Intrepid Travel Index and Irresponsible Reporting: The View from Croatia

A kick in the teeth for Croatia's tourism as crazily inaccurate numbers are reported by several portals.

As Jutarnji writes on the 25th of May, 2018, although Spain, Greece, France and Thailand are considered the most popular destinations for summer holidays, Croatia's recent tourism boom puts the country at the very forefront of the list with the highest number of tourists per capita in the world. But, just how reliable are the provided figures? Not very, it would seem.

The beautiful, but extremely expensive and remote Iceland, which is home to the most impressive tourist boom over the past few years, boasts six tourists per capita, ranking it in second place, just behind Croatia, which has fourteen tourists per capita according to the study, otherwise, the world's highest.

Croatia has thus taken the world's top position of being overburdened by tourism, at least according to the Australian Intrepid travel agency index.

According to the Australian and British media, Croatia allegedly ''received 57.5 million tourists back in 2016, with a resident population of just 4.17 million people''. Hm, alright. The Croatian National Tourist Board's figures for 2016 don't seem to match that, remotely. Nor do those from Croatia's very own bureau of statistics (dzs), who quote a number far, far less than the barely comprehensible 57 million plus quoted by several portals.

With such a crazy alleged figure, this would mean that international visitors made up an astonishing 1380 percent of the (at least temporary) population of Croatia, resulting in almost fourteen tourists per inhabitant. Okay. Where to begin with this? The number of inhabitants is just about right, but when it comes to the number of visitors, an apparent FIFTY SEVEN MILLION... It's well, just a little bit off the mark, sorry.

As DZS writes in its roundup of all things tourism for the year 2016: In 2016, there were 15,594,157 arrivals and 78,049,852 tourist nights [overnight stays] spent in tourist accommodation facilities in the Republic of Croatia. There were 8.7% more arrivals and 9.0% more tourist overnight stays in 2016 than there were in 2015 in tourist accommodation facilities in the Republic of Croatia.

While the British media are right in saying that information about massive tourist numbers rocking up on Croatia's shores shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone, owing to the stunning Adriatic coast and its natural beauty, and the fact that in recent years the Croatian coast has been a favourite ''pilgrimage'' of sorts for huge numbers of ''Game of Thrones'' fans, such a massive number is totally untrue, to be all but completely blunt.

The figures obtained by the Intrepid Travel Agency Index, which can be downloaded by clicking here, are not only untrue, but irresponsible. While tourism has indeed seen a big hike in all parts of Croatia, including the continental part of the country, the 57.5 million number is simply incomprehensible, as is the fact that many news portals simply regurgitating this obviously questionable figure.

57.7 million would make for a record year indeed, a barely tolerable one, but it would seem the real 15.5 million visitors who took to Croatia's shores for their summer holidays back in 2016 managed to make their mark on their own.