Cruise Liner Arrivals in Croatia Decline Substantially

By 9 August 2017

The main culprits are Montenegro and Venice.

Although the tourism numbers in Croatia are increasing and recording a double-digit growth in general, one sector is declining significantly, reports on 9 August 2017.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of foreign cruise liners coming to Croatia was 18.1 percent smaller in the first half of the year than in the same period last year. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure says that the main reason for the smaller number of cruise liners is the fact that the Italian government has restricted the number of large ships that can enter the Venice area. Since most shipping companies want to link Venice through the Croatian towns with Greece, most often Athens, it is clear that, when one destination is removed from the cruise network, all other suffer as well.

In the first half of the year, 56 such ships sailed into Croatian ports, generating 236 trips with 316,654 passengers. The most frequent destination was the port of Dubrovnik with 183 visits, followed by Split with 79 visits. Although not included in these statistics, the port of Zadar has recorded a significant increase in the number of cruise ships, who earlier went to Split or Dubrovnik.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) points out that the biggest decline occurred with vessels carrying Italian flags. “The only growth is recorded with vessels under the Belgian and Norwegian flags, but they account for just around 10 percent of the total number. With regard to the Italian flagged vessels, it is well-known that Costa Crociere has redirected its cruise liners to other destinations this year. Kotor in Montenegro is growing in the segment of cruise ships. The comparative advantage of Kotor is that Montenegro is outside the European Union, which allows ship companies to sell and purchase goods and services without customs and taxes,” says the HTZ.

The Ministry of Tourism does not see any significant damage regarding the smaller number of cruise liners. “Cruise liners are in effect floating hotels which take passengers from one place to another, or from one port to another. Large cruise ships, due to the variety of offer on board, also have the characteristics of a moving destination. They are considered to be the primary destination for tourists on board, and all the ports are secondary,” says the Ministry of Tourism.

They add that, on the other hand, Croatia has a well-developed yacht charting business which, according to the eCrew data on tourist traffic, from the beginning of the year until 7 August recorded 276,000 arrivals and 1.76 million overnight stays, representing a 15 percent rise in visitors and 17 percent in overnights on such vessels.

Translated from