Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Croatia the Most Sought-After Summer Destination for Austrians in 2021

February 9, 2021 – In a survey conducted by HomeToGo, the largest Austrian search platform for holiday homes, Croatia has once again proved to be a desirable destination. The results showed Croatia the most sought-after summer destination for Austrians in 2021.

After a well-known Austrian travel organizer Gruber Reisen recently published their research results, declaring Croatia the most sought-after destination for the Austrian market, the survey from another Austrian travel platform HomeToGo showed the same estimates.

Namely, HomeToGo, the largest search platform for holiday homes on the Austrian market, conducted a survey on Austrians' habits, travel preferences, and favorite holiday destinations in 2021. The research results were published on the Austrian portal Oe24.at, and Croatia was in the first place of the most sought-after summer destinations, reported Branimir Tončinić, Croatian National Tourist Board director in Austria.

The survey is based on a total of 200,000 searches. As in the previous year, the survey shows that Croatia is the leading and most sought-after destination with 41 percent of searches. Austria follows Croatia with 19.5 percent and Italy with 19 percent of searches, and then France, Greece, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Of the Croatian destinations, the most sought after are the Istrian peninsula and the island of Krk.

The obtained data clearly show the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on travel behavior. Looking at the top three most popular destinations – Croatia, Austria, and Italy – it can be concluded that this year, Austrians prefer sunny sea destinations in the immediate vicinity. Their choices are primarily motivated by the precarious situation with the coronavirus pandemic that prevents long-term planning and long trips.

Tončinić stated earlier that consumers pay special attention to the destination's safety and that the possibility to change their booking for free or other cancellation options at minimal cost is very important for them when booking a trip.

The survey results also show that 70 percent of Austrians plan to travel in the next 12 months. When it comes to accommodation, 63 percent of them prefer booking accommodation in holiday homes. Regarding the mode of travel, 71 percent of Austrians will travel by their own car.

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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Demand for Croatia Grows in Germany, Austria, and Swiss Markets

October 1, 2020 - The interest and demand for Croatia from Germans, Austrians, and Swiss tourists in 2020 is at least 50 percent higher than the year before, said the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Austria, Branimir Tončinić.

HRTurizam reports that these are the results of a survey by the online booking platform Travelcircus on changes in tourists' travel habits due to the coronavirus pandemic from the DACH region, i.e., Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

According to the results of this research, in 2020, interest in travel to Croatia, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland increased, while some countries competing with Croatia also performed worse. Namely, in the entire DACH region, interest in Spain and Italy fell by 10 percent. Only in Austria did the demand for Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway fall by more than 30 percent compared to 2019.

"Data from the research reveal that Austrians showed the greatest demand for domestic travel, which put Austria in first place in terms of demand. The great news is that Croatia took second place in terms of demand, which is an excellent result in these circumstances, while Germany took third place. It is also important to note that no other country outside the DACH region has recorded positive growth in demand for holidays like Croatia," Branimir Tončinić pointed out, adding that this year the demand for hotels in the Austrian market has fallen. The demand for accommodation in holiday homes has increased.

The volume of hotel searches decreased among Austrians (-18.07%), while accommodation such as holiday homes, apartments, and houseboats increased by 13-26%. Holiday homes are the absolute winners, both in this research and in the Croatian market this year.

Guests from Austria this year looked mostly for an active holiday. According to the survey, in June and July 2019, Austrians searched an average of 13,835 times for a combination of an “amusement park” and a tourist destination. In the summer of 2020, there were 23,040 searches of the same search. This corresponds to a growth of 66.53%, and compared to 2017, an increase of an impressive 185.68% can be seen. The data clearly speaks of a trend that has been growing over the years. Now, at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, it has further jumped out and accelerated development for quality facilities, not just the sun and the sea.

Austrians also love to relax. With a growth of 30.68% since the summer of 2019, wellness holidays are the number 2 most popular types of holidays in Austria. Third place went to travel to cultural and other attractions, with a growth of 14.5%.

Interestingly, the data show that this year, those who like to travel mostly avoid last-minute vacations. Compared to the previous year, this type of vacation lost an average of 89.93% of searches. City or city break trips also suffer from a drop in interest due to the pandemic and record a search loss of 77.85%.

