Saturday, 13 August 2022

What do Tourists in Zagreb Think of the Croatian Capital This Summer?

August the 13th, 2022 - It isn't just the Croatian coast that is booming this year, with the capital attracting more and more foreign visitors keen to discover the Croatia which lies away from the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Precisely what do tourists in Zagreb think of the bustling city?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the devastating earthquake of March 2020 and the global coronavirus pandemic well and truly left their mark on tourism in Zagreb - some of the city's accommodation facilities haven't yet been restored after the earthquake. But despite this, the metropolis has enjoyed some truly excellent results: by the end of July, 80 percent of arrivals and 85 percent of overnight stays were achieved compared to the record year of 2019 by tourists in Zagreb. The most numerous guests there have been the Germans, Americans, English, Dutch and French, as reported by HRT.

Although the City of Zagreb seems empty during these sizzling summer months because local people have gone to the coast or have headed off abroad to enjoy time off work, the famous Tkalciceva ulica (street) and Gornji grad (Upper town) are still all full. Most of the people there are foreigners.

''We really like Zagreb. We went through the city by tourist bus where we saw the cathedral and the Church of St. Mark," said Alessia from Italy.

"I was in the Museum of Broken Relationships and it was really fun, and tomorrow I'd like to go to the Museum of Illusions. You have a lot of interesting museums," said Brandon from the USA.

The turnover in souvenir shops is incomparably higher this year compared to the previous one. Tourists in Zagreb who come from all over the world are most interested in Croatian products. "Licitar hearts and little statues of monuments like the cathedral and St. Mark's church are doing well in terms of sales,'' said Angela Zafranovic, the manager of a Zagreb souvenir shop.

“We like the relaxed atmosphere and architecture throughout the city. You never know what you'll find around the corner. Just now we discovered some stairs and decided to go through there," said Pawin from Australia.

"The culture, a beautiful landscape, history and wine. We've just come back from tasting Croatian wines, which are excellent", emphasised Eugene from Las Vegas.

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

Friday, 5 August 2022

As Habits Change, What are Tourists in Croatia Now Seeking on Holiday?

August the 5th, 2022 - The global coronavirus pandemic changed the world and most peoples' habits as we once knew and accepted them. With the habits and desires of tourists in Croatia having altered, precisely what are foreign visitors to these shores now looking for when on holiday here?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB/HTZ), Kristjan Stanicic, recently commented on the ongoing tourist season for Novi dan (New day) on N1. Currently, there are more than one million and one hundred thousand tourists spending time in the Republic of Croatia, Stanicic said. 57.7 million overnight stays and 10.8 million arrivals have also now been officially achieved.

"In terms of overnight stays, we've exceeded our previous estimates, the results so far have been excellent and this will probably continue throughout the month of August," he added.

The beautiful Istrian peninsula exceeded its results from the record, pre-pandemic year of 2019 and Zadar County is at almost the same level, he added. All coastal counties, according to Stanicic, have achieved excellent results, and even the continent is following this trend despite it having always been less popular than the coastline and the islands.

"The results are significantly better than they were last year. The German market, which is growing compared to 2019, is recognising the continental part of the country as a tourist destination more and more as well," he said.

He emphasised that Croatia is one of the top destinations in the entire Mediterranean once again this year thanks to the excellent cooperation between the public and private sectors. "Croatia is also a destination many people can drive to, which is a great competitive advantage for us," he pointed out.

As he explained, the habits of tourists in Croatia have changed, and they're now looking for a stay in nature, more mobility, the ease of availability of information, diversity and richness in the overall offer, not to mention high quality accommodation.

"Higher quality accommodation units are the ones which have been occupied for the longest time so far. What is of better quality sells best,'' concluded the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.

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

Friday, 5 August 2022

Porec Tourism Booming as 2 Million Overnight Stays Achieved Early

August the 5th, 2022 - Porec tourism is absolutely booming, with 2 million overnight stays having been achieved earlier than last year. While Istria has always been popular, this charming coastal city on the Istrian peninsula is making a massive name for itself and seeing this gorgeous part of Croatia emerge from the shadow of Dalmatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, this tourist season is seeing the entire country make a huge tourism comeback, recording better and better results. Porec tourism is doing excellently. This Istrian city is one of the country's most visited destinations and it has achieved two million overnight stays an entire month earlier than it did last year. Everyone hopes that the continuation of the summer season will remain as it is now, as reported by HRT.

