airport Dubrovnik has over 1.5 million passengers.
Maritime transport is particularly important for the County because, with air traffic, has the greatest potential for further development. Ports in Dubrovnik Neretva County of international importance for the Croatia are the passenger port in Gruž and cargo port in Ploče. Ports of the County importance are: Port of Dubrovnik, Port of Korčula, Port of Trpanj, Port of Vela Luka, port of Orebić and cargo port of Metković.
In the County, there is only one railway line, from Ploče through Metković further to Central Europe. It was completely reconstructed and it is part of Pan-European Corridor 5C.
Tourism is the leading sector of investment in the County, based on the unique cultural and historical heritage, well-preserved natural heritage and on the Old Town in the city of Dubrovnik already recognized as a world brand. Its importance comes from the impact on business entities, such as construction, real estate, transportation services, agriculture . Dominant centers are Dubrovnik, Korčula, Konavle and Orebić in the number of overnight stays. They realize 2/3 of all overnight stays in the County. Hotels have importance in the total tourist traffic, especially from the aspect of the extension of the tourist season. Dubrovnik Neretva County is leading in Croatia according to the proportion of 5 stars hotels. A significant increase in investment in tourism in the past period was followed by an increase of tourist traffic. Dubrovnik-Neretva County is the leader in the segment of Cruise tourism.
The potential for the development of tourism are: the existing hotel infrastructure and the development of selective types of tourism - rural tourism (small and family-owned hotels in authentic rural areas), golf tourism (new locations defined by the County Spatial Plan), maritime tourism (3 ports for maritime tourism and 74 small ports), congress turism, cultural tourism, health tourism...
The agriculture in the County has highly developed potential based on fertile farming areas (The Neretva Valley – citruses, vegetable and fruit) and on the areas favourable to the growth of traditional cultures (vine, olive trees, herbs, etc). The County has more than 1,800,000 citrus trees (mostly mandarins) representing 90% of the total number of citrus trees in the Republic of Croatia, 16% of the total fig production and 28% of the production of olives and olive oil. Viticulture in the County is the 4th largest in terms of overall production in Republic of Croatia which amounts to 8.5% of the total grape production in the Republic of Croatia. The aquaculture has also great potentials based on the favourable conditions of the local waters for farming of shells and white fish (The Bay of Mali Ston – oysters), as well as fishery whose future potential lies in 7,500 km² of the sea area in the County. The technology and business innovation centre for aquaculture (MARIBIC) in The Bay of Mali Ston promotes new farming technologies and continuously works with local farmers whose number is expanding.
There are considerable opportunities for the implementation of energy efficiency measures in the public and private sector and households. Potential areas for investment in the County are numerous water resources representing major hydro-power potential, renewable energy resources (solar and wind energy) and resources for the exploatation of mineral raw materials (stone).
A highly developed educational network with many universities and a well developed relation between undergraduate four-year programs and professional studies: preschool education (18 institutions), primary- school education (31 central schools and 16 subsidiary schools), secondary education (14 secondary schools), university education (UNIDU University of Dubrovnik , RIT American College of Management and Technology , DIU – Dubrovnik International University). The existing university programs are: economics and business, maritime affairs, informatics, marine culture, restoration, diplomacy, media...
QUALITY OF LIFE
Dubrovnik Neretva County has a well developed network of health institutions: Dubrovnik General Hospital, Kalos Specialised Hospital in Vela Luka, 5 health centres, 4 old people's homes, 4 social welfare centres and 5 institutions for other types of social welfare. There is also a well developed network of cultural programs (numerous cultural events) with a high level of public participation in social life. The County has 285 cultural and 607 sport organisations, 15 museums and galleries, 12 libraries, 13 cultural centres and theatres.
County’s operational body for the preparation and implementation of EU funded projects is the agency DUNEA (100% owned by the County). Dubrovnik Neretva County together with RDA Dunea holds a relevant EU programming, preparation and implementation experience, gathered as project-partner and/or applicant. It has competent staff, knowledgeable about the matter with great success in implementing all projects in different areas such as: culture, environmental protection, ICT, rural tourism, rural development, agriculture, civil protection, institutional cooperation and coordination etc. All finalized projects were marked as highly successful by the relevant contracting and monitoring bodies.