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Saturday, 15 August 2020

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz Says Huge Influx of Infections from Croatia

August 15, 2020 - Austrian authorities expect large crowds at the borders this weekend as travelers may shorten their holidays after Croatia was included on the list of high-risk countries.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that local revealed Austrian citizens have decided to ignore the government's warning and are still going on holiday to Croatia. Namely, at the entrance to Slovenia from Austria near the Karavanke tunnel, there was a wait of up to three hours on Saturday morning. In the early afternoon, traffic stretched 17 kilometers.

Kronen Zeitung wrote that they had yet to see anything from the big wave of returnees from Croatia because it seems that Austrians still want to enjoy the beach today. At the entrance to Austria near Sentilj, they waited for about an hour on Saturday morning.

The Austrian Automobile Club (ÖAMTC) expects that traffic from the south could intensify in the evening on Saturday and during Sunday.

They report that traffic at border crossings at the entrance to Austria is moderate with shorter delays. At Karavanke, the entrance to Carinthia takes 35 minutes, and at Sentilj, about an hour. They also wrote that Slovenian authorities have tightened controls and that this is causing a stalemate.

The Austrian government decided to include Croatia on the list of high-risk countries on Friday after news of a record number of cases in Croatia. Travelers returning from Croatia must show a current negative test for coronavirus from Monday or undergo testing within 48 hours.

According to current information from the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about 3,000 Austrian citizens are officially on holiday in Croatia. But at the same time, the authorities believe that this figure is many times higher.

"We start from the fact that there are a much larger number of Austrian citizens in Croatia," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also said that over 100 new cases of coronavirus infection had been reported in the last week alone, which were proven to have been brought from Croatian holidays.

Therefore, a larger number of inquiries related to travel to Croatia is expected from Monday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be assisted by 20 Bundeswehr soldiers on a special information telephone line.

"The military has soldiers at all times who are ready to help health facilities," said Defense Minister Claudia Tanner.

Soldiers are already helping to control entry into the country from the direction of Italy.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that after Croatia, further warnings regarding travel abroad are possible. This is especially true of the Spanish Balearics.

"We know that with these warnings and restrictions on freedom of travel, we are creating problems for many Austrians. But the summer of 2020 is not like other summers," Schallenberg told the public service ORF.

Journalists from the Kronen Zeitung also talked to Austrian tourists in Veli Losinj, who said that they were shocked by the decision of the Austrian government.

"We only came yesterday. I went to the beach without a cell phone to get as much rest as possible. When I came back, I had something to read. It just hit me," said Peter P. of Graz.

"We knew that there was a possibility that this would happen, but I did not think that the whole country would close immediately," he said, adding that he was returning home on Sunday and that he expected large traffic jams.

"There will be chaos on the roads, but it is great that the hotel was understanding and they will only charge us for as many nights as we spent here," he said.

They also spoke to a German couple who was hanging out with many Austrians on Losinj. They said that many would not interrupt their vacation in Croatia. One tourist had a special message for the Austrian Chancellor.

"Kurz would have to call me in person if he wanted me to come home," he said.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for stricter coronavirus controls for returnees at the borders.

"Health offices are not doing their job properly. The controls should be more thorough and faster," Kurz told the daily "Oesterreich" on Saturday.

The opposition Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) criticized Kurz and accused him of putting pressure on local health offices. Secretary-General Michael Schnedlitz said that instead of putting pressure on these institutions, the Vienna government should take action against the growing number of falsified negative coronavirus tests on returnees from the Western Balkans.

"It has long been known that many of these allegedly negative tests of returnees from the Western Balkans are false," Schnedlitz said on Saturday.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for stricter control of holiday returnees due to the increase in the number of cases in Austria.

After staying in one of about 30 risk areas, people must have a negative test that is not older than 72 hours or must be in a 10-day quarantine.

“There have to be tighter controls,” Kurz said in Saturday’s edition of Oesterreich.

Kurz did not rule out the possibility of conducting coronavirus tests at the border, which would be the task of the health authorities.

Risk areas include mainland Spain and the Western Balkans, as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

As of Monday, returnees from Croatia will also have to present a negative test, Kurz said, adding: "There is a huge influx of cases from Croatia."

He added that the increase is not surprising given that holidays are underway.

"The current numbers are worrying," says Kurz. "We must do everything we can to stop the virus without introducing new comprehensive bans."

Nearly 230 new infections were recorded in Austria on Saturday, compared to a record 282 the day before.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, just over 23,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus.

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