Following the story of The Golden coast we have stacked Edo Maržić the visionary of the Golden coast; a major investment that envisages the construction of an entire new town on Pag, with more than 10,000 people living there.
Edo Maržić can’t hide his emotions. He believes that it is a great advantage that he has traveled a lot, but is disappointed that other tourist destinations are making money while Croatia, which has huge potential, still does not earn enough. With the construction of a canal linking Dinjiš Bay with the town of Pag and Košljun, an unprecedented opportunity would open up for a completely new maritime corridor.
C2go: Can you, in the most simple way, explain, what your project, Zlatna obala“ consists of?
Edo Maržić: The Gold Coast is a seaside city that exists worldwide in several destinations (Port Grimaud in France, Limassol Marina in Cyprus, Port Cesme in Turkey…). In these examples, the idea of the Golden Coast came into being. The capacity would be about 10000 people, the main users would be 90% boaters because the point is that every house has its berth, ie parking for a boat. The town of Pag, which is now quite isolated, will connect because the canal of Pag is dangerous due to storms and wind. The canal would shorten entry to the city of Pag from 40 nautical miles to 5 nautical miles. It will be a true tourist spot with hotels, restaurants, and private villas and apartments. Parks, shops, and everything else one guest needs to come back and enjoy the whole region.
C2go: How come, of all of the Croatian islands, you chose Pag as a base of your project?
Edo Maržić: Because of its natural terrain…the old saltworks located on the island of Pag is no longer operational. We used to live pretty well from salt, but due to imports and new ways of processing salt, saltworks have no function today and are closing. The terrain is ideal for this project because the whole bay is at +/- 2m above sea level. Among other things, Pag is my hometown and I have a great desire to revive it and have locals work all year long. It will be done in several stages as it is a major project of several billion euros.
C2go: In which way, you think, Croatia can show off in terms of tourism? You’ve mentioned the context of Adriatic tourism, how much is Croatia a player in that specific context?
Edo Maržić: Croatia has the greatest potential in the Mediterranean, but the problem is that millions of square meters are owned by states and municipalities. All these huge blank squares are unused and neglected while privately owned throughout the European Union (Spain, Portugal, Italy). Investors in other countries had a lot of trouble uniting it, but they did better than we did. For example, the island of Pag has 300km of coastline, of which 5.6km of coastline is inoperative, everything remains rocky and neglected.
The rule in the Mediterranean is that each guest needs 5m2 of the beach. Eg. Montenegro has a lot of squares of beaches, but now they are doing a new 300.000m2 beach because they have seen that their beaches are overcrowded and are following EU standards – 5m2 per guest. Consider how many beaches our cities have and how many guests. Without beaches, there is no quality tourism. Eg. The Cote d’Azur of the ’50s and’ 60s, was full of rocks, and today there are all sandy spacious beaches full of tourists. We hope to settle a minimum of 2000 new people in Pag, who will work on this project. Because now Pag, like other cities, is massively displaced. 20 years ago, there were 10,000 people, and today there aren’t even 2000.
C2go: Who do you see as perfect examples of visitors to „Zlatna obala“ and similar projects?
Edo Maržić: There are 35,000 boaters in Croatia. Every boater wants to have his boat in front of his house, all boaters from the European Union could hardly wait for this project to come to life.
C2go: Can you tell more about the fund for retirees and students you’ve mentioned?
Edo Maržić: My wish is that the passage through the canal will cost € 20, and € 10 will go to the pensioners of the island of Pag, which will finance the nursing home and the kitchen that will feed all the pensioners of the island of Pag. While € 10 goes to students, they will be educated at various colleges. The remaining money will be used to improve the standard of living on the island of Pag. There are 140,000 entries in Croatia every year, and every charter owner will want to visit the island and the town of Pag because it will become a great attraction, and the island itself and its extremely interesting culture.
C2go: What more, in your opinion, can be achieved in terms of better promotion of Croatian culture and tourism?
Edo Maržić: A major turnaround can be made, as rich people who have a high standard will gather in a place like this. For example, Port Grimaud in France, 70% is owned by Germans, Austrians, French, or high-paying individuals. In this piece, everything will be of a high standard, everyone will be in different speaking areas and everyone will be able to socialize because they will have the same interests.
C2go: Do you have any additional plans regarding the promotion of Croatia?
Edo Maržić: The biggest and most effective promotion in Croatia is when a guest comes and is satisfied and returns, and the same guest expands their experience about Croatia’s offer and culture, and so more come. It’s the biggest promotion we can have. Every city and every tourist place must ask why guests come only once and never again. Some cities have a maximum of 2-3 days average guest stay, this is already an alarm.