"Porec tourism achieved a record three and a half million overnight stays back in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, and this year it seems as if the same is absolutely achievable," said Nenad Velenik, the Porec Tourist Board's director. He emphasised that Porec has defined itself as a 4 to 5 star destination, about 80 percent of the accommodation capacities are of this type and they fill up first. He added that earnings from tourism will be better than they were back in 2019, given that the tourist tax has increased.

Two million overnight stays in the City of Porec have been achieved earlier this year than they were last year, when the same figure was only achieved at the end of August, which speaks volumes about just how successful this season has been and continues to be. It should be added that on August the 3rd of the record year 2019, that same number of two million overnight stays was reached.

Currently, 30,000 tourists are staying in Porec, and they are accommodated primarily in hotel accommodation, then in campsites, and then in private accommodation. The most frequent guests are Germans, followed by Austrians, Slovenians, Croats, Italians, and in sixth place are guests from the Czech Republic.

"We've come to 2019's level, the index is at 100. When we look at the fact that we have 700 beds less in our destination due to work on accommodation facilities, then we can really be satisfied with all of this. The result of all this is sport tourism. We combined public and private, tourism and sport and in this way extended the season,'' said the mayor of Porec, Loris Persuric.

"We encourage content in the pre-season and post-season where we still have opportunities for growth and development. This tourist season has shown that we definitely do have that potential. Back during the pre-season, we achieved a 30 percent better result than we did back in 2019," said Nenad Velnik.

With Porec tourism booming, they don't plan to stop there. Investments will continue to be made in the city's infrastructure and cultural heritage. In Porec, they expect a good continuation of this situation throughout the month of August, and the announcements are excellent for the postseason as well.

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

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Croatian Accommodation and Hospitality Sectors Enjoying More Traffic Than 2021

August the 3rd, 2022 - The Croatian accommodation and hospitality segments of the overall tourism sector are enjoying more traffic than they did last year when concerns about coronavirus restrictions and lockdown worries continued to prevail.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes, as usual, the fastest barometer of consumption trends is the Tax Administration's data on the fiscalisation of issued receipts and bills/invoices, and during the height of the summer months, the figures related to the tourist season are always firmly in the foreground.

They, on the other hand, say that tax payers from the tourism and catering/hospitality sector issued bills worth a total of 7.5 billion kuna last month, which is as much as 42.6 percent or 2.24 billion kuna more than back during the same month last year.

Consequences of inflation

Approximately equal turnover was recorded in the Croatian accommodation segment (3.73 billion) and in hospitality and catering (cafes, restaurants, bars and other activities involved in the preparation and serving of food and drink, who reported 3.76 billion kuna), with the fact that the increase (compared to last July) was somewhat more pronounced in catering (+45 percent) than in the Croatian accommodation segment (+40 percent).

As was the case during the first half of the year, such an increase is only partially the result of a higher number of bills and receipts issued, i.e. to a considerable extent it also reflects significantly higher prices.

July 2022, however, greatly exceeded the achievements from the pre-crisis (and record) year of 2019. In the Croatian accommodation and catering and hospitality segments in July 2019, the value of fiscalised bills issued stood at 5 billion kuna (2.4 plus 2.6), which means that this year's result exceeds it by an impressive and far from insignificant 50 percent.

Including the first six months, when companies engaged in the business of providing accommodation services were paid with cards or cash in a total of 4.12 billion kuna (compared to last year's 1.72 and 3.32 billion kuna realised in the first half of pre-pandemic 2019), this tourist year obviously will convincingly break the record with revenues.

Of course, for the industry itself, the story is not complete without the cost side of the story, which is also growing strongly owing to ongoing inflation, but that is a separate topic. It is similar when the cumulative results of cafes, restaurants and other such facilities which are engaged in the preparation and serving of food and drinks are in the middle.

They reported 8.23 ​​billion kuna in turnover in the first half of the year, which was almost 120 percent more than last year and a quarter more than what was recorded back in 2019, when bills in the amount of 6.6 billion kuna were fiscalised and issued by the middle of the year.

Tourist movements have a little influence on the fiscalised turnover of a number of other activities. So, for example, enterprises in the transportation and storage category issued receipts and bills worth a massive 542 million kuna last month alone, which is as much as 62.7 percent more than the amount issued last July and a quarter (or 110 million kuna) more than were issued during the same month of 2019.

