Despite strong opposition from some locals, authorities in Croatian city of Dubrovnik have approved a controversial project that will see the construction of a golf complex on a hill with the cost of the project estimated to be more than one billion euros.
Critics have raised environmental concerns over the development on a site, and also said that the modern project is incompatible with the architecture of the city, a UNESCO world heritage site.
AdvertisementThe project, backed by Australian former world number one golfer Greg Norman, aims to build two golf courses, two hotels, 240 villas and 400 apartments on 310 hectares (766 acres) of the land.
"A total of 16 city councillors of the 24 present during Tuesday's vote backed the project," city council spokeswoman Kristina Civalo told AFP of the vote on Tuesday evening.
Construction on the project -- the brainchild of Israeli businessman Aaron Frenkel -- could begin later this year.
Those supporting the scheme say it will result in the creation of local jobs and provide a boost to the tourism industry.
Norman, who won two Majors, is to open a golf academy at the project site, local media reported.
Some 100 protestors had gathered outside Dubrovnik's city hall to voice their opposition and carried banners which read "Srdj is ours" in reference to the name of the land where the complex will be built.
The newest member of the European Union, Croatia hosts more than 11 million tourists yearly, almost triple of its population of 4.2 million.
Dubrovnik is visited by some 700,000 tourists every year.