Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Record 1.6 Billion Kuna in Income Reported by Croatian Private Landlords

October the 12th, 2021 - September set an absolute record, with four times more income from Croatian private landlords who rent their accommodation out to tourists reported to the Tax Administration.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, experimental stories from the field and exact summary data shows that the post-season in Croatia this year well and truly exceeded the expectations of the past few weeks. The latest published figures of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), on arrivals and overnight stays in the first nine months, only confirmed this. There were 70 percent more arrivals and 52 percent more overnight stays than there were last year!

The last detailed picture of fiscalised receipts by activity/sector offers some clear indications of the financial effects of the strong growth of physical indicators at the end of the tourist season.

Four times more income reported than last year!

The Tax Administration claims that 1.6 billion kuna worth of fiscalised receipts were issued for accommodation services last month alone. Compared to last September, with a reported turnover of 420 million kuna, this is almost four times more. Moreover, September 2021's 1.6 billion kuna is also the largest ever fiscalised turnover for that month in that industry. In pre-pandemic 2019, 1.22 billion kuna was recorded in September, 1.19 billion was recorded back in 2018, and approximately one billion kuna was recorded two years before that. Apart from the Croatian private landlords who most directly reflect this truly excellent post-season, the data on fiscalisation in the catering and hospitality industry, primarily cafes and restaurants, also speaks volumes about it.

In September 2021, the catering and hospitality industry issued receipts worth a massive 1.9 billion kuna, which is an increase of more than 70 percent when compared to the same month last year, when they reported 1.1 billion kuna. If September alone is observed, this is a record number for the activity of preparation and serving food and beverages, because, for example, in that month back in 2019, 1.7 billion kuna passed through the fiscalisation system, 1.6 was recorded one year earlier, and a year before that, the figure stood at 1.4 billion.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 27 September 2021

Croatian 2021 Tourist Season Leaves Producers With Empty Shelves

September the 27th, 2021 - The excellent Croatian 2021 tourist season which few could have possibly expected to have gone so well back at the beginning of this year has left some producers wondering how they're going to prepare for next year already. Many Istrian cheese, oil and wine producers have been left with empty shelves and much fuller pockets at last.

As Barbara Ban/Novac writes, this summer in Istria went like a dream, with the sort of numbers you'd expect to be recorded in global capitals. Reservations for the best restaurants were waited on for periods of ten days, and every night a line of tourists could be seen standing in front of Istria's many bars. There was no such crowding to be seen in this part of Croatia even during the best pre-pandemic seasons, and all this shows that the consumption was very good and that visitors, tired of their lives being controlled by various tests and measures, simply wanted to enjoy themselves a bit and relax.

Fiscalised receipts/invoices

Croatian wine on the Adriatic flowed into the glasses of visitors in streams, cheesemakers were left without their cheeses, olive growers without oil. Stocks were depleted, even those from the first year of the coronavirus back in 2020, which initially threw everything to its knees on a global scale and in a way we've never experienced before. However, it is not yet known precisely how high consumption in Istria has actually been in the Croatian 2021 tourist season, which was visited by the largest number of guests this summer.

It should, of course, be significant, because the prices in restaurants and bars were quite a bit higher than they were back in 2019. According to the director of the Istrian Tourist Board, Denis Ivosevic, he will soon request information on the fiscalised receipts issued on the Istrian peninsula, which, he believes, will confirm the fact that a lot was spent locally during the Croatian 2021 tourist season.

Record prices

''Hotels achieved record prices, in restaurants where you had to book a table, guests waited for a reservation for seven or even ten days. In ordinary restaurants you could see a line of ten to twenty people and they certainly consumed some of the absolute best products from Istria, such as wine, oil, expensive local truffles and everything else you might imagine. We’ll know that on a much deeper level when we get fiscalised data on spending. It’s never been this way, and it all happened because two things happened at the same time. First of all, Istria raised its quality, and the competition helped us because it was weaker than us due to bad epidemiological conditions. That's why we're the winners of the Mediterranean in tourism this season,'' Ivosevic thinks.

The producers of oil, cheese, wine and prosciutto confirmed that they had a more than good season in Istria. For example, the company Oio Vivo from Vodnjan was left without a complete supply of its extra virgin olive oil which has won international awards for its sheer quality.

''We worked very hard and we're out of stock. Everything worked brilliantly - from the sale to the olive grove, where we arranged a new space, to the wholesale, restaurant and webshop. There was a great demand everywhere. Last year we produced about 22,000 litres, and from the year before we may have had about 1,000 litres left. Now we have almost nothing left and we can't wait for the new harvest to come,'' said Velimir Juric from Oio Vivo, which will have a good harvest and expects at least 45,000 litres of oil and an even better year. Although the harvest of the others will be much worse due to the winter and snowy conditions, they will have a full better harvest and say they will not raise their prices.

Production never stopped...

The famous cheesemaker Sandi Orbanic from Zminj and the prosciutto factory Bursic from Vodnjan weren't left without cheese and prosciutto, but only because they work constantly. Orbanic is more troubled by how preparations for next year might go.

''We worked really well and that was unexpected for us. We just didn’t know how to prepare for the Croatian 2021 tourist season. In the end it ended up being great. We haven't been left without cheese, but only because we're constantly producing it. Sales to hotels, shops, restaurants and on the doorstep were also excellent,'' pointed out Orbanic, who annually produces about 120 tonnes of products in his cheese factory.

''We do manage to place everything. But given the decline in 2020 and consumption this year, we don't know what quantities to plan for 2022,'' he added.

Robert Lisjak from Vodnjan prosciutto also said that this year has been truly fantastic compared to last year.

''We always have everything because we're constantly producing sausages, bacon, and even prosciutto. We worked a lot throughout the pandemic with the domestic market and we sell a lot on the doorstep, and this year we noticed a greater demand for the restaurants themselves,'' stated Lisjak.

For more on the Croatian 2021 tourist season, check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Croatian Tourism Ministry Praises 2021's Summer Tourist Season

September the 16th, 2021 - The Croatian Tourism Ministry, headed by Nikolina Brnjac, has praised the truly remarkable height of the summer tourist season which is now behind us. Despite the global pandemic, the sector has done incredibly well compared to last year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to data from the Croatian eVisitor system, 55.3 million overnight stays have been realised in Croatia since the beginning of the year, which exceeds the number of overnight stays from the entire pandemic-dominated year of 2020, when 54.4 million overnight stays were realised in twelve whole months.

The Croatian Tourism Ministry has, in that case, every right to beat its chest, especially given the fact that most of Croatia's traditional Mediterranean competition hasn't fared anywhere near as well due to their generally less epidemiological pictures.

Of the total number of overnight stays realised throughout 2021 so far, 46.6 million were realised by foreign tourists, while 8.7 million were realised by domestic tourists. Since the beginning of this year, nine million tourist arrivals have been realised, meaning a massive 1.2 million more tourists have visited Croatia this year than last year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport announced.

"Given the trends in the travel industry, our goal was to maintain the stability of the tourist system, preserve jobs and the recognition of Croatia as a safe tourist destination. We want to continue with these results and that's why it is important that we all continue to adhere to the epidemiological measures which remain in place. This creates the foundations for next year and the continued development of Croatian tourism.

This year has first of all shown that safety and quality are crucial for people when choosing a holiday destination, and that guests are willing to pay even more if that can be ensured. Ultimately, our desire is to create sustainable tourism in which the focus is not on the number of tourists, but on the level of quality, on tourists who will spend money on as many offers in their destinations and generate more consumption, which will further encourage new investments in tourism,'' said the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

So far in 2021, there have been 46 percent more arrivals and 37 percent more overnight stays realised than in the same period last year. Compared to the same period in pre-pandemic, record 2019, 61 percent of arrivals and 72 percent of overnight stays were realised compared to the same period in that year.

More than a million tourists are currently staying in Croatia, most of the foreign tourists are Germans (297,000), Poles (81,000), Slovenes (74,000) and Italians (61,000). Most tourists are currently in Istria County (283,000), Primorje-Gorski kotar County (187,000) and Split-Dalmatia County (184,000).

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Monday, 13 September 2021

Red List Who? More Tourists in Croatia Than in Record 2019!

September the 13th, 2021 - The Republic of Croatia might have finally ''turned red'' on the ECDC's so-called corona map and might still be at risk of turning back to amber on the United Kingdom's traffic light system, but people just keep on arriving. There are currently more tourists in Croatia than there was back in pre-pandemic, record 2019.

As Morski writes, it appears less and less people are remotely bothered about the ECDC's corona map as the tourist results for all of Croatia are still excellent. According to data from the eVisitor system, 530 thousand tourists are currently staying somewhere in Croatia, of which 475 thousand are foreign guests, mostly from Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, reports Dnevnik.hr.

One year ago, about 200,000 people spent their summer holidays in the country, and at the same time in the record year of 2019, the trusty eVisitor system recorded a massive 470,000 tourists in Croatia. The competent minister, Nikolina Brnjac, is convinced that a very good post-season awaits us if we're looking at the numbers of tourists in Croatia we still have, even though the very height of the summer season is now behind us.

Could the remarkably good tourist announcements for September end up coming to nothing if we end up remaining in the ''red'' on the coronavirus map? "We're the safest destination in the Mediterranean" is a slogan we've been hearing throughout summer, and it seems as if, at least by comparison to the competition, it's still true.

''Those who come to Croatia now are mostly vaccinated people. They know how standardised travel is, they know what the rules of entry are. Most of the existing reservations are not being cancelled or given up on, so we're continuing with the good trend, and we hope to continue on this way,'' concluded the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

For more on tourists in Croatia, check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tourist Numbers for Kvarner in August 2021 Almost at Level of 2019

September the 9th, 2021 - Numbers for Kvarner in August 2021 are impressive, as the rest of 2021's tourist season across the country has been. They're close to reaching the figures we saw in record, pre-pandemic 2019.

As Novac/Barbara Ban writes, the beginning of September brought with it some great news for Kvarner. According to the official data of the eVisitor system, more than 5.5 million overnight stays were realised in Kvarner in August 2021, which is 90 percent of the overnight stays registered from the record 2019! As such, in August 2021 in Kvarner, there were 35 percent more overnight stays realised when compared to the same month last year.

Since the beginning of the year, tourist overnight stays have reached 77 percent of the overnight stays registered from back in 2019, meaning that when compared to overnight stays realised from the same period in 2020, 29 percent more have been achieved.

"Since the beginning of this year, Kvarner has been at the very top of Croatia in terms of tourist results. Information from the field and the state of booking for both during July and August gave a hint that the numbers were set to be above all expectations. Thanks to joint efforts, we managed to preserve a good epidemiological picture in the region and this year the main season is lasting for longer, and the whole tourism sector was more than ready for this situation.

If we look at the tourist results of July and August together, we can see how successful the main part of this year's tourist year was - in those two months, slightly more than 10 million overnight stays were realised, which is 87 percent of the amount of overnight stays when compared to July and August 2019, meaning 28 percent more overnight stays compared to July and August 2020.

With a lot of effort and conscientiousness from all of Kvarner's tourism and healthcare professionals, we've preserved a stable and favourable picture of health for our population and guests, which is a great success since a very large number of people holidayed in Kvarner's destinations and moved around Kvarner. Although our county is one of the best vaccinated counties in Croatia, the Teaching Institute for Public Health of Primorje-Gorski kotar County is still conducting their vaccination campaign because even greater vaccination in the future will mean milder measures,'' said Dr. Irena Persic Zivadinov, the director of the Kvarner Tourist Board.

The most numerous guests in August 2021 in Kvarner were guests from Germany (almost two million), Croatia (800 thousand), then Slovenia (slightly more than 700 thousand) and Austria (420 thousand). At the same time, it is certainly important to emphasise that certain markets during August achieved a higher number of overnight stays than those from the record 2019:

• Guests from Germany realised 33 percent more overnight stays compared to 2019 and 62 percent more compared to 2020;

• Guests from the Czech Republic realized 11 percent more overnight stays compared to 2019 and 25 percent more compared to 2020;

• Guests from Switzerland realised 14 percent more overnight stays compared to 2019 and 45 percent more than in 2020;

• Guests from Serbia realised 8 percent more overnight stays compared to 2019 and 50 percent more compared to 2020;

• Guests from Poland realised almost the same number of overnight stays compared to 2019 and 2020.

When we talk about foreign guests, the good news is that in Kvarner in August 2021, guests from neighbouring Italy returned in greater numbers than were present there last year.

As such, during August, they realised 48 percent more overnight stays than they did back in 2020. Italy was one of the countries that was hit hard and extremely seriously by the coronavirus pandemic when we talk about the number of seriously unwell patients and the state of the economy. Unlike our other important and close markets, Italy as a Mediterranean country has access to the sea and a really large number of coastal cities and destinations.

Like many other countries, the Italian Government has worked hard to encourage its residents to spend their holidays in their own country to boost the economy. Namely, Italian tourism is also continuing to suffer losses because Italy as a destination hasn't managed to record a large number of foreign guests in 2021.

For more on Kvarner tourism, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Four Asian Markets Weaker in Terms of Croatian Overnight Stays in 2021

September the 8th, 2021 - The height of the tourist season is now just behind us and it has been a truly remarkable summer, especially given earlier predictions made when the coronavirus pandemic was forcing lockdowns and before the vaccine rollout became more accessible. That said, four Asian markets have been weaker in terms of Croatian overnight stays realised.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, during the first eight months of this year, more tourists came and stayed in Croatia than they did last year, which is far from a surprise given the delicate situation then.

As we previously reported, those tourists arrived here from more than seventy countries, with fewer arrivals and Croatian overnight stays from only five of them: Indonesia, Korea, China, Japan and nearby Kosovo, as data from the eVisitor and eCrew systems of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) shows.

There were no surprises in the order of the countries this year either, and as expected, the Germans are (quite traditionally at this point) far ahead of everyone else, both in terms of arrivals and in terms of realised Croatian overnight stays.

There were 2.1 million German tourists in the country and they realised almost 16 million overnight stays or 23.3 percent of the total number of Croatian overnight stays in the eight months of this year, which is 53 percent and then 42 percent more than in the first eight months of 2020, while in relation to for the same period in 2019, their overnight stays have been equal to about a million less.

Behind the Germans are the locals, Croatian tourists, of whom 1.7 million were registered, and their overnight stays amounted to 10.1 million, which is an increase of 31.6 and almost 10 percent when compared to 2020, while compared to the same period back in pre-pandemic 2019, it's equal to about one million Croatian overnight stays less.

Of the ten markets with the highest number of overnight stays realised in the country, only Austria and Slovakia achieved over 100 percent more than last year.

The largest increase, of as much as 212.4 percent, was achieved by tourists from the Netherlands, with 1.8 million overnight stays realised in the first eight months of this year alone.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Tourists from 70 Countries in Croatia this Year!

September 7, 2021 - The good tourism news keeps on coming, as tourists from 70 countries in Croatia this year made 2021 one we won't soon forget. 

In the first eight months of this year, more tourists came and stayed in Croatia than last year from more than 70 countries, with fewer arrivals and overnight stays from only five countries - Indonesia, Korea, China, Japan, and Kosovo, reports Index.hr.

This is shown by eVisitor and eCrew data from the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), according to which, as expected, Germans are traditionally far ahead of everyone, both in terms of arrivals and overnight stays.

2.1 million German tourists realized almost 16 million overnight stays or 23.3 percent of the total overnight stays in the first eight months of this year, which is 53 and 42 percent more than in the first eight months of 2020. However, compared to the same period in 2019, 2021 saw 200 thousand fewer German arrivals and about a million fewer overnight stays.

Behind German tourists are domestic tourists, with 1.7 million arrivals and 10.1 million overnight stays, which is an increase of 31.6 and almost 10 percent compared to the first eight months of 2020, while compared to the same period in 2019, there were about 100 thousand fewer arrivals and about a million fewer overnight stays. 

Of the ten markets with the highest number of overnight stays, only Austria and Slovakia had more than 100 percent more overnight stays than last year, i.e., Austrians at 4.8 million (+110 percent ) and Slovaks at 2.2 million overnight stays (+107.6 percent). They rank fourth and seventh in overnight stays among foreigners.

However, the largest increase (212.4 percent) was achieved by Dutch tourists with 1.8 million overnight stays in the first eight months of this year, which puts them in ninth place among foreign tourist overnight stays.

From other markets in the top ten, increases are slightly smaller. Poles are in third place among foreigners (or fourth overall, if domestic tourists are taken into account) with 5.7 million overnight stays or 43 percent more than in 2020.

Slovenians are in second place, just behind the Germans (or third if you count domestic overnight stays), with 7.9 million overnight stays or 3.4 percent more than in the first eight months of 2019. After Austria in fourth (among foreigners) is the Czech Republic with 4.5 million overnight stays or 44.5 percent more, and Hungary with 2.3 million overnight stays or 80.2 percent more.

Italy is in eighth place among foreign markets with 1.9 million overnight stays or 41 percent more (behind Slovakia in 7th). In tenth place, behind the Netherlands, is Bosnia and Herzegovina, with 1.6 million overnight stays or 80.5 percent more than in the first eight months of 2020.

Although neither Germans, domestic tourists, nor tourists from other markets have achieved the results of 2019 this year, many markets have seen a large increase in overnight stays, from some over 300 percent, and others 600 percent compared to 2020! In 24 markets, overnight stays have grown by more than one hundred percent.

The largest increase in overnight stays (679 percent) was realized by Kuwait with slightly more than 2780 overnight stays. Still, significantly more overnight stays, 663 thousand, and an increase of 301 percent were realized from the USA. Russia achieved an increase of 351 percent with 561.7 thousand overnight stays.

Oman recorded an increase of 275 percent compared to the first eight months of 2020, but with only 435 overnight stays, while the same increase was from Norway, but with a little more than 76 thousand overnight stays.

And from other Scandinavian countries - Sweden and Denmark - the growth of overnight stays was high, 128 and 129 percent compared to 2020, while Finland was the only one among all markets to have fewer tourist arrivals, by four percent but 42 percent more overnight stays.

Turkey is the only country where more tourists came (6 percent), who spent fewer nights than last year (15 percent).

An interesting fact among all markets is that, for example, from northern European countries this year there was also significantly more overnight stays in Croatia than last year - from Lithuania 101.5 thousand or 181.3 percent more, Latvia 48.7 thousand or 128 percent more, Estonia 45.1 thousand or 105 percent more, and Iceland 145.6 percent more with four thousand overnight stays.

The large increases in overnight stays from Mediterranean countries, i.e., Croatia's competitors, is also interesting. For example, tourists from France realized 1.1 million overnight stays in Croatia by the end of August this year (which puts them in 11th place among foreigners) or 126 percent more, and Spanish tourists 194.4 thousand or 166.3 percent more overnight stays than 2020.

Portuguese tourists achieved 111.2 percent more overnight stays or 51 thousand, and Maltese tourists 168 percent more with five thousand overnight stays.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Might Cooler Autumn Months Bring Optimism for Zagreb Tourism?

August the 25th, 2021 - Will the coming of autumn be of significance for Zagreb tourism, which is usually the case? As the fierce summer heat finally dies down for another year and with the capital boasting significantly more hotel rooms than it did this time last year, things could be on the up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the months of September and October are traditionally important months for Zagreb tourism, which in good years carried a fifth of the annual turnover, in terms of business and private events as well as in terms of growth of holiday guests who want to avoid the summer heat and crowds.

Although the Croatian capital is experiencing a weaker recovery in tourist traffic when compared to Adriatic destinations, and with fears of new epidemiological measures still firm, the sector wants to be optimistic about autumn and the rest of the year and expects significant improvements next year.

The vaccination programme and covid certificates should bring some calmer days, especially for Zagreb tourism business events, which should start returning in live in part this autumn, according to numerous organisers. A very important segment, which includes weddings and other private events for hotels could finally come back to life, perhaps regardless of the epidemiological situation, if the practice of covid certificates is properly established. There are also announcements of new flights to Zagreb, boosting Zagreb tourism's overall picture.

"The summer went well enough for us so far to hope that the same scenario as last year won't be waiting for us in autumn. Vaccinated people no longer want to go back to how things were, they no longer care about the red zones, because they want to return to normal life, which means freedom of movement and travel,'' stated Josipa Jutt Ferlan, president of the Hotel Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and director of the Hilton hotels cluster for Zagreb.

As has since been found out from the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ), which extracted statistics on traffic and the accommodation structure in the capital city from eVisitor, from the beginning of the year to the end of this weekend, Zagreb had 327 thousand visits and 523 thousand overnight stays, which is about 38 percent more overnight stays than last summer, and about 44 percent of the realisation from the same period in 2019. As it is known, Zagreb realised less than a third of the turnover from the year before, when there were a total of 2.6 million overnight stays.

Although tourist traffic in July and August this year was twice as high as last year, in August that still meant 64 percent of turnover from the record 2019 was realised. August is also the best month so far this year for Zagreb tourism, and since Zagreb hasn't yet "reddened" on the ECDC map.

The events that attracted visitors this summer also contributed to more people visiting the capital, which is often somewhat empty during the hot summer months as residents flock to the coast.

A big loss for Zagreb tourism is still the absence of its traditionally important markets on the distant markets of Korea and China, and this summer, the British were also somewhat more absent than usual. Most of the overnight stays this summer were realised by Croatian guests and Germans, while the Americans doubled their numbers compared to last year, but American arrivals are still much weaker than before the pandemic struck.

With a total of 290 thousand overnight stays, August was also the strongest month back in record 2019, when a total of 2.6 million overnight stays were realised in Zagreb. September and October in 2019 saw about half a million overnight stays in Zagreb, which was about 20 percent of the annual turnover for Zagreb tourism. Last September, the city had only 77,000 overnight stays, barely more than a quarter of the turnover from the year before.

Zagreb is, as mentioned above, entering autumn with slightly more hotel rooms than it had last autumn, which isn't the case with private accommodation, which is weaker by about 1000 beds than it was back during 2019, as it now has about 6.2 thousand beds to offer in private apartments.

For more, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Croatian Tourist Numbers for 2021 Overtake Those of 2020

August the 19th, 2021 - Croatian tourist numbers for for the remarkably good summer season so far in 2021 have well and truly overtaken the figures from the whole of last year, which was dominated by the pandemic, issues with travel and no vaccine.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, according to data from the Croatian eVisitor system, 55.3 million overnight stays have been realised in Croatia since the beginning of this year, which exceeds the number of overnight stays from the whole of 2020, when 54.4 million overnight stays were realised in the entire twelve months of the year, the Ministry of Tourism and Sport announced.

Of the total number of overnight stays realised in 2021, 46.6 million were realised by foreign tourists, while 8.7 million were realised by Croatian tourists. Since the beginning of this year, 9 million tourist arrivals have been realised, meaning that 1.2 million more tourists have visited the Republic of Croatia this year than last year.

"Given the trends in the travel industry, our goal was to maintain the stability of the tourist system, preserve jobs and the recognition of Croatia as a safe tourist destination. We want to continue with these results and that is why it's important that we all continue to adhere to the epidemiological measures. This creates the foundations for next year and the continued development of Croatian tourism.

This year has first of all shown that safety and quality are crucial in choosing a destination, and that guests are willing to pay even more for that. Ultimately, our desire is to create sustainable tourism in which the focus is not on the number of tourists who come, but on the quality and on tourists who will consume as many offers in destinations as possible, generate more spending, which will further encourage new investments in tourism,'' said the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

Looking at Croatian tourist numbers for 2021, there were 46 percent more arrivals and 37 percent more overnight stays recorded than in the same period last year. Compared to the same period in record, pre-pandemic 2019, 61 percent of arrivals and 72 percent of overnight stays were realised. More than a million tourists are currently in Croatia. Most of the foreign tourists are Germans (297,000), Poles (81,000), Slovenes (74,000) and Italians (61,000).

For more, follow our travel section.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Height of Croatian 2021 Season for Hospitality Sector Stronger Than 2019

August the 18th, 2021 - The very height of the Croatian 2021 season has been going remarkably well in the face of previous worries of a repeat of the dire summer of 2020 which was dominated by the pandemic. With the vaccination rollout continuing and with the epidemiological situation more favourable, things have taken a surprisingly positive turn, much to the shock of many. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, on an almost daily basis, new figures keep arriving that confirm the significant acceleration of the pace of Croatian tourism recovery in the past few weeks.

It can often be heard that more rooms and beds are wanted, and in addition to recording the state of overnight stays and arrivals, we learned recently that 878 thousand vehicles, or a quarter more than last year, were recorded on Croatia's highways, with 49 million kuna in tolls collected, which is 29 percent more than last year.

The encouraging financial signals are provided by weekly updates from the Tax Administration's data on fiscalised turnover across the country. According to the latest such report, the value of last week's fiscalised bills/receipts at the level of all activities is one third higher than in the comparable week last year.

In the tourism sector, ie accommodation and food preparation and food service activities, bills worth 1.68 billion kuna were issued, which is almost 60 percent more than in the second week of August last year, when 1 billion kuna was reported.

As such, the tourism and hospitality sector, measured by the value of issued bills and receipts, has exceeded the pre-pandemic figures for the comparable August week of 2019 by 23.5 percent. A solid positive sign in these comparisons has been being recorded for several weeks now, and even the Minister of Finance Zdravko Maric has referred to this month as ''strong''.

The peak of the Croatian 2021 season in any case looks much better than its beginning or even its pre-season. Apart from the better epidemiological picture across Croatia than in some of its main Mediterranean competitors, the number of foreign tourists in relation to the initial signals was also contributed to by climate disasters in some European tourist destinations.

If we remain ''in the orange'' on the so-called corona-map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), it could easily happen that this year's Croatian National Bank projections of total tourism revenue at the level of 70 percent of those from 2019 prove to be conservative and ultimately exceed the projected figure of around 7.4 billion euros.

These financial indicators come with some time lag, and in the meantime some more rapid signals remain. For example, an interesting aspect regarding the consumption and spending of foreigners in Croatia is provided by the reports of the central bank on non-cash payment transactions in Croatia.

The latest available data within the statistics of international payment transactions refers to the first half of the year, and indicates a significant increase in the reading of bank cards issued abroad.

During the month of June, for example, the value of card transactions by bank cards issued outside of the Republic of Croatia, which includes purchases of goods and services through various devices (from ATMs to POS devices and purchases with e-money) amounted to 1.85 billion kuna.

In the first six months of 2021, on the other hand, transactions worth 3.85 billion kuna were performed with foreign cards, which is about 1.5 billion kuna more than last year. However, in the first half of pre-pandemic 2019, foreigners (more precisely the holders of cards issued abroad) spent more than 6.7 billion kuna on Croatian cards, exceeding one billion kuna in April and 1.5 billion kuna in May.

The peak of arrivals and even the consumption of foreigners usually occurs during July and August. In the pre-crisis and record-breaking 2019, 10.3 billion kuna was spent on foreign cards in Croatia in those two months alone, and in July and August last year, the value of these payment transactions dropped to just 5.9 billion kuna.

These indicators of foreign consumption realised through foreign cards for the peak of the Croatian 2021 season will have to be waited on for a few months yet.

However, the trends indicated by the fiscalisation data suggest a significantly better overall picture of consumption than in the middle of the year, and the spending being done by foreign tourists certainly contributes to this.

If we look at the past two weeks of August in tourism and catering, more than 3.3 billion kuna of fiscalised turnover was recorded, compared to two billion recorded in the same period last year. This year's August is stronger than that of pre-crisis 2019 (mid-month) by more than a fifth or more than 600 million kuna.

These increases were realised on a smaller number of issued bills, which suggests higher average consumption, including the impact of higher prices of certain services. The impact of tourism, of course, is also visible in the trade sector. Over the past two weeks, the turnover in the wholesale and retail trade category was higher by 1 billion kuna (6.55 versus 5.5 billion) than last year, and compared to the comparable two weeks of the previous year, by about 660 million kuna.

The Tax Administration periodically provides a somewhat more detailed picture of spending and consumption by activities. For now, this more detailed data has been available for the end of July. And that information, for example, shows that in restaurants and cafes (ie food and beverage preparation and serving activities) in Croatia last month there was a turnover of 2.59 billion kuna.

That’s 755 million kuna, or 41 percent more cash turnover (which, along with banknotes, includes cards and other payments, excluding remittances to transaction accounts) than last July. Although the data refers to the whole of Croatia, this jump in the turnover of caterers largely reflects the impact of the recovery in tourist spending.

In any case, the July fiscalised turnover of restaurants, cafes and related activities was more or less equal to that seen back in the July of pre-pandemic 2019, in which 2.6 billion kuna in turnover was reported.

If June is counted, over the past two months, caterers have issued bills worth almost four billion kuna in total. Compared to last June and July, this is equal to one billion kuna more, but compared to the same period in 2019, it is still about 10 percent less.

For more on how businesses are doing in the Croatian 2021 season, follow our business section.

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