150 years of organized tourism in Hvar
After mature deliberation, and with the approval of the ablest physicians and excellent natural scientists, it was found out that for treatment of chest diseases, there is no place more suitable than Hvar. Due to its location, construction and peculiarities of the climate, it can not only be a rival to Venice, Pisa, Nice, etc., but can potentially surpass them in many aspects.
Guided by these reasons and inspired by feelings of patriotism and humanity, with the belief that we can provide the residents of Austria and northern Germany with accessible and appropriate accomodation, here in Hvar in Dalmatia, we establish a joint stock company under the name of Hygienic Society of Hvar.
This is a part of the famous manifesto on the founding of Hygienic Society of Hvar, the first tourist association in this region. The objectives contained therein clearly indicate that this is an association that will systematically and professionally promote commercial and tourism activities in the city.
May 15, 1868 can therefore be considered as the date of inception of Hvar tourism in the modern sense of word. It was an unmatched feat and the beginning of a bright history that gave rise to the present Hvar – a city infused with tourism in all its segments.
Browsing through the archives of Hygienic Society provides us with the detailed insight into the development of the idea of tourism on Hvar from the very beginning. Thus we find out that the very first hotel with 13 rooms was opened in the adapted Duboković building on town square on October 15, 1868. At the same time, Hygienic Society activists began an ambitious and demanding program of construction of a new hotel. It received the first guests in 1903.
Unfortunately, with all the initial success, the hotel business at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th century fell into serious difficulties, so the Hygienic society was forced to sell the hotel to Mr. Milan Čanko, owner of the Royal hotel in Zagreb, for 250.000 Krunas. A couple of years later, the Hygienic society ceased to exist.
Tourist life of Hvar in the period between the two world wars was largely marked by a long-time mayor of Hvar, physician Dr. Joseph Avelini. His involvement was comprehensive, from the efforts to improve basic public needs and services of the city (water, electricity, traffic connections) through a number of initiatives to build tourist facilities to the very intensive tourism promotion. Guests were of the various social classes and all ages, which depicts the tourist life of Hvar in this period in extremely bright, fluttering colors.
In the years after World War II tourist life in Hvar is radically changing. The tourism industry is now taken care of by the state which stimulates extremely non-profit workers’ union form of tourism. However, the memory of interwar tourism success was still lively, so in the early 1960s began a thorough renovation of the tourist life of Hvar. Guests were numerous, mainly from Central and Western Europe, and the Germans were dominant. Those are the years of great success in which Hvar receives many domestic and international tourism awards; but also when, under the influence of foreign and domestic travel agencies, Hvar’s tourism industry slowly becomes more and more widespread. In the mid 1980s, this type of tourism reached its highpoint, but this was actually the beginning of a crisis, which will last until the late 1990s. The crisis was further deepened during the Homeland War, when the tourist life of Hvar came to a standstill.
Actual tourism moment of Hvar is marked by a variety of fresh new projects, by new, up to date hotel and catering areas, by richer and ever-growing range of tourist services, and by generally more modern and more professional destination management.