Those subject to fiscalisation in arts, entertainment and recreation this July reported 310 million kuna in turnover, which is 44 percent more than last July (215 million kuna) and 14 percent more than pre-pandemic 2019. Tourist consumption, of course, is also very important for the retail trade sector across Croatia. Last month, retailers (excluding motor vehicles) issued fiscalised bills worth 12.6 billion kuna in total.

Compared to the same month last year, this is about 1.72 billion kuna or almost 16 percent more. At the same time, the increase is somewhat more pronounced in the case of supermarkets and hypermarkets (so-called non-specialised shops mainly selling food, drinks and tobacco products) which have largely strengthened their network all the way along the coast.

Last month, they issued fiscalised receipts in the amount of 6.74 billion kuna, which has exceeded last year's achievement by almost a fifth, or by more than 1 billion kuna.

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

Monday, 1 August 2022

Croatian 2022 Tourist Season Pushes Spending and GDP Up

August the 1st, 2022 - The Croatian 2022 tourist season is succeeding in pushing GDP and spending up, but with the German stagnation still ongoing, things on that front continue to remain a valid concern from a very important market for the country.

As Morski writes, thanks to the excellent Croatian 2022 tourist season so far, spending and consumption back in June continued to grow on an annual basis for the seventeenth month in a row: retail sales increased by 3.8 percent, and at the same rate, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (CBS) shows, industrial production also increased, for the second month in a row and more rapidly than back in May.

These latest indicators confirm previous announcements that economic activity in the second quarter of the year could be even higher than it has been during the first and that GDP growth should exceed five percent this year despite the negative consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, this means that consumers aren't aware of the circumstances in which they find themselves, as reported by Jutarnji list. While it continued to grow on an annual basis, retail trade fell by 1 percent compared to the month of May, which also recorded a faster annual growth of 4.3 percent.

While the data on fiscal receipts and invoices for June pointed to a strong growth in retail trade turnover, as noted by RBA analysts, "it was certainly supported by increased tourist spending", and indicators of consumer optimism simultaneously pointed to a slowdown in the annual growth rate, "which recorded deterioration on a monthly and annual basis in June".

Disposable income

The consumption structure itself points to the increased caution of consumers, given that the turnover of food, beverages and tobacco products is growing at a rate of 5.2 percent, on an annual basis, while non-food products (except for the trade in motor fuels and lubricants) fell by 0.3 percent. However, for as long as the Croatian 2022 tourist season continues to last, it is quite likely that encouraging figures will thankfully prevail across the nation.

''We expect a good season and a double-digit growth rate of both physical and financial indicators, which will positively affect consumption. This will certainly contribute to the preservation of disposable income and thus have a positive effect on retail trends,'' concluded the aforementioned RBA analysis. However, the effect of the base period and the strong uncertainty due to geopolitical events, they believe, will certainly slow down the dynamics of positive changes in trade activity. The high perception of inflation, which is strongly influenced by the rise in food and energy prices, also has a direct effect on restraining consumption.

What the Croatian economy can expect largely depends on global trends, especially in Eurozone countries that are its main foreign trade partners, and which it is set to join on the first day of 2023.

The latest data suggests that the Eurozone's economy is more resilient than previously expected. According to Eurostat's initial data, GDP in the second quarter increased by 0.7 percent compared to the previous three months, while economists expected a growth of only 0.2 percent. In addition, despite the shock caused by the war in Ukraine, growth accelerated compared to the first quarter, when it stood at 0.5 percent. Nevertheless, the data indicates that the German economy is very much stagnating, and as stated by the statistical office Destatis, this is primarily due to "weak trade".

While Germany is visibly suffering the consequences of higher energy prices and inflation, the leaders in terms of growth in the Eurozone are now Spain (+1.1), Italy (+1.0), France and other countries that are supported by tourism and higher consumption. Quarterly declines were recorded by Latvia (-1.4 percent), Lithuania (-0.4 percent) and Portugal (-0.2 percent), but year-on-year growth rates were positive for all countries.

Although the Eurozone achieved faster growth than expected, the pressure on the cost of living is still intensifying. The official estimate of inflation for the month of July reached 8.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent back in June.

Across the pond, the USA is in recession...

Analysts pointed out that difficult days are yet to come for the Eurozone, especially for Germany. A technical recession in that country, the Dutch Ing Group analyst Carsten Brzeski pointed out, "looks like a done deal", given the high prices of energy and raw materials that continue to undermine purchasing power and profit margins.

The American economy, on the other hand, is technically already in recession after the announcement that GDP fell for the second quarter in a row, by 0.9 percent. At the same time, in an effort to curb inflation, the US central bank raised key interest rates by a further 0.75 percentage points. However, they said that any further moves will depend on future economic indicators, so a slower pace of monetary policy tightening is now expected.

Production growth is modest, remaining below two percent.

Industrial production back in June grew by 3.8 percent on an annual basis, and by 1.2 percent compared to the previous month. Almost all sectors recorded solid growth, especially the production of capital goods (12 percent) and energy (9.6 percent). Only the production of durable consumer goods fell, 4.7 percent. However, this year, a modest growth rate is expected on average, below two percent, RBA analysts estimate. The main reason for this is the potentially unfavourable influence of geopolitical conflicts, "that is, the dependence of certain important Croatian trade partners on Russia,'' concluded Jutarnji.

For more on the Croatian 2022 tourist season, keep up with our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Croatian Tourism Company Valamar Riviera Publishes 2022 Results So Far

July the 30th, 2022 - The massive Croatian tourism company Valamar Riviera has published the results it has acheived during the first six months of this year, and they're in stark contrast to the situation just one year ago, never mind two.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, in the first half of 2022, the Croatian tourism company Valamar Riviera achieved an impressive 2.1 million overnight stays with business revenues of 677.5 million kuna, which is comparable to the volume of business in the first six months of the pre-crisis, record year of 2019.

The growth of business income in the first half of 2022 is mostly the result of the growth of average prices, which are roughly 8 percent higher when compared to how much they were back in 2019. The best results were recorded in the premium segment, especially in the part of campsites and car destinations.

However, increased costs, primarily of electricity, labour and food products had a significant impact on profitability overall. The operating profit for the first six months stands at 58 million kuna less than in 2019, which is entirely the result of increased electricity costs of 37 million kuna and labour costs of 22 million kuna.

With the aim of increasing the attractiveness of key professions in tourism and providing the best working conditions in the sector, the Croatian tourist company Valamar launched the ''First for a reason/Prvi s razlogom'' campaign this year. For this year, a total of 15 million euros have been set aside for salary increases and various reward programmes. This year, Valamar is once again among the TOP 10 most desirable Croatian employers of all, and is still the best employer in the tourism sector.

The investment cycle in hotels, summer resorts and campsites managed by the Croatian tourism company Valamar for 2022 amounted to a massive 530 million kuna. Dalmacija [PLACESHOTEL] by Valamar in Makarska, the newly built Valamar Amicor Green Resort in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar and Corinthia Baska Sunny hotel by Valamar on the island of Krk were all successfully opened. This season's investments include new facilities at Istra Premium Camping Resort and the Lanterna Premium Camping Resort in Porec, as well as the construction of a beach near the Valamar Padova Hotel on the island of Rab. The new Valamar House for housing seasonal employees down in Dubrovnik was also opened.

The Croatian tourism company Valamar has also expanded its portfolio in nearby Austria with the acquisition of the Kesselspitze 5* Hotel, which has become the third hotel under Valamar's management in Obertauern, Austria. As the first Valamar Collection hotel in Austria, it will open in the winter season of 2022/2023.

Valamar Riviera is otherwise the very first tourism company in Croatia to have integrated sustainable development into its business and development management and published a new sustainability strategy and set of ESG goals until the year 2025. The strategy includes 12 key goals in the field of environment (E), society (S) and management (G) that Valamar plans to achieve through 6 strategic initiatives until the aforementioned year.

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

Friday, 29 July 2022

Arbona Analysis Reveals Croatia as 17th Most Googled Destination

July the 29th, 2022 - The Republic of Croatia is the seventeenth most searched (Googled) destination on the Internet, according to a recent Arbona analysis into the matter.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during these more modern times when trips to the travel agent and watching teletext like a hawk are things of the past, almost every single holiday starts with the use of good old Google, so there is probably no more relevant current source for monitoring trends in global tourism than the data of the search engine that is used today by more than 4.3 billion people in the world for just about, well, everything.

A recently conducted Arbona analysis looked into global and local travel search trends on Google. The data was collected from the Destination Insights with Google platform, and the analysed period of trends was from the 1st of January, 2022, until July the 19th, 2022, in order to discover the trend of tourist interest for Croatia, to look into the most attractive Croatian destinations being researched for holidays, and how Croatia has positioned itself on the list of the most searched destinations across the world.

Some of the key insights the Arbona analysis discovered:

- Global searches for terms related to travel to the Republic of Croatia increased by 48% when compared to last year alone.

- Croats' interest in travel increased by 46%, while interest in travel within the country was 26% higher than it was just one year earlier.

- The most interesting Croatian destinations for foreigners in 2022 are Porec, Rovinj and of course, Dubrovnik.

- The largest number of searches for terms related to accommodation in Croatia came from the European countries of Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom.

- The Republic of Croatia has been positioned as the seventeenth most searched global destination for accommodation searches into international trips in the analysed period. It has as such overtaken major destinations such as Australia, Brazil and Indonesia, while Spain took first place.

- Users living in the Republic of Croatia mostly searched for accommodation elsewhere in Croatia, as well as in neighbouring Italy and Slovenia, while the most interesting cities to that group of users were the cities of Zagreb, Split and Rovinj.

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

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Enjoying a Croatian Summer with No Tourism or Coast: Bliss!

A Croatian summer has always been inextricably linked to tourism, as the hordes head to the Adriatic coast and islands. But what if the coast and tourism were not part of the equation? A very satisfying experiment so far.

My inbox is full of invitations to hotel openings, restaurant openings, festivals. 

I have declined them all. 

My social media is full of heavenly images of beaches, coffees on the water, swimming in the Adriatic, with accompanying captions such as Ko ovo more platit, which roughly translates as 'priceless.' 

I smile at them all, and I wish them well. I have posted thousands of similar posts over the years, many with the hashtag Why aren't you here?

And I am not here - or rather there - this year, completely of my own free will. Lots of great nights and parties that will go unattended. Indeed, were it not for the opening of the Peljesac Bridge this week, I might not see the coast at all this summer.

For I am rather enjoying a different Croatia at the moment - a Croatia that has nothing to do with the coast or tourism in general. The world of the Croatian entrepreneur and startup. 

It is a world that is fascinating, and having made the decision to ignore most of this tourist season, apart from client needs and special interest topics, I am seeing Croatia in an entirely new light. Yes, once again, as I approach my 20-year anniversary in Croatia next month. 

Having written about Croatian tourism for over a decade, I realised that my passion for the subject is waning, and there are plenty of other fabulous things to explore in this beautiful country that have little or nothing to do with tourism. 

Let's face it, when you have a 'strategy' that relies on the sun and the sea each year, with very little innovation, there comes a time when there is very little to report on. One can almost predict the stories, as the cycle is the same year after year (assuming no pandemic) - record numbers, celebrity arrivals, employment crisis due to no staff, restaurant rip-off stories, motorway queues, heatwaves, storms, accommodation horror stories, more record numbers, hotel openings, cruise ships, overtourism, party tourism, inspections harassing peak season business, more record numbers. And suddenly, all is over, the end of another season in this jolly land. Not a word (or very little) about the environmental damage this approach to tourism is causing to the coast, and how unsustainable it all is in the long run. 

What if - just for once - I ignored it all and focused my time and energy on a Croatia which had nothing to do with tourism whatsoever. After 13 years full-time on Hvar, as well as 7 years of reporting on tourism for TCN, it might feel strange not being on the coast with everyone else on the planet, but I have had more than my fair share of priceless coastal moments over the years. How would it feel to miss one entire summer?

In truth, it feels FANTASTIC. 

Zagreb is truly a joy in the summer, particularly if you are busy with projects, as I am. The city is emptying (indeed many bars and restaurants will shut for the first half of August, as everyone heads to the coast. The ratio between tourist and local seems to go 1 to 1, and there is so much space.

Those locals who remain are usually there for a reason, as they may be working on projects too. It almost feels like we are keeping a guilty secret. Everyone is on the coast, but the real fun is happening here.  

I am in the process of moving TCN's strategic direction away from tourism into a much more interesting space - business and entrepreneurship. And there really is not enough time to keep up with the amazing stuff taking place all over this city. 

In the last few days, for example, a sample of the meetings I have had (all of which will be featured on TCN in due course)

  • the reopening of Croatia's oldest coworking space in a fantastic new location, as Impact Hub Reopens in Famous Central Zagreb Film Location. A wonderful networking opportunity.
  • great brainstorming over beer with a consultant who is offering kayak consultancies in an obscure river, starting from central Zagreb. How cool is that?
  • a couple who responded to their teenage daughter's desire to have a $700 pair of sneakers by working with the daughter to develop a fabulous financial literacy app for teenagers. The daughter got so good at financial planning that she is now the proud owner of those sneakers.
  • and speaking of sneakers, a meeting and update with a very exciting Croatian startup, who officially have the most sustainable sneakers in the world, and who are on the verge of a major announcement.
  • lunch with a leading light in the NFT space (already featured by Forbes), taking me on a journey to a place I was a little scared to enter - the Metaverse.
  • lunch with the Indian ambassador, followed by a visit to the Chinese ambassador's residence for an interview about the opening of the Peljesac Bridge. 

And when work is done, an evening stroll through Zagreb's parks before a little liquid refreshment to reflect on another perfect summer's day. 

I see lots of complaints about the hot weather, which has not been a problem for me so far (but suspect it will be with the Peljesac Bridge opening). There is a nice gentle breeze through the window, with the melodic sounds of the piano from the nearby music school providing the perfect backdrop. 

Working with these entrepreneurs has been very stimulating, with not an uhljeb in sight. Croatia's tourism revenues are in the region of 9 billion euro from memory. I wonder how long it will be before this new breed of entrepreneur (if they are allowed to breathe) will be generating that, and more. 

Croatia is a fantastic tourism country, of that there is no doubt, and I heartily encourage you to explore the magic of the coast (and continental Croatia).

But Croatia is also a fantastic country if you take the tourism factor out of if. Arguably even more so. 

You heard it here first...

What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Government Preparing Sustainable Croatian Tourism Strategy

July the 24th, 2022 - The Government is set to come up with a sustainable Croatian tourism strategy which would hopefully see the country escape from the chains of ''sea and sunshine'' which tend to see little more than three months of the limelight each year, and have a far less damaging effect in general.

As Morski writes, due to ongoing global challenges and rising energy prices as a result of continued inflation, the green and digital transition is becoming imperative in the tourism business, Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac pointed out. The number of tourists currently staying here in Croatia recently exceeded one million, and that was a week earlier than it was last year. There are currently 1.012 million guests from around the world visiting the country and the rush down on the coast is quite similar to the best tourist years.

In order for everything to be exactly how it was back during the pre-pandemic, record year of 2019, there are still a little under thirty thousand tourists missing, but an excellent August and a very good September are expected, so by the end of 2022, Croatia could witness a repeat of the best tourist year so far.

Tourism as a lifestyle

One issue which is frequently alluded to is the fact that the country's many foreign guests themselves enjoy things less when confronted with endless waiting and crowds, owing to which they don't really have much of a chance to experience the typical everyday life of the real Croatian lifestyle, that is, the lifestyle that makes each country recognisable and attractive and which, ultimately, largely "sells" its tourism offer. It is more or less clear to everyone working in Croatian tourism that something needs to change, and the current tourism authorities imagine the future quite differently.

According to the vision from the Ministry of Tourism, by the year 2030 there should be a strong shift towards socially, environmentally and economically sustainable year-round tourism, which valorises the natural and cultural heritage and unique identity of each individual region of this hugely naturally diverse country.

The key feature of tomorrow's tourism, which leans much more closely into sustainable Croatian tourism, should be authenticity, which, in addition to the diversity of the country's regions and rich natural and cultural heritage, is also evoked by hospitable, open and warm-hearted people. Such tourism is more than entrepreneurship, the aforementioned ministry pointed out, it is practically a way of life. All of this is outlined in the proposal of the Strategy for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2030.

The priority is to protect and present Croatia's multitude of tourist resources in an even better manner, to gradually put a stop to burdensome seasonality and the excessive overcrowding of spaces, and to preserve the welcoming spirit of local hosts. The focus for the sustainable Croatian tourism strategy is primarily on quality and innovation, and priority should be given to investments that will encourage harmonious economic development and equal progress of all regions. On the basis of the Strategy, the National Plan for the Development of Sustainable Tourism until 2027 is also being prepared, which will elaborate concrete measures, and will be adopted in parallel. The turn towards this new, more substantial, more fair form of tourism will certainly be facilitated by the financial resources available to the Republic of Croatia as a member of the EU, and the current global situation could speed up the transition.

The current summer tourist season is somehow still running with a deficit of about 5,000 workers in the hotel industry and a deficit of as many as 10,000 in the catering and hospitality industry, writes Vecernji list. This new Strategy which is aiming for more sustainable Croatian tourism may well indirectly alleviate this problem in the long term, but the Croatian Tourism Association has warned repeatedly that this problem shouldn't be ignored.

''We expect the Croatian Government to define some concrete measures for the stronger activation of the potential of the domestic labour force, the better retention of seasonal workers and the simplification and acceleration of the process of importing foreign labour as soon as possible,'' said Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), who also noted that the accommodation structure remains one of the the biggest challenges of Croatian tourism.

The number of beds in household/private facilities has now reached 620 thousand, and there are another 610 thousand beds in non-commercial accommodation. There are only 180,000 hotel beds, which represents a drop in the total number of registered beds. HUT says that such a structure in terms of accommodation capacities is primarily a consequence of the current tax system and that thanks to these "excessive" beds, Croatia is suffering enormous pressure on its infrastructure, and on the other hand, it is failing to achieve optimal tourism results.

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

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

2022 Croatian Peak Season: 980,000 Tourists in Croatia, Overnight Stays Almost at 2019 Level

July 20, 2022 - The 2022 Croatian peak season is in full swing, with around 980,000 tourists currently in Croatia!

About 980,000 tourists are currently staying in Croatia - with 97 percent of the overnight stays achieved compared to the record July 2019. These latest data were presented by the director of the Croatian Tourist Board in Šibenik, where a coordination meeting was held with representatives of tourist boards from Šibenik-Knin County, reports HRT.

In addition to HTZ director Kristjan Staničić and 13 representatives of the tourist boards of cities and municipalities from the county, the coordination included Šibenik-Knin prefect Marko Jelić and Rudolf Štefan, a member of the HTZ tourism council, and the owner of Šibenik's Pelegrini, HTZ announced.

During the meeting, they spoke about the tourist offer and attractions in the county, where the representatives of the local tourist boards pointed out that they are delighted with the current season and the announcements for the postseason.

Thus, in Šibenik-Knin County, the most overnight stays were recorded in Vodice, Šibenik, and Rogoznica, while, for example, Betina surpassed the tourist result from the record in 2019.

They also believe that in July, they will reach the results from the record 2019 in Primošten. Knin is recording an increase in accommodation capacities such as family apartments. The same is the case with Skradin, especially in the segment of more luxurious holiday homes with a swimming pool. HTZ added that Tisno is celebrating 100 years of organized tourism next year, which, in cooperation with HTZ, will be used in advertising on broadcasting markets.

Staničić emphasized the importance of cooperation between the local tourist boards.

"In this way, you can achieve greater promotional visibility and recognition that tourists will be able to appreciate," he said.

He reported that around 980,000 tourists are currently staying in Croatia, while last year at this time, there were approximately 900,000.

"We are at 97 percent of overnight stays achieved in July 2019. Everyone's goal is the dispersion of tourists throughout the year and to achieve as much income from tourism as possible," Staničić said, adding that additional promotional activities are planned for the best post-season, especially in the markets of Slovenia, Hungary, and Germany.

Jelić pointed out that the season is significantly better this year than last.

"What is very important to our visitors and us is that they feel safe in the county, and I would especially like to praise the tourist facilities and numerous events in our destinations. I believe that if we continue like this, we could surpass the results from the record-breaking 2019," said Jelić.

HTZ reported that the topic of the meeting was to allocate funds from the United Tourist Boards Fund, the eVisitor system was discussed, and the current progress in the development of the Strategic Marketing and Operational Plan of Croatian Tourism until 2026 was presented, which will be a turning point in implementing future promotional activities in Croatian tourism.

They also discussed recent changes that will take place in Croatia with the introduction of the euro and the country's entry into the Schengen area, which is estimated to have a positive impact on future tourist flows and trends.

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

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