Friday, 25 September 2020

Expect Many English Speaking Visitors to Croatia in 2021, says Google

September 25, 2020 - Croatia is the 14th most searched holiday destination in the world for next year. With over 810, 000 searches on Google, the country should expect a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Aside from the drop in numbers, the country's accessibility and the implementation of epidemiological guidelines, the biggest effect the Coronavirus pandemic had on Croatia's tourist season of 2020 was the change in visitor demographic. The British, Americans, Canadians and Australians largely stayed away. All that looks set to change next year as Google indicates a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021.

Over 810, 000 searches have already been made of Croatia as a holiday destination for 2021 on Google, informing that many thousands are already researching or actively planning a trip. Croatia ranked 14th among the most searched for 2021 destinations, trailing slightly behind the likes of Italy, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, Spain and Greece.

01-4_gradska_centralna_plaza_makarska_tz_makarska.jpgTheir language mostly absent from beautiful Adriatic beaches in 2020, English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 look set to return © Croatian National Tourist Board

The good news for the return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 was published by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The data has been taken from a period starting not before March 2020. This means that all searches took place in full knowledge of the ongoing Coronavirus and epidemiological situation. English speaking visitors are undeterred.

Iva Bahunek, the head of the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles has not had the easiest of tasks since the pandemic began. Her appointment is a relatively recent one. Nevertheless, she has clearly done an excellent job of promoting Croatia as a destination for American tourists in 2021. She confirmed the trends are correct - that US citizens are ready for international travel again - by analysing data from the large American travel insurance company Squaremouth. 65% of all reservations for next year refer to international destinations.

52331947_10157169672643675_7765862747379597312_n.jpgIva Bahunek accepting her Mediterranean Stars Award for outstanding achievement in promoting Mediterranean tourism, awarded at the 6th Mediterranean Tourism Forum in Malta, 2019. She now heads the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles and analysed data which backs up Google's prediction for a return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Indications from the British market are the same. Total Croatia News recently published an interview with Vedran Meniga, organiser of a music festival site in Sibenik that successfully hosted over 10, 000 festival-goers in summer 2020. Sadly, they were the only ones who braved it. All of the international music festivals that usually take place on the Croatian coast cancelled their 2020 events.

But, some organisers of these festivals have been seen in Croatia over recent weeks, inspecting improvements to the famous The Garden Tisno festival site, which lies at the approach to Murter island. The festival's hugely popular beach stage has had walls removed, its space widened and now looks very well equipped to take on social distancing advice. Music festivals bring tens of thousands of people to Adriatic beaches each summer and the return of the international events will entice English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021. On the below video you can see Alex Lowes of the Suncebeat Festival and Nick Colgan of The Garden Tisno recently checking out the new layout of the site in preparation for the return of festivals in 2021.

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Sunday, 23 August 2020

Dubrovnik Mayor Reveals 352 Brits Arrived on Six Saturday Flights

August 23, 2020 - Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Frankovic revealed in a live program for N1 television that, despite the coronavirus, six British planes had arrived in the city on Saturday. But how many British tourists did they carry?  

While the news certainly sounds positive at first glance, since the UK placed Croatia on its quarantine list on Thursday, let's take a closer look. 

Namely, if we look at the figures presented by Frankovic, it turns out that 352 British tourists landed in Dubrovnik, which isn't really a figure to brag about. Frankovic, however, stated that this was a positive number, and also emphasized that two more planes would arrive on Saturday night.

A brief analysis of the Croatian Aviation portal shows that 352 British tourists can't be considered good news. In fact, they call those numbers catastrophic.

"The mayor of Dubrovnik praised the media that a significant arrival of British tourists to Dubrovnik was recorded at Dubrovnik Airport on August 22 (after the mandatory self-isolation for all passengers coming from Croatia to the UK came into force). Six direct flights from Great Britain arrived with 352 passengers.

