Something always happens once upon a time
The first attempts to change the abandoned Lucija saltpans go back to 1964, when a boathouse intended for sport and recreation was built. Due to insufficient funding this was a lone attempt to improve the area. Yet thinking about it did not die out. Soon Invest bureau Koper under the leadership of professor Edo Mihevc prepared a document titled ‘Urban planning programme of the Slovenian coast’, which was accepted by all three municipalities. The document also identified the development of tourism in the direction of yachting tourism.
In 1970 at a meeting on the premises of General Navigation, a group was formed to find a suitable location for a water sports centre. This meeting sowed the seed for the construction of a sport - tourist harbour that sprouted in 1973 when the idea was accepted by the Casino Portorož, which joined in the preparation of urban planning documentation for the location of the Water sports Centre at the desolated saltpans in Lucija.
Anton Spinelli, the father of the Casino Portorož, a banker and old hand in Piran tourism ascertained aloud while thinking on the further development of Piran tourism: ‘Tourism without tourism infrastructure is like a tree with no branches’. He placed himself at the forefront of the activists for the construction of a water sports centre on the Lucija saltpans.
The Casino Portorož labour council as a managing body set up an organisational unit at a meeting on 18 October 1976 for managing the investment for the construction of a water sports centre in Lucija. Enes Lojo became its manager. Preparations continued and ended with the confirmation of the ŠRC investment programme with a sport – tourist harbour and a water sports centre on 20 January 1977.
In May 1977, when all procedures with the authorities were finished, the foundation stone was laid as it is fitting for a large construction.
The first substage, construction of the first inner harbour, was completed in June 1979. Together with the first substage, the beach and communal mooring for residents were constructed.
In 1982, construction of the water sports centre was completed, and with it, the first stage of the marina construction was officially completed. With its completion, the area could also be horticulturally arranged, while the operating piers and plateaus were regulated for the successful operation of the marina. The marina finally had the operational capacity for business activities.
After receiving the blessings of the authorities, in June 1979 the first boaters appeared. The marina was registered on the map of European and international marinas with 220 moorings.
The second stage
The second stage that began in the year 1983 involved a larger inner harbour, two hangars, a hillock with a restaurant and swimming pool on it, the reception facility, arranging the Fazan channel for communal moorings, sport facilities and much more. The basin was meant to provide berthing for boats up to 25m in length, which for those times was a great deal, now we find that the mooring places with such lengths are sorely lacking in number.
The first hangar was built and immediately included into the marina’s activities in the year 1983. Already during the first stage, six were built, and as part of the second stage another seven tennis courts were added. In addition to nautical activities, the construction committee managed to arrange in this manner the possibility for recreation, sport activities, and entertainment.
The chronicler also records that with the erection of the second stage of the marina, the Slovenian sea, for which we are still fighting, finally gained the first real island.
The official opening of the Marina Portorož was May 1986.
Immediately after the conclusion of the first stage, Marina Portorož started its international career as an internal organisation unit of the Casino Portorož. The entry of the Marina Portorož into the international nautical market was not easy. Yet the builders with Enes Lojo at the forefront said: ‘if we built the marina, we will also realise it!’ Indeed, Marina Portorož stepped firmly onto the international market. After the first hard steps, the marina found its legs and continued faster and more successfully to increase and stabilise its steps. Slowly but surely marina Portorož has paved its way into the elite company of European and international marinas.
An important acquisition was the 20 tonne crane obtained by the marina in 1980, which still works faultlessly. In the year 1989, Elektromehanika from Rijeka manufactured and supplied a 50 tonne crane. With this, the marina was also equipped to raise larger vessels.
The Marina was built with the most contemporary devices and equipment that neutralise the negative effects of the marina activities on the environment. For the positive attitude towards ecological problems and environmental safety, the Marina Portorož received a blue flag as the highest recognition of ecological awareness awarded by the international organisation Foundation for Environment Education (FEE). For the past 14 years, the Marina has received it every year.
The Marina started its business activity in the year 1979 as part of a work unit of the casino, and gradually developed into today’s shape.
The Marina Portorož was established in the year 1992 as a limited liability company in the complete ownership of the Portorož tourist company.
The year 1995 represents a turning point, that year Marina Portorož transformed its ownership into an independent joint stock company with known owners.
After perceiving the popularity of mineral water and exploring the possibilities for its acquisition, in 1994 they drilled a well in the platform in front of the marina. At 75m depth, they struck thermal water of adequate quality at 25 degrees.
In the year 1996, on the initiative of Jurij Korenc the Director of Studio 37 from Ljubljana and the Captain of the Marina, Marjan Matevljič, joint business activities, and cooperation was established between Marina Portorož and Studio 37 in the form of preparation and the implementation of the first large international nautical exhibition in Slovenia. They named it ‘Internautica’ and it immediately became a traditional show that attracts up to 40,000 visitors annually in early May into the embrace of the Marina Portorož.
Some years back, due to its high quality and exemplar organisation, Internautica became on of the forty members of the international federation of the most prestigious boat shows IFBSO.
In the year 1982, the YCP – Portorož Yachting Club was established.
In the year 1976, the Portorož tennis club was established.
In the year 2006, four buildings, the 'Residence Marina' were constructed with 46 apartments.