Photo by: Barbieri family archives
THE FOUNDER OF THE LARGEST CHAIN OF MARINAS
“Opponents, even enemies, are a basic part of man’s life. If I had had no opponents, it is uncertain whether I would have had the encouragementthat pushed me forward and that led me tonew projects,” Barbieri said during the presentationof his memoirs “Protiv vjetra” (Against theWind). Those projects in the end will become hispermanent legacy.
The largest chain of marinas in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Croatia International Club p.l.c. – ACI d.d. was founded 35 years ago as the ACY. That was a unique business and construction venture, moreover because everything happened on the territory of the former state, in the middle of a difficult economic and political crisis – in short, at a tumultuous and dramatic time.
Tourism was mostly based on workers’ resorts, Red Cross vacation homes for children, hotels, the cottage industry, autocamps and restaurants. Sailing as an economic branch of tourism did not exist. There were only several marinas on the Adriatic shore at that time. They were mostly located near shipyards, where yachts and boats could be left on safe berth. Foreign boaters sailed through the Adriatic Sea drawn by its wilderness and exceptional beauty. Most of them were drawn by the fact that the Adriatic was still a safari zone where they could sail and moor in untouched nature.
It was precisely the boaters that played the main part in creating the ACI: boaters, young enthusiastic experts and managers with a vision. However, the founder of it all is one exceptional person…
A man with a vision
Veljko Barbieri from Makarska, full of ambition and Dalmatian defiance, became a manager in his most fruitful years, that is, in his fifties. Ever since he had been a boy, Barbieri had always had great love for the sea. He was born next to it and he was a great aficionado for everything related to the sea – sailing, cruising, fishing.