However, seven planes from Great Britain landed at Dubrovnik Airport, while the eighth will land late tonight (Saturday):

  1., London Stansted, 09:22h (B737-800)
  2. EasyJet, London Gatwick, 09:51h (A320)
  3., Birmingham, 09:54h (B737-800)
  4. EasyJet, Edinburgh, 10:11h (A320NEO)
  5., Manchester, 11:55h (B737-800)
  6. British Airways, London Heathrow, 12:00h (A320)
  7. EasyJet, London Gatwick, 20:12h (A320)
  8. EasyJet, Manchester, 20:37h (A320NEO)
  9. EasyJet, London Luton, 22.24h (A319)

As the 352 passengers on Saturday's first six flights from Great Britain to Dubrovnik have been publicly announced, we will only state the following; a total of 1,119 seats were offered on six flights in the direction of Dubrovnik. If only 352 passengers really arrived in Dubrovnik on those flights, the occupancy of the passenger cabin is only around 31%.

Given the number of seats offered and direct flights, the number of arrivals of British tourists is not good, but catastrophic."

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Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Croatian Tourist Board Office in Great Britain Comments on British Interest in Croatia

June 30, 2020 - Darija Reic of the Croatian National Tourist Board Office in Great Britain comments on the air bridge and British interest in Croatia. 

Over the last few days, the media has been talking about negotiations between Great Britain and specific European destinations on the so-called "air bridge", including Croatia. On Sunday, the story received additional media focus, as well as concrete official outlines.

Namely, Priti Patel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Dailymail that negotiations are underway with individual countries, regarding the establishment of an air bridge without quarantine, and that the ministry is working "overnight" to achieve them.

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Most importantly, there is a great demand, and travel agencies from the UK are overwhelmed by the demand for travel to Europe, as well as Croatia.

As Patel points out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to enable Brits to go on vacation to the safest destinations without quarantine for 14 days, and it is expected to come into force on July 6.

HRTurizam spoke with the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Representation in Great Britain, Darija Reic, about the possible air bridge as well as the interest in Croatia from the UK market.

When asked about the interest in Croatia in the British market, Reic pointed out that Croatia ranks high as a safe destination, since the beginning of the pandemic, and even today.

"In the last two days since the news was announced about the categorization of destinations to which it will be possible to travel from Great Britain without the need to quarantine on return, there has been increased interest in Croatia, which has been ranked high as a safe destination since the pandemic. Airlines operate their programs in accordance with the decisions and recommendations of the Government, and we already have flight announcements from the beginning of July to Pula and Rijeka, and from mid-July to Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. The representative office in Great Britain also records high interest and increased number of inquiries from the public, especially last weekend," Reic points out.

As for the negotiations on the air bridge, they are conducted at the state level, and the CNTB office in London, as Reic points out, continuously communicates that we are open to British tourists and that Croatia is a safe destination, ready to receive guests.

Considering the corona situation, but also the economic crisis, the question is how much it has left a mark on the financial power of British tourists who are known as guests with high consumption. According to the research Thomas Summer 2017, tourists from the United Kingdom are right behind tourists from the USA in terms of the highest daily consumption per person - 139 euro. And in the past few years, consumption has certainly grown even more, thanks to the large number of young British tourists who have visited festivals on the Adriatic.

Reic points out that the British are extremely careful about the value of money, and logically, as well as their reduced travel budget, following COVID-19. "Britons traditionally like to get more for their money, and in light of the pandemic and weakened economic power, it is to be expected that price will be a strong motivator in choosing a destination."

What is important at the moment is concrete negotiations at the state level, not just media speculation, and there is great interest in Croatia from the UK market. More official positive news can be expected in the coming days around the air bridge between the UK and Croatia. 

To better position itself on the UK market, Reic points out that the CNTB campaign is underway in the UK market, and that the British will currently look for smaller tourist locations or "hidden gems" that are very common on the Adriatic coast and islands.

“Split, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik and the Neretva Valley are traditionally the favorite regions of the British. What many certainly want to experience is, for example, a visit to Dubrovnik without the usual crowds. In light of the pandemic and social distancing, tourists will look for smaller tourist locations and 'hidden gems', which are very common on the coast and islands, and they should be given special attention to communication activities. Well-known specialized travel magazines have authority and weight, and national newspapers mostly have sections dedicated to travel that serve as an inspiration to readers, with a huge reach, especially online. Nowadays, when we really spend a lot of time on mobile phones and laptops, online communication is crucial, and interactive content such as video ads attract special attention," Reic concluded.