Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Croatian 2021 Tourist Results Almost Nullify Coronavirus-Induced Drop of 2020

November the 30th, 2021 - The pace of economic recovery seems more difficult to assess than the decline that followed the unprecedented situation that dominated 2020. Croatian 2021 tourist results, however, have well and truly outdone themselves.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, what can be taken from what has been released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on the first estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2021 and the real growth rate of 15.8 percent compared to the same quarter last year (according to seasonally adjusted data), is that most analysts can admit that it exceeded their expectations. The Croatian 2021 tourist results were excellent, and with this being the country's strongest economic branch, it certainly poured some much needed cash back into the country's wallet.

Apart from personal consumption, which was mostly in the double-digits, and although the published data of 16 percent also largely exceeded forecasts, some economists will point out that they were pleasantly surprised by the positive contribution of net foreign demand, primarily due to significantly lower growth in the import of goods and services in relation to exports. In the summer months, this is primarily ''stamped'' by tourism.

The growth rate of total Croatian exports reached almost 49 percent, while imports of goods and services increased by just 14 percent when compared to the third quarter of last year. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic didn't miss the opportunity to boast about the fact that this is the second highest annual rate of quarterly GDP growth so far (behind the one recorded in the second quarter, of almost 17 percent).

At a press conference, he pointed out that in the first nine months of 2021, Croatia had annual growth of 10.7 percent, which is the highest rate, in his words, since independence. With the message that “the Government will do everything to make the growth at the end of the year reach at least nine percent, he noted that among the EU member states for which data for the third quarter has been made available, Croatia's 15.8 percent is by far the highest GDP growth.

Admittedly, at this time last year, Croatia also took the lead in the CBS estimates of quarterly GDP, but at a rate of decline. At that time, Croatia was the only country with a double-digit decline in the EU, but it turned out a little later that it was slightly larger down in Greece.

At the level of the whole of 2021, it is almost certain that the Croatian economy will record the highest growth rate to date. Bearing in mind that epidemiological measures were tightened due to the coronavirus crisis at the end of November last year, which ultimately contributed to an annual decline of 7.4 percent in the last quarter, solid growth is also expected for the last quarter of this year. In any case, all indications are that year-round growth could be very close to the double-digit rate. However, even 9 percent growth would mean catching back up with the GDP levels of the pre-crisis 2019 this year, although it was calculated at the beginning of this year that after last year's sharp decline, we'd have to wait until at least the end of next year.

Although it is now quite certain that Croatia will be in the group of several countries with the highest GDP growth in the EU this year, less impressive is the fact that in 2019 Croatia only managed to exceed the level of GDP from 2008. According to the latest estimate from Government statisticians, growth in the third quarter of 2021 was recorded by all major components of domestic GDP, with the exception of Government spending, which fell by 4.5 percent compared to the third quarter of last year.

The largest contribution to growth came from a 16 percent increase in personal consumption as the largest component, and from the exports of goods and services (with significantly slower growth for imports). With as much as 71.6 percent higher exports of services compared to the three summer months of last year, the exports of goods increased by 13 percent, while the imports of goods increased by 12.4 percent and services increased by 22.3 percent.

Positive rates also continued with gross fixed capital formation, although growth (7.4 percent) was slower than in the previous quarter (18 percent). Observed according to the production method, quarterly gross value added (GVA) recorded an annual increase of 13.5 percent. As expected, the largest contribution was made in the group of activities related to tourism, and Croatian 2021 tourist results have been truly remarkable, primarily due to a lasting favourable epidemiological situation. This allowed Croatia to excel in comparison to its Mediterranean competition.

In the category that unites wholesale and retail trade, transport and storage, as well as accommodation and food preparation and serving activities, GVA increased by almost 40 percent. Positive rates were also achieved in the remaining ten categories, with double-digits also recorded in the following activities: Information and communication (11 percent) and Professional, scientific, technical, administrative and support service activities (16 percent).

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Wine Roads of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, Sv. Ivan Zelina Presented through New Website

27 Nov 2021 - Central Croatia is rightfully getting more and more acclaim as a top-notch travel destination. This is especially true when it comes to its offer of food and wine. Another step in the right direction is the unveiling of the new project Gourmet Tourism – GoWine.

There are numerous attractive towns, villages, and micro-regions around the Croatian capital Zagreb. Some of them are well known among Croatians, most of them unfairly neglected by international travellers. However, things are changing at a rapid pace and we are seeing an increase in promotional actions uncovering the wonders of Central Croatia. The Gourmet Tourism project is a joint effort by tourism boards of three towns: Sv. Ivan Zelina, Jastrebarsko, and Samobor and aims at promoting the food and wine offer in these three areas. This project is backed by the Zagreb County Tourism Board and authorised by the Croatian Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

Increasing visibility of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sv. Ivan Zelina

The primary goal of the project is to communicate a local offer of authentic food and wine more clearly and efficiently by creating interactive and printed maps, a promotional website (www.gowine.hr), WebVR app, as well as to give the project its own recognisable visual identity. The most attractive parts of all these three areas covered in the project are their wine roads. Using stylised maps, the users will now have an easy time navigating them. The locations of numerous local wineries and countryside estates offering quality, authentic bites and sips are now there for all to find and enjoy. With plenty to explore in the area, the creators of the maps had their hands full at selecting those local businesses that will represent the area well.


The presentation of the project itself took place at the beautiful Mirnovec Ethno Farm. While there was plenty of information to go through, representatives of the three tourism boards and their associates kept the protocol dynamic and interesting. With plenty of mouth-watering local food and delicious wine, all gathered members of the press were able to taste for themselves exactly what wonders lie in the vicinity of Zagreb. Well-known names of the Croatian food and wine scene: Mr. Bakalovic, Mr. Spicek, and Mr. Spiranec created a lunch menu perfect for showcasing the finest this region has to offer. 

So, next time you get a chance, make sure to explore the areas of Jastrebarsko, Samobor, and Sv. Ivan Zelina. With gowine.hr and all the local information one click away, you now officially have no excuse not to do so. Just make sure you go hungry and thirsty.

For all the tourism information in Croatia, do not miss Total Croatia

Saturday, 27 November 2021

October Blues: Imagine the Global Economy Had a Dalmatian Work Ethic

November 27, 2021 - Some in Dalmatia want winter tourism, others are exhausted after the season. How would things look if the global economy adopted the Dalmatian work ethic? 

I love Dalmatia.

I love Dalmatians. Hell, I married one, and she is as lovely as ever, as well as one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I know. 

My wife got that work ethic from her father, who is from the village of Brusje on the island of Hvar. One of ten kids, there was never money for anything, and the 12-kilimetre round-trip walk to school in Hvar Town each day certainly kept him fit. Without ever taking a kuna of credit in his life, he managed to buy land in the most prime part of Jelsa, build a 4-storey house and put all four kids through university, while at the same time spending hours in the family field each day, supplying the family with much of its food. 

Total respect, and I am only sorry that he did not get a proper son-in-law who loved to spend time in the field and not on a laptop, or at least one who adored blitva... 

When people say that Dalmatians are lazy, I always smile and think of my father-in-law, who is always on the road about 5 am each day to tend to the field before his daily chores. I think of the many Dalmatians who left the country in the 19th century, who emigrated out of economic necessity with little more than the shirts on their backs and went on to build incredible businesses and new lives in countries where initially they did not even speak the language. Seriously impressive stuff, and I read somewhere that if the Croatian diaspora was its own country, it would be one of the richest in the world in terms of GDP. 

And yet... 

I know I am going to get slaughtered on social media for this article (particularly by those who don't read beyond the title), and I am ok with that. When you have a double lawsuit ongoing from the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, a little additional social media abuse it like water off a duck's back. 

I am also aware that nothing will change with anything that I write, for a learned a long time ago that there is a reason that Dalmatia seems to be a little slower in time, without all the latest brand stores and latest technology - the locals like it that way. Like many foreigners coming to Dlamatia over the years, I used to get frustrated at the lack of local interest in embracing change and things that I called 'progress'. The reason these things did not exist were because locals did not want them. It took me 15 years but I managed to condense my advice to incoming foreigners into one sentence. If they could accept and live by this sentence from day one, they would truly have found paradise. But if - like me - you spend years fighting against that sentence before finally accepting its truth, a long period of frustration ensued. The sentence is this:

Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. 

Dalmatia definitely changed me - for the better - and I long ago gave up trying to change Damlatia. But there is one small area where I think I can contribute to a small change  that I think would be beneficial to all, and it is one which divides locals. 

Winter tourism. 

Not many people know that organised tourism in Europe began in Dalmatia. 

With a focus on the winter. 

The founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868 attracted convalescing aristocrats in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rest in the temperate climes of the island known as the Austrian Madeira. Even as late as 1990, winter tourism was rocking, with Americans coming for up to 6 weeks for the art, nature, food and wine - read this fascinating interview with a UK tour rep based here from 1986-91. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview.

The issue of winter tourism comes up each year, and I always smile at the responses. We are tired, we have worked so hard in the season. We made enough in the season, we don't want it. I have to attend to my olives and fields etc. It is October after all, and the season has now been a full six months. 

While I used to smile at this more when I actually lived in Dalmatia, it is somehow a little less amusing living in continental Croatia, where people work equally as hard, usually without the benefit of lucrative tourism that happens accidentally, and they have to slog it out 12 months to survive. 

But that I guess is one of the joys of being born a Damatian in Dalmatia - it really is God's own paradise. 

The thing is, though, that this seasonality is - at least in the humble opinion of this foreigner, if he is allowed one - is that it is really affecting the quality of life in Dalmatia, and I think this seasonality is becoming a real issue. Living on Hvar was an incredible experience, and running TCN kept me shielded from the extremes due to the interesting assignments that constantly popped up. But the reality is that during the season, most people are working 5 jobs to make the most they can in the season, and in the winter, there is nothing open to enjoy. 

I was in both Osijek and Split this month, and there is no question which is the better city to live in during the winter. And it is not the Dalmatian capital. Split SHOULD be one of the top cities in Europe for lifestyle. It has so much to offer, and it has the potential to be one of the most attractive remote work destinations in Europe. And yet sadly, it is showing signs of esging towards overtourism in summer and a strangulation of life in winter. It really doesn't need to be that way. 

One of the most interesting points in TCN's recent winter tourism initiative (which has led to the Split winter tourism round table with Mayor Puljak and others on December 13), was in this great interivew with the team from The Daltonist, who lament the lack of local life in town. This is detrminental both to tourism, as people want to exeprience the local vibe (did I mention Osijek?), but also it is not that much fun for locals either. 

Not all people want to work all year in Dalmatia. And that is fine - that is one part of the essence of the Dalmatian lifestyle. But others do. Why not look at rather than working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for a seasonal worker, who is then unemployed during the winter, perhaps closing for a day or even two each week to give the staff a chance to breathe and enjoy life a little. At the same time, work with others to develop content and local life, so that things are open longer. By moving away from seasonality, workers can be given permanent contracts, find stability and become invested in the company's success. 

And there would be life in winter. And that would be a win for both tourists and locals. 

And creating content and fun out of season need not be that complicated or successful. Build it and they will come. Check out Nomad Table by Saltwater Nomads at Zinfandel each Friday through the winter in Split. A sell-out each week. 

But imagine that Damatian work ethic of only working for half the year was applied to the global economy. Those Wall Street brokers and the like who work 50 weeks a year so that they afford the fortnight in Croatia on the Dalmatian coast - now working for just 26 weeks and staying home, with the appropriate mild negative effect on Dalmatian tourism. In fact, if all of Dalmatia's visitors only worked half a year, how many would be able to afford to come to Dalmatia at all? 

The difference is, of course, that they are not Dalmatian, living in God's Own Paradise. 


Do not try and change Dalmatia, but expect Dalmatia to change you. But build in a little winter tourism for those who want it - it will improve the quality of life all round. 

Read more about the Split Winter Tourism initiative, which will take place on December 13. 

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Stronger Seasonal Tourism Results in Less Fast-Growing Croatian Companies

November the 25th, 2021 - Fast-growing Croatian companies are few and far between in areas of the country where seasonal trends are the strongest, which shouldn't come as much of a shock to most.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, demand for travel across Europe has shown a solid recovery this past summer, although according to the latest quarterly report on trends and prospects, a return to pre-pandemic levels is still not expected before 2024.

Judging by this year's achievements of the tourism sector here in Croatia, this seems likely that this recovery will occur much earlier on, especially in relation to competing countries with which we usually compare ourselves across the Mediterranean.

While announcing the continued recovery of the travel industry for next year, it is generally warned that the increase in international travel costs could adversely affect travel availability itself, the Zagreb Institute of Economics continues to analyse some of the broader effects and aspects of Croatia's high reliance on tourism as part of the TourCro project.

In a paper recently published in the Tourism Management journal, Maruska Vizek from EIZ and Nebojsa Stojcic from the University of Dubrovnik and Josip Mikulic from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb all analysed how tourism activity affects the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies in local government units across the country.

In short, the results of this analysis suggest that both the vulnerability of local government units to tourism activity and the increased seasonality of tourism has negatively affected the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies. This aspect is important because of the importance of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of overall economic activity.

According to the OECD definition, fast-growing Croatian companies are those that achieve sales revenue growth of at least 20 percent within three years and had at least ten employees at the beginning of the observed three-year period, and according to some research are responsible for creating 50 percent of all new jobs and revenues in the service sector, recalls Vizek in a comment on the Institute's website regarding the results of the said analysis.

Fast-growing Croatian companies cause, he says, positive ups and downs of spillovers within the value-added chain to which they belong, and are often in sectors characterised by the high-intensity application of knowledge and technology.

He also explained how the empirical analysis in the paper has been conducted at the level of local self-government units from 2012 to 2019, where the subject of the analysis is the population of more than 100,000 companies (legal entities) registered in the country in that period. Tourist activities are presented in two ways: as an index of vulnerability to tourism of local self-government units and as the intensity of the seasonality of tourist activities in these same local units.

“The negative impact of increased seasonality of tourism in local units on the emergence of fast-growing Croatian companies is reflected in the finding that increasing the seasonality of tourism by 10 index points leads to a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in terms of total companies by 3 to 6 percentage points.

At the same time, an increase in the tourism vulnerability index of 10 index points reduces the share of fast-growing Croatian companies by 0.6 to 1.5 percentage points on average,'' said the assistant director of the Institute of Economics in her review. In other words, he says, both greater vulnerability to tourism and the more pronounced seasonality of tourism in local government units is associated with a decrease in the share of fast-growing Croatian companies in the total number of companies which exist within local units.

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

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Croatia is Key Market for New Sustainable Quartz Inn Hotel Chain

November the 23rd, 2021 - The Republic of Croatia is a key market for the new Quartz Inn hotel chain, and the move could finally kickstart Croatia's more sustainable ambitions as a tourist destination, as this chain places an emphasis precisely on that.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after the recent official presentation at the London Tourism Fair WTM, a new European hotel brand will be launched in around one month, the new Quartz Inn Hotel chain for independent sustainable hotels, and one of the main markets they plan to expand to is Croatia, where they're already negotiating with facility owners.

The was confirmed to the above-linked publication by Ignacio Merino, the co-founder and director of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain, revealing details of the expansion to at least 100 hotels across Europe. Quartz Inn Hotels Ltd. was founded by Spaniard Merino and Dutchman Alexander Zawadzki, both of the men have extensive experience in the hotel industry, as well as with online travel agencies and travel startups.

“We're the first sustainable hotel brand for independent hotels in Europe, our goal is to connect sustainable accommodation from all European countries, while preserving the authenticity of each facility. We're helping hotels become ''green'' and creating a more sustainable tourism industry. By joining our brand, hotels gain greater international visibility, which leads to higher revenue and more direct bookings,'' explained Ignacio Merino of the business idea that came to him in the midst of a global pandemic, partly as a result of the crisis it caused.

"Independent hotels have been hit hardest and don't have the same resources as larger chains do in order to properly overcome this situation. We talked to many people and decided to form a community that will support them. Through our partners, we provide them with the latest technology to manage things for them, covering all commercial areas, such as OTA distribution, connectivity, marketing, online reputation, online sign-up, additional sales, reservations and revenue management, to optimise hotel prices and maximise benefits,'' he explained.

They also offer members a free academy for hotel owners and their staff. It will focus in particular on direct bookings to bypass online platforms and expensive commissions, ensuring more revenue for hotels and a better deal for guests. Hotel owners aren't charged a fee to enter the Quartz Inn Hotel brand and they promise the lowest commission on the market, depending on the services the hotel wants to provide. In addition, the goal is for each property they're associated with to become a brand shareholder.

“Hotels make up our brand, so they deserve to own part of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain itself. Depending on the number of shares and the length of the cooperation agreement, we will determine the amount of shares that we'll assign to each owner,'' said the co-owner of the brand whose name is inspired by the mineral quartz, which has is very hard and is claimed to purify energy.

In addition to hotels, guesthouses and holiday villas are also welcome to join the chain. So far, they have dozens of contracts signed across Europe, and in 2022 they plan to conclude with at least 100 facilities in the Quartz Inn Hotel chain. Although they say their focus is primarily on sustainability, the propositions for members don't seem too strict, the main goals sound rather generic - to reduce energy and water consumption and eliminate the use of disposable plastic in rooms, all while encouraging sustainable healthier eating habits and contributing to local culture and economy.

That said, if a certain facility doesn’t meet the criteria, they can still work with them, and they'll be helped and provided with technology to grow and aid them in becoming much more sustainable. Once they reach the sustainability standards of the Quartz Inn Hotel chain, they incorporate them into their portfolio. Chain members get keep their names, but are free to add a brand name to it should they so wish. They're completely focused on Europe, and Croatia is one of their main markets, they consider it an attractive coastal destination and a paradise for nature lovers.

“I visited Zagreb for the first time back in 2009, and learned more about Croatia while working in a hotel in Munich with several Croatian colleagues who were proud of their country and recommended many places to me. Since then, I've visited not only places on the coast, but also many national and nature parks. We want to offer our guests a wide selection of conscious and sustainable accommodation. We're currently in talks with several hotels from Istria and Dalmatia and I sincerely hope that Croatia will soon become part of our hotel family,'' concluded Ignacio Merino.

For more, check out our business section.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Brnjac Announces National Reforestation Project at EU Ministerial Meeting

ZAGREB, 21 Nov, 2021 - Addressing an informal online meeting of EU tourism ministers last Tuesday, Croatian Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac spoke about a new Croatian reforestation plan that is being launched by three ministries.

In line with the Paris Agreement, the EU has pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and of the numerous projects to be launched by the Croatian government, one of the first projects is related to tourism. A reforestation project for the period until 2030 is expected to result in the planting of around one million trees every year to compensate for a portion of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by tourists arriving by car, said Brnjac.

The reforestation project is being launched by the Tourism and Sports Ministry in cooperation with the ministries of economy and sustainable development and agriculture.

Brnjac also said that the making of a joint long-term plan of work of the EU must be accompanied by the availability of specific and continued EU funds for the sustainable development of tourism.

The informal meeting of EU tourism officials, held as part of the Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU, focused on plans for activities and the adoption of a European Agenda for Tourism 2030-2050.

For more on lifestyle, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

2022 Croatian Tourism Year Promising with Increased Airlines, April Hotel Bookings

November 21, 2021 - The 2022 Croatian tourism year is already promising, with hotel reservations and increased flights from April. 

Slobodna Dalmacija writes that although it seems that everything related to tourism in Croatia for this year is over and the accounts are complete, tourism professionals are not sleeping. This winter, fortunately, is full of work. Some parts of the season are already showing that reservations are up by 20 percent compared to previous years, and the most sought after are holiday homes and five-star hotels. Instructed by the high demand last summer, tourists have accelerated their decision to travel next year and are already booking their trip to the Adriatic to make sure there are enough beds. There is currently no lack of optimism but also caution among tourism professionals.

Even in the middle of the quieter autumn months, reservations are slowly arriving for 2022, occupancy calendars are filling, and everyone involved in sales must set a sales strategy, prices, and reservations for 2022. 

Prices scattered from low to high last year, which did not go unnoticed by guests. However, international partners have already settled capacities and prices on the Adriatic with large hotel systems, while large internet platforms and agencies through which private renters work already know their prices for the next season. 

"In planning the 2022 tourist year, we must be prudent and smart in the pricing policy; one should not get carried away by this year's demand because every next year is a new story that starts from the beginning. What we did in 2021 is one thing, at some point, we were practically the only country in the Mediterranean where we could travel, while what awaits us in 2022 is a lot of question marks and unknowns. And we tend to take off, convince ourselves that we are the best and most sought after, and tailor the prices accordingly. But, it doesn't work, this year the guests saw our weaknesses, lack of manpower, improvisations, poorer service. Top service in the highest accommodation categories is still the most sought after and the fastest to book. Still, it does not make even 10 percent of our capacity, while most hotel and family accommodation is in the mediocre category and wants to have high prices. That will not work in 2022," one long-term hotel professional estimated about the current situation.

According to the latest European Travel Commission (ETC) study, 66 percent of Europeans plan to travel by March 2022. For the first time in a year, travel plans are evenly distributed over the next six months. Recent research shows that after sacrificing socializing, traveling, and having fun for a long time, travelers want to make up for the time they haven’t been able to spend on holiday for the past two years. If something does not change due to the pandemic, business plans say that hotels on the Adriatic will open in April 2022, when the first numerous rotations in air transport from Europe have been announced.

The current interest in Croatia was confirmed at the recently held largest world tourism fair WTM in London, where airlines announced new and increased routes to Croatia next year. 

"We received excellent announcements for next year from the representatives of Jet2.com, our most important partners in the British market, which brings us the largest number of British tourists with TUI. Furthermore, partners for next year announce increased demand for Croatia and a larger number of airlines. Still, we all have an important task because the basic precondition for a successful tourist season will be a stable epidemiological situation," emphasizes CNTB Director Kristjan Stanicic, announcing further promotional activities and projects aimed at positioning Croatia as a quality and safe tourist destination with a rich offer.

Richard Owens, development manager at easyJet, says that they achieved excellent results in Croatia this year and almost entirely returned to the trends from 2019. As a result, they plan to increase capacity and introduce new flights to Croatia next year. At the same time, Frank Broersen from TUI expresses satisfaction with the demand for Croatia, expecting the continuation of positive trends and further recovery of the tourist market next year.

This currently good position of Croatia on the tourist market will seek confirmation in 2022, but many circumstances will undoubtedly be more unfavorable for Croatia. Currently, Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, which recorded a massive drop in tourist traffic last summer, are recovering rapidly. Moreover, with an increasing number of vaccinated Europeans and mandatory Covid passports, which will be almost ubiquitous in the travel industry in 2022, their expectations are high to bring back travelers, especially those that discovered Croatia as a replacement for these tourism superpowers.

"Preparations for the next tourist year have begun. From today's perspective, it is quite clear that in 2022, safety will be one of the critical conditions when choosing a destination for travel, while the realization of the season will largely require the provision of a quality workforce. In these crisis years, we have higher-quality quality facilities to achieve better results. Still, people are key to maintaining the status of Croatia as a high-quality destination in the Mediterranean," says Veljko Ostojic, director of the Croatian Tourism Association.

According to the eVisitor system, 683 thousand guest arrivals were recorded in October, with 2.2 million overnight stays. Given that the post-season was interrupted last year due to a significant deterioration in the epidemiological situation, this year's figures in October are higher than last year's. Compared to the record 2019, the number of tourist arrivals in October this year is 61 percent of the results from October 2019, while the number of overnight stays is 70 percent compared to October 2019. In the first week of November, 31,649 foreign tourists stayed in Croatia, with domestic guests from Austria (4,980) and Germany (4,004), who achieved a total of 122,656 overnight stays.

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

Monday, 1 November 2021

Croatian Tourism Presented at World Travel Market in London

ZAGREB, 1 Nov 2021 - The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is presenting Croatian tourism at the World Travel Market in London in person from 1 to 3 November and online on the 8th and the 9th, the HTZ said on Monday.

On the first day of the event, HTZ director Kristjan Staničić met with representatives of easyJet, TUI, SAGA, Jet2.com & Jet2Holidays, Globetrotter TV, National Geographic, and Wanderlust.

Staničić said Jet2.com and TUI brought the largest number of British tourists to Croatia and that Jet2.com's "announcements for next year are excellent."

"For next year our partners are announcing a rise in demand for Croatia and more flights," he added.

EasyJet's development manager Richard Owen said the company planned to introduce new flights to Croatia next year, including to Rijeka and Osijek for the first time.

Frank Broersen of TUI said this year there was a 16% increase in bookings for Croatia from 2019 and that they were confident the negotiations with Croatian partners that were underway would result in an increase in TUI capacity to Croatia.

Jet2.com & Jet2Holidays officials also announced upping capacity to Croatia.

This year to date Croatia has registered more than 230,000 arrivals and about 1.2 million overnights from the UK, up by 83% and 77% on the year, respectively.

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season Threatened by Shortages, Price Hikes

October the 26th, 2021 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season could be threatened by something quite different than a global public health crisis, as was the case in 2020 and to a certain extent this year.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the euphoria of a remarkably successful summer season this year has lasted for just a short time, after the pandemic, the next crisis looks set to hit tourism and is equally uncertain. Global increases in prices and the shortages of energy, goods, materials and products now pose new and very serious threats to the tourism business, and the consequences are only just beginning. The Croatian 2022 tourist season could now be more problematic than we thought.

So far, the rent a car business has been hardest hit, and it isn't much easier for agencies and the hospitality and catering sector, which not only cannot plan any of their prices, but also don't know whether they'll be able to deliver their services at all to a market in high demand by the time spring rolls around. If tourists manage to stay in hotels, eat dinner in a restaurant and rent a vehicle, in 2022 they could be paying very dearly for it.

"In normal years, this would be a period when deals are contracted with suppliers and customers, between large travel organisers, agencies, hotels and camps, package deals are defined, the need for transportation services are looked into, cars are procured for rent. The coronavirus pandemic shook up these processes, so there was no demand and it all came down to survival and cutting costs, and now we have a situation where we suddenly received demand, but it's very difficult to put together an offer,'' Boris Zgomba, the CEO of Uniline, the largest Croatian agency, warned.

Tourism across all segments will be equally affected by rising prices and delays in deliveries, ie shortages. As tourism is activity that unites a number of other industries, everything from food and beverages to transfers, charters, buses, hygiene products, packaging, furniture, and even basic things like towels will be called into question.

Since the winter is on its way to Croatia, for some these issues won't manifest themselves before the spring, and it's difficult to plan what the situation will be like by then for a multitude of reasons, epidemiological ones included. The primary issue here is that planning is precisely the key word for this sector, mostly in the pricing policy segment.

Service sellers are currently having the biggest problems because they have a situation where prices are changing on a daily basis, which means that the contracted prices, which was defined in normal times, is no longer realistic. They have no input for pricing, and if they try to protect themselves and set a price too high, they're at great risk of not being competitive. And if we want our guests to come on April the 1st and start with the pre-season, we should now have a calculation for our partners, so that they can form their own prices,'' explained Zgomba.

At the same time, from conversations with major travel organisers, it is learned that the demand for the Croatian 2022 tourist season will be high. Transport is a particularly important and very questionable thing for tourism in the coming period, either in terms of public transport or vehicle rental. At the moment, it's uncertain how the offer and prices of airlines, from scheduled flights to charters, as well as buses and transfer organisers, will move in the weeks and months ahead of us.

Kresimir Dobrilovic, the founder and director of Carwiz, revealed that due to the supply crisis across the entire European market, prices are now not being negotiated at all. Winter will pass in relative peace due to reduced demand, but spring is already very close.

"Vehicle importers don't have concrete information for next year, and those who will have cars are already announcing higher prices, which entails higher prices for all other vehicle purchase costs. News like this about the closure of the Skoda plant in the Czech Republic worries us even more. The prices of car rental services have skyrocketed and this is not good for a market where there's now demand. Many car rental companies are turning to the alternative of using more used cars in the fleet, but this won't help us much because there aren't enough of these vehicles either. The same is true throughout Europe,'' Dobrilovic said.

"Now we have a situation where prices change three to four times in one day. That's why it's very difficult to say what the rental prices will be in 2022, but we can expect them to be much different than they were before the pandemic,'' said the owner of Carwiz.

For more on the Croatian 2022 tourist season, check out our dedicated travel section.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Gourmet Croatia: 35% Off Popcorn the Only Offer in Kingdom of Accidental Tourism

October 31, 2021 - We are 3 weeks into Croatian Tourism Month, a shiny promotion to extend the season in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. Anyone hungry? We have 35% off popcorn at the cinema in Central Dalmatia, Slavonia, Zadar County. And nothing else.

There was a typically upbeat press release from the Croatian National Tourist Board on September 30, announcing something called Croatian Tourism Month. This is how it began:

The “Croatian Tourism Month” campaign starts tomorrow, a project of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian National Tourist Board, within which numerous tourist services and experiences will be available at 35 percent more favorable prices. Thus, all Croatian citizens, as well as foreign guests who will be staying in Croatia during October, will be able to tourist services in all parts of Croatia at attractive prices, and everything will be available on the “Croatian Tourism Month” portal.

And this is how it ended:

The project "Croatian Tourism Month" is a continuation of last year's extremely successful project “Vacation-Worthy Week” which was implemented in the period from October 16th to 25th, and which this year, due to the great interest of tourism entities and the public, will run throughout October. Let us add that the main goal of the project is to extend the tourist season by encouraging domestic and foreign tourist traffic in the post-season.

It sounded like a great idea, especially if it was building on the apparent success of last year.

It is a great idea.

But ideas and execution are two very different things, especially in this kingdom. As we explored in 'Croatian Tourism Month' Campaign: Hype and the Sad Reality' recently, it was something of a surprise that the press release claiming to be targeting foreign tourists, as well as domestic, was only in the Croatian language. But that was only the start of the story - a quite extraordinary journey ensued.

Croatian Tourism Month hosted the excellent Taste the Mediterranean festival in Split from October 6-9, just one of many gourmet events going on in the Dalmatian capital. I was curious what culinary beauties might be on offer in Central Dalmatia by way of comparison in this official promotion to extend the season. 


The answer? In the whole of Central Dalmatia, a region famed for its outstanding authentic cuisine, the only thing on offer in Central Dalmatia was popcorn at Cinestar in Split. With a 35% discount. 


Zadar County had the same story, just the popcorn option in the city of Zadar. 


Mighty Slavonia (at least that is what the regions of eastern Croatia are referred to on the official website) fared somewhat better, with no less than 3 popcorn options. 

Is is a decade since Anthony Bourdain told the world about Croatia's world-class food, world-class wine, and world-class cheese. It is just a few weeks since Gordon Ramsay's enthusiasm for Croatia cuisine was seen by millions around the globe. 

And yet, what do we have to offer - konkeretno - for those tourists who love the idea of October travel and a Croatian gourmet exprience?

Here is a translation of the entire offer for Central Dalmatia:

CineStar Split

In the period from 14 to 30 October 2021, as part of the Croatian Tourism Month campaign, Blitz-CineStar will offer all visitors a discount on salty popcorn TO GO, 35% discount, in all branches throughout Croatia in the food and beverage segment.

The regular price of KOKICA TO GO is 32,00kn, the price with a 35% discount is 20,50kn.

The discount will be valid for the entire duration of the promotion and will be valid for all dates and cinema days.

A reminder again of the last paragraph of the official press release - due to the great interest of tourism entities.

There are a total of 27 entries in the food and drink offer on the Croatian-language only Croatian Tourism Month website for the whole of Croatia, a country famed for its gastronomy. Of these, 11 are CineStar offering popcorn discounts, leaving just 16 establishments offering food or drink. This in the second year of an initiative, which has been expanded due to last year's success, according to the official press release.

If this is success, how do we define failure?

Did you know that before the Kings of Accidental Tourism took over the running of tourism in Croatia, that winter tourism was a big thing? Fascinating interview with a UK tour rep who was based in former Yugoslavia from 1986 - 1991. Croatian Winter Tourism in 1990: Full of Life! Tour Rep Interview


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