Thursday, 21 April 2022

Croatian Easter Tourism Results Reveal Country is Desired Destination

April the 21st, 2022 - The post-coronavirus tourism optimists appear to have been correct in their predictions for this year, with Croatian Easter tourism having seen such good numbers that we can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief this summer.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, those who predicted good forecasts for Croatian Easter tourism were right, despite the very uncertain geopolitical circumstances that continue to threaten tourism across Europe owing to the war in Ukraine.

According to eVisitor, from Friday, April the 15th, to Monday, there were about 135,000 arrivals and about 493,000 overnight stays realised, of which foreign tourists realised more than 412,000 overnight stays. Last year, a third of that traffic was generated for Easter, due to the difficult epidemiological situation with the coronavirus pandemic, which is why the pre-season was almost nothing to speak of last year, but it's also worth mentioning that Easter itself came two weeks earlier than it did this year.

In the last pre-pandemic year of 2019, Easter came a week later, closer to Labour Day, which always means better traffic. As such, in the same period back in 2019, on the eve of Easter, there were 5 percent more overnight stays realised in Croatia than this year with Easter traffic. Still, this is a result that heralds a good rest of the year, the sector believes. Equal optimism reigns in the rest of the Mediterranean and in neighbouring Slovenia.

"In addition the excellent results achieved during the extended Easter weekend, we're also pleased to note that about 145,000 tourists stayed in this country on Saturday. It's also the day with the largest number of tourists recorded on a daily basis this year, and we expect positive trends in the continuation of the pre-season, ie during May and June,'' said the director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic.

The Germans were the most numerous over the Croatian Easter tourism period

Traditionally, the best traffic realised during Easter was always up in Istria (about 188,000 overnight stays), Kvarner (more than 90,000 overnight stays), Split-Dalmatia (more than 55,000 overnight stays) and then Dubrovnik-Neretva County (more than 43,000 overnight stays). When looking solely at overnight stays, most were realised in Porec, Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, Umag and Zadar.

At the same time, the largest number of overnight stays realised over the Croatian Easter tourism period was realised by guests from Germany, followed by those from the Croatian market and guests from Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Slovakia. Also common for the pre-season, most overnight stays were realised in hotels (more than 210,000 overnight stays), followed by household/private/family facilities (more than 112,000 overnight stays) and campsites (more than 99,000 overnight stays).

"We've exceeded the number of 3.6 million overnight stays since the beginning of the year, which is 120 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year, but also 95 percent of overnight stays in the same period back in 2019. These results confirm the strengthening of the recognisability of Croatia as a year-round destination of added value, which is our strategic commitment.

Tourists perceive Croatia as a destination in which to have a pleasant and quality holiday, so we focused our activities on maintaining that status, but also on developing Croatia as a sustainably responsible destination,'' said the Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Brnjac.

Veljko Ostojic, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association, says that comparisons of traffic with last year's Croatian Easter tourism numbers aren't so important now, as these results are an indicator of that good trend that we wished for, but with great caution.

''We entered this year with great caution due to the war in Ukraine, but these results show that Croatia is an attractive destination and that people really want to travel. Therefore, we have no reason to be dissatisfied, even though we're facing a challenging May, and we've been equipping tourist companies to open the season at the end of May,'' said Veljko Ostojic.

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

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

2022 Croatian Easter Tourism Figures Beyond Expectations

April 19, 2022 - The 2022 Croatian Easter tourism figures are impressive, with most tourists visiting from Germany, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria and many domestic tourists, too. 

The director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Staničić, said that we could be more than satisfied with the 2022 Croatian Easter tourism results, reports Dnevnik HRT.

"We recorded even more than 140,000 overnight stays on Saturday, which is the largest number so far in this part of the tourist year. Most guests were from Germany, Slovenia, Italy, and Austria and domestic guests. We must be satisfied because we have exceeded last year's Easter figures many times over," he said.

He reminded us that we had not had a pre-season for the last two years due to the pandemic, while this year is different.

"We have a trend that we have been following since the beginning of the year. We are above 90 percent of realizing tourist traffic, our goal this year. We are now at 96 percent. Today, there are over 120,000 tourists in Croatia, and I hope that we will have a good May and June and enter the main tourist season on a good basis," said the Croatian National Tourist Board director.

Many European countries have a strong campaign to promote holidays in their own country due to inflation and fuel prices.

"In the last two years, we have shown that we know how to resist all challenges. I believe that the tourism sector will know how to respond to price competition. It is important to stick to quality and provide something more for a certain price, and I believe that even then, results will follow," he said.

When asked if we could relax and believe in a good season, Staničić said there was no time for relaxation.

"This is the first passing time, and so far, we can be satisfied, but the main work is yet to come. We will intensify promotional activity, marketing campaigns, and tourism markets. Minister Brnjac and I are convinced that we have an excellent position in the Czech market, which also applies to Austria and Germany. We will take it a step further and present Croatian tourism in the USA. We have over 460 announced airlines, which is the level of 2019, but there is no relaxation; there is a lot of work ahead of us," he concluded.

For more on Vir tourism, check out our travel section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Most Numerous Croatian Easter Guests From Nearby Countries

March the 27th, 2022 - The most numerous Croatian Easter guests so far are coming from nearby and neighbouring countries, and this figure also includes Croatian residents visiting other parts of the country themselves.

We recently wrote about the Croatian 2022 pre-season not turning out (at least so far) quite how predictions and expectations seemed not so long ago. With private accommodation owners worrying about the state of affairs on the run up to summer, luxury travel agencies have a slightly different picture.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the number of reservations made by Croatian guests is systematically growing from year to year, meaning that for the upcoming Easter break, Croats and residents of Croatia, along with Germans and Slovenes, will make up the largest number of guests, as was reported by one travel agency for luxury accommodation - Croatia Luxury Rent.

According to their current sales statistics, Germans lead the percentage of total bookings with a share of 23%, followed by the neighbouring Slovenes with 19%, Czechs with 13%, then Austrians with 12%, and Croