Thursday, 3 March 2022

War in Ukraine Slows Down Travel Bookings in Split-Dalmatia County by 50%

March 3, 2022 - Travel bookings in Split-Dalmatia County have slowed down by almost 50% so far due to the war in Ukraine. 

After the tourist market began to recover from the corona crisis, some six hundred kilometers from Croatia, Russia invaded Ukraine. 

This will certainly affect guests coming from the Ukrainian and Russian markets. After all, Russian planes can no longer fly in most European countries, including Croatia. But what about the others? For now, it’s hard to say, but Dalmaciija Danas reveals that there could be a reduction in tourist arrivals from distant markets.

The Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, held a coordination meeting with representatives of the largest hotel groups in Croatia. In addition, the possibilities of accommodating refugees from war-torn Ukraine were discussed.

The impact of this crisis on current bookings from the most important markets was also discussed at the meeting. A statement from the Ministry states that bookings are in a slight decline, but it is still good, and it is difficult to talk about estimates in this situation.

"We had already started the preparatory activities for this tourist year before these unpleasant events, and we will adjust them following the further development of this difficult situation, which we all hope will be completed as soon as possible," Brnjac concluded and added that promotional activities on the Russian market have been completely suspended.

Ukrainian tourists recorded 145,568 arrivals, and 857,482 overnight stays in Croatia last year, while Russian tourists achieved 145,592 arrivals and 800,979 overnight stays in 2021. 

The Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board explained that the war in Ukraine slowed down tourist reservations by almost 50 percent, adding that only six days had passed since the war began, so it was too early to say from which markets the decline was most significant.

“During the pandemic, people learned how to behave in emergencies, so 'last-minute bookings' have become a common way of doing business in tourism. This means that if the war ends and the situation stabilizes, reservations will return very soon; that is, tourism will return to normal," the Tourist Board said. 

Alijana Vukšić, director of the Split Tourist Board, said that the events in Ukraine would undoubtedly have consequences for the tourism sector.

"Especially when it comes to tourist traffic from distant markets in which travelers view Europe as a whole. How much impact it will leave on tourist traffic between European countries depends on the further course of events," she told Slobodna Dalmacija and added:

"Last year, more than ten thousand tourist arrivals were made by Russians in Split and more than six thousand tourist arrivals from Ukraine. However, it is difficult at this moment to predict the return of tourists from the mentioned markets because it will depend exclusively on the geopolitical situation, which we hope will stabilize as soon as possible," the director concluded. 

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Ukraine Situation Brings New Period Of Uncertainty, Croatian Tourism Association Says

ZAGREB, 24 Feb 2022 - Croatian Tourism Association director Veljko Ostojić said on Thursday that after two years of the pandemic, the latest events in Ukraine brought another period of insecurity and uncertainty.

Any war situation, regardless of the vicinity, deters from travel, he told Hina, adding that at the moment it is impossible to predict how the Russia-Ukraine crisis will impact Croatia's tourism.

He said one could expect bookings on the main markets to slow down in the days ahead, but is confident in last-minute bookings as in the last two years.

Croatia's big advantage is that it's predominantly an auto destination and very safe, which will be important in preparing for the summer season, Ostojić said.

The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ), which has an office in Moscow covering Ukraine as well, told Hina that next week more would be known about the impact of Russia's attack on Ukraine on travel from the two countries. The Tourism Ministry concurred.

According to HTZ data, 145,000 Russians visited Croatia in 2021, generating 800,000 nights, respectively 94% and 80% of the figures registered in 2019, a record year for Croatia's tourism.

Ukrainians generated 146,000 arrivals and 857,000 nights, respectively 4% and 2% more than in 2019.

This year to date 2,000 Ukrainians visited Croatia, generating 12,000 nights, up 47% and 53% on the year respectively.

 For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Plan to Lessen Crowds in Busy Croatian Tourist Destinations Looks Promising

February the 24th, 2022 - A plan to bring down the sometimes insufferable crowds in busy Croatian tourist destinations is currently in the works as hopes for a good summer and an even better epidemiological picture this year grow.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, busy Croatian tourist destinations that want to reduce tourist crowds and make life easier for residents and visitors alike will soon have a so-called ''heat map'' or destination control panel, a tool that measures the concentration of tourists in a particular place in real time.

The tool was developed as part of a European project in which the Croatian Institute of Tourism is also participating, and last summer it was tested out by the very busy cities of Venice, Bari, Ferrara, Sibenik and, unsurprisingly when it comes to crowding issues - the City of Dubrovnik.

Cameras and sensors

“Tourist movement data is made available in real time thanks to the cameras and sensors installed exclusively for this purpose in each of the partner cities. The collected data provides an opportunity for users of the destination control panel, such as local authorities, tourist boards, etc., to make short-term forecasts of tourist movements, and accordingly make appropriate decisions that directly affect the relief of city centres and cultural heritage sites, redirecting tourists to less visited parts of a given city,'' the Institute of Tourism explained.

The heat map to control busy Croatian tourist destinations is one of the tools developed within the Interreg project S.LI.DES. (Smart strategies for sustainable tourism in Lively cultural DEStinations), which is being implemented until June this year with a budget of 2.5 million euros attached to it.

The project holder is the Ca ’Foscari University of Venice, and the Institute of Tourism is one of the ten partners in the project. In addition to the system for monitoring the movement of tourists, the project has developed a prototype system for analysing various aspects of heritage management, those related to identifying the potential of intangible cultural heritage in various destinations.

According to the Institute, based on the results collected during the pilot actions, the partner cities will plan a joint strategy aimed at encouraging the sustainable development of urban spaces. All of the project's results will be made publicly available and applicable in other interested tourist destinations, especially destinations that struggle with the problem of excessive tourism and congestion in city cores during the high tourism season.

A series of innovative events

Dino Karadjole, the director of the Sibenik Tourist Board, explained how the pilot project was carried out. “The pilot conducted in Sibenik in the summer of 2021 was organised through eight Thursdays in July and August. We had a number of various innovative events where we promoted tangible and intangible cultural heritage, workshops, screenings of a short film, a guided tour called ''Stories from Sibenik's cuisine'', trade fairs and art evenings.

On top of that, we tried out giving some of the partner institutions, such as the Museum of the City of Sibenik and the interpretation centre of the Cathedral of St. James, free admission,'' explained Dino Karadjole.

Through the ''control destination board'' in Sibenik, they then tested the concentration of tourists and locals in a certain period of time on Thursday compared to another day of the week, and compared the differences between a day full of content and activities compared to everyday life on another ordinary day. They were especially interested in whether the existence of the content in the time interval from 18:00 to 21:00 would increase the number of visitors, or motivate them to come to the city a little earlier than usual.

The results of counting tourists using four different camera counters really showed that there was an increase in the number of tourists in that period and that the cameras recorded an increase. Karadjole pointed out that there is a good basis for further research and application of a smart control panel for informed resource management and planning assistance, especially when it comes to notoriously busy Croatian tourist destinations.

For more, check out our dedicated travel section.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Updated Croatian eVisitor System with New Functions Created

February the 22nd, 2022 - The new and updated version of the frequently-praised Croatian eVisitor system has been created as part of the much wider Croatian Digital Tourism project.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as part of the Croatian Digital Tourism project, which is being carried out by the Ministry of Tourism and Sport and co-financed by the European Union (EU) within the Competitiveness and Cohesion Operational Programme 2014-2020 from the European Regional Development Fund, a new and upgraded version of the Croatian eVisitor system was created, which is intended for the registration of tourist traffic and for the calculation and control of tourist tax collection.

"One of the segments of the Croatian Digital Tourism project is the upgrade of the award-winning Croatian eVisitor system in order to be even more efficient and better adapted to the needs of its users. New functionalities have been introduced that will improve business processes, so it will no longer be necessary to physically go to the tourist board to register a non-commercial facility (cottage), and communication between landlords and tourist boards has been improved. Ultimately, the Croatian Digital Tourism project will create a complete digital story, a set of innovative tools to facilitate the business of stakeholders in the tourism system.

The Croatian Digital Tourism Project, along with the Croatian eVisitor system, envisages the development and improvement of public e-services in tourism through TURegistar - a Central Register for Hospitality and Tourism Services, TUStart - Registration of activities and business start-ups in the field of tourism and hospitality, TURiznicu - an allocation system available support in tourism and Croatia.hr - Tourist Information Portal,'' said the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

The Croatian eVisitor system has positioned the country at the very top of the world in terms of innovative technological solutions when it comes to tourism, and the most significant innovations include a completely new design that is in line with the design of the wider Croatian Digital Tourism project. Additionally, it has been made possible to display basic information about tourist membership fees, download payment slips for said tourist membership fees, and it is now easier to edit and post pictures of accommodation facilities on the Croatia.hr portal.

"The Croatian eVisitor system is a domestic product that makes this country unique in comparison with the rest of the world. The fact that this is an exceptional technological solution has been confirmed with the winning of an award from the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which this project won in the category of innovation in research and technology. Now we've further upgraded and improved the system, functions have been introduced that will further contribute to the ongoing development of the Croatian tourism sector, while for many users the system will be an even more powerful tool in developing tourist offers, ie defining their marketing and promotional activities,'' explained CNTB director Kristjan Stanicic.

Additional connections with other systems and institutions are planned, such as the Joint Land Registry and Cadastre Information System, the State Inspectorate, the OIB system, etc, while the connection with the Central Tourist Register will significantly change the current process of the registration of commercial facilities. On top of that, the business of tourist boards, private renters and other users of the Croatian eVisitor system will be greatly facilitated and improved.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 18 February 2022

2022 Kvarner Tourism Presented to Czech and Slovakian Agencies

February the 18th, 2022 - 2022 Kvarner tourism has been presented to the Slovakian and Czech markets from which Croatia typically sees a lot of tourist traffic. Although the pandemic is likely to still affect many travel plans this year, the country is hoping for a good season.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, with a virtual presentation for representatives of Czech and Slovak agencies, the Kvarner Tourist Board, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ) and the CNTB Representation for the Czech Republic and Slovakia started a new cycle of presentations, which will probably continue in virtual form this year, as has been the case for many such things since the spring of 2020.

The presentation which showcases 2022 Kvarner tourism for the aforementioned markets was attended by about 30 representatives of varying Czech and Slovak agencies.

"We used the presentation as an opportunity to introduce agents to the novelties for 2022 Kvarner tourism with an emphasis placed on the large investment of Czech capital in the construction of Hilton Rijeka Costabella Beach Resort & Spa and the continuation of the ultra-popular railway line of the Czech carrier RegioJet," said Kvarner Tourist Board Director Irena Persic Zivadinov.

Guests from the Czech Republic realised more than 100,000 arrivals and almost 700,000 overnight stays back in 2021, which was very encouragingly at the record levels set back in pre-pandemic 2019, while guests from Slovakia achieved twice as much traffic as they did back in 2020.

The Kvarner region has been enjoying the status of one of the most popular foreign tourist destinations on the Czech and Slovak markets for years now, and the presentation of 2022 Kvarner tourism will likely draw many more people back.

In addition, the favourite car destinations for guests from the Czech Republic are Croatia and Slovakia, and for guests from Slovakia, those destinations are Croatia and the Czech Republic, which speaks of the traditional connection between them all.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 18 February 2022

Croatia 6th Favourite Destination for Early Summer Break for Europeans

February the 18th, 2022 - European tourists after an early summer break are choosing Croatia more and more frequently, and although the pandemic is still very much around, the situation has altered drastically across the continent and travel for leisure has been made far easier for the vaccinated.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although due to the still current global coronavirus pandemic and the currently circulating Omicron variant of the novel virus, Europeans' intentions to travel across borders are still slightly lower than they were last summer, they are significantly higher than they were a year ago, which makes the prospect of early summer tourist traffic very optimistic. An early summer break in Croatia could be just what many tourists need.

Longer trips are expected this year, during which tourists will of course spend more, covid certificates aren't as important to travellers as they were last year, and so far travellers are most attracted to enjoying a beach holiday somewhere along the coast where they will indulge in new experiences and local culture.

Croatia is the sixth most popular tourist destination for Europeans wanting an early summer break, behind the traditionally leading countries of France and Spain, Italy, Germany and Greece, behind which Croatia is only just lagging. And when it comes to Croatian tourism itself, the biggest hit this summer season could once again be tourists from Poland, for whom the country remains the number one choice.

These are the results of the latest research conducted for the European Commission (EC) for Travel in December by Mindhause (Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel - Wave 10), with a detailed analysis of the current sentiment in Europe's leading emitting markets.

It turned out that concrete bookings made back in December 2021 were still relatively low, and early booking is still slow. Although 36 percent of Europeans are planning a trip in the months of May and June, only 17 percent have already made a reservation for an early summer break.

Despite this, as many as 61 percent of respondents in this survey are optimistic about travel in the period up to early July, with 50 percent of travel in this period planned within Europe itself.

Another positive trend is the intention of travellers to stay longer and spend more money when at their chosen destination. The propensity to travel longer than 10 nights is up 38 percent from a previous survey taken back in September, while the share of travellers planning to spend more than 2,000 euros is up 31 percent, especially among those planning to travel in May or June 2022.

For 63 percent of travellers, a holiday is the main motivator for travel, although the business segment is also showing gradual progress for the first time since autumn 2020. In the next few months, 15 percent of respondents expect to travel to attend a meeting, conference or event.

Although Europeans are eager to travel, they're postponing the booking process in hopes of enjoying more freedom and mobility later on, without the need for testing and quarantine, which is still being sought to some degree or another by several countries if you're not vaccinated.

Travel planning is therefore being extended once again, and the booking framework is being expanded - only 4 out of 10 future travellers have chosen their destination but have not yet booked, while only 19 percent have partially booked transport or accommodation for their next trip.

The Germans are a little hesitant...

Croatia is in the five most popular destinations for the Poles, Austrians and French, with Polish tourists putting the country in the top position, with as many as 10 percent of respondents preparing to head to Croatia by June.

As many as 80 percent of Poles are ready to travel, 48 percent plan to travel abroad, 47 percent will travel with family, most of them will stay for 4-9 days, and the largest share of Poles plan to spend up to 1,000 euros on travel, while more than a fifth of Poles have budget from 1,500 to 2,500 euros.

In the period until the end of June, the Austrians are in 4th place in terms of popularity, before Greece, while the French are in 5th place. Surprisingly 40 percent of Germans, otherwise very faithful to Croatia, are still undecided as to whether they'll travel or not.

Among those planning to do so, more than a quarter plan to travel within the country, with 50 percent going across the border, mostly to Austria and Spain, and in fifth place to Greece. Only 14 percent of Germans booked a holiday back in December.

For more, check out our travel section.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Digital Nomads Are an Interesting Niche for Croatian Tourism, Says Minister

February 15, 2022 - Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjac talked in Buzet with Mayor Damir Kajin about the importance of uniting tourist communities and the development and potential of year-round tourism with an emphasis on digital nomads, who increasingly recognize the interior of Istria as an ideal destination for their stay.

Stating that the focus during the talks was on the importance of uniting tourist communities, which Istria quickly recognized as important, Minister Brnjac said that tourist unions have the opportunity to use funds more efficiently, but also to better manage tourist destinations, reports Index.hr

"In this way, we contribute not only to a stronger recognition of tourist destinations but also to the creation of a system of sustainable and resilient tourism, which is important to all of us," said Minister Nikolina Brnjac.

Development of tourism products

She states that in the last two years the association of tourist boards has reduced their number at the level of cities and municipalities and that in 2022 more than 12 million kuna will be available from the Fund for United Tourist Boards for projects of joint tourist boards.

She reminded that back in 1997 the tourist boards of the City of Pazin, the municipalities of Sveti Lovreč, Cerovlje, Gračišće, Karojba, Lupoglav, Sveti Petar u Šumi, Pićan, and Tinjan formally united under the name "Central Istria" and the slogan "Authentic Istria", and they were recently joined on a project basis by the tourist boards of Buzet, Barban, Žminj, Svetvincenat, and Kanfanar.

The goal is the joint implementation of one or more activities aimed at developing a tourist product and promoting destinations in the segment of enogastronomy, active tourism, and cultural, historical, and natural attractions.

Digital nomads

The Minister also referred to digital nomadism as an interesting niche for Croatian tourism because nomads are not seasonal, but year-round guests and their interests are diverse and not necessarily related to the sea and the sun. 

At today's meeting in Buzet, they also discussed the importance of developing sustainable, year-round tourism, the new Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy until 2030, and the possibilities of co-financing projects from the mechanisms of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. 

As it was heard today, in the County of Istria in the previous part of 2022 there were 115 percent more arrivals and 71 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2021, and compared to the same period in 2019, there were 5 percent more arrivals and 13 percent more overnight stays.

In Buzet, 115 percent more arrivals and 71 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2021, and 5 percent more arrivals and 13 percent more overnight stays than in the same period in 2019.

For more information about digital nomads in Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

European Sustainable Tourism Plan Looks to Croatian eVisitor System

February the 15th, 2022 - Croatia certainly loves to sit back and count the overnight stays during the tourist season, but as sustainable tourism becomes the direction in which more and more countries are heading in, how much can other countries look towards the Croatian eVisitor system for inspiration?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, in the near future, EU member states will no longer measure their tourism results through arrivals and overnight stays being registered, but with the help of digital technologies and artificial intelligence, unique, standardised tools will be developed to monitor EU-wide social, environmental and economic impacts.

So far, the deadlines for the introduction of these new metrics haven't been defined, which will include changes in legislation and a number of new infrastructure solutions, but national tourist boards will play a key role in this.

The experience of the Croatian eVisitor system could have a significant impact on the process, as has since been learned. The plan for the introduction of new statistical methods for monitoring the results of tourism, with the introduction of sustainable solutions and digitisation is the most important topic of the just published report of the European Commission (EC).

It is a document that confirms the agreement of EU tourist boards to implement new tourism metrics and to give priority to both residents and tourists when it comes to tourism services, instead of harmfully imposing the number of nights as the only criterion for growth and development.

The report was created together with the destinations of the European Union and industrial players. Some analysts of global trends suggest it could be a turning point for the future of EU tourism, while others are skeptical about its future implementation, which has not yet been defined.

"We believe that European national tourism organisations should be the European Commission's main partner and play a major role in implementing these solutions in the coming years. While most have well-established tools to provide a wide range of key performance indicators related to the quantitative economic aspects of tourism, most still struggle with the lack of a broader picture of the impact of tourism,'' said Luis Araujo, President of the European Travel Commission.

He is convinced that expanding metrics and coordination at European Union level will significantly facilitate the sustainable transition of destinations. The Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB) will also actively participate in the process.

"This is a document created in the context of pandemic-induced disorders and which, among other things, emphasises the need for more sustainable tourism and tourism that is more resilient to crises. Green and digital transitions stand out as key, especially in areas such as sustainable competitiveness, legislation and policy, technical solutions and infrastructure. Great emphasis has also been placed on the collection of other types of data, such as tourist traffic, as well as environmental, economic and social indicators.

In this regard, the ETC and national tourism organisations are already working to establish a single set of indicators that could monitor and compare European Union destinations in terms of the impact of tourism and tourism sustainability,'' the CNTB revealed.

They also added that the CNTB can contribute to the collection and processing of this data with existing solutions, such as the world's unique technological solution for monitoring and analysing tourist traffic, the Croatian eVisitor system, but also by developing new smart digital solutions and services and improving knowledge and skills, as well as the further development and management of tourist destinations and products.

They also added that various national documents that are being drafted, the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030 and the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism from 2021 to 2027 should also contribute to the process.

For more, check out our travel section.

Friday, 11 February 2022

Croatia-Dedicated ADAC Brochure Targets German Tourists for 2022 Season

February 11, 2022 - A Croatia-dedicated ADAC brochure has been released to persuade German tourists to choose Croatia for their 2022 holiday. 

With the intention that many German guests come to Croatia this summer, the Croatian National Tourist Board is highly active in marketing in this area. As Nera Miličić, head of the Branch Office of the Croatian Tourist Board in Munich, revealed, the German ADAC has published a brochure entirely dedicated to Croatia, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The largest German and European car club, with 22 million members, has published a brochure entitled "Kroatien: ein Land zum Verlieben" ("Croatia: a country to fall in love with"), which is entirely dedicated to Croatia as a tourist destination.

"The ADAC is the most important source of information for Germans when it comes to traveling abroad, which is especially important if we know that over 70 percent of guests from Germany in the pandemic years realize their travels by car. In this context, our cooperation with ADAC is of great importance because, in this way, we provide our guests with accurate information on travel conditions and planning. Furthermore, we also have the support of one of the most influential German institutions that enjoy the great trust of its citizens and our most numerous guests," said Miličić, adding that Croatia is presented in the brochure as a destination of rich diversity and unforgettable experiences.

The brochure highlights Istria as a picturesque peninsula among the Croatian regions, which stands out for its medieval towns and places, beautiful beaches, Venetian heritage, Roman relics, and numerous bays. Kvarner is said to be a region that stands out for its beautiful coast and islands, of which Krk, Rab, Cres, and Lošinj stand out. Plenty of sun, natural beauty, and cultural heritage are associated with Dalmatia; the capital Zagreb is highlighted as the center of Croatia, while Central Croatia and Slavonia are shown as hidden gems of our country.

"The importance of ADAC is evidenced by the fact that this voluntary association enjoys the greatest trust of citizens in Germany and is the first address for service information when planning a trip. Furthermore, ADAC operates in more than 150 branches throughout Germany and is one of our most important strategic partners in the German market," said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić.

At the very end of the brochure, many readers will find helpful information about traveling to Croatia, from tips for traveling by car to camping-related information.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatian Ports Visited by 208 Foreign Cruise Ships in 2021

7 February 2022 - During 2021, Croatia was visited by 208 foreign cruise ships, which is considerably more than in 2020 when a mere 26 foreign cruise ships were registered in the Croatian Adriatic seaports, and markedly fewer than in 2019 where there were as many as 726 foreign cruise ships.

According to the data provided by the national statistical office, as many as 194,000 guests were on those 208 ships that visited Croatia last year.

In 2020, a mere 4,000 guests cruised the Croatian Adriatic Sea.

In 2019, as many as 1.1 million passengers were registered on foreign cruise ships visiting Croatia, according to the data of the DZS.

In 2021, the first foreign cruise ships arrived in Croatia in June and in that month, 15 such vessels were registered.

In July 2021, there were 34 foreign cruise ships, two more, that is 36, were in August, whereas 49 foreign cruise ships were recorded in September and 50 in October, while 21 were in November, and three in December.

For the sake of comparison, October 2019 saw as many as 105 cruise ships under foreign flags.

In 2021, nearly two thirds, that is 63% of cruise ships, visited the ports in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, while the seaports in Split-Dalmatia County accounted for 27.4% of visits, and the remaining destinations were in the rest of Croatia's coast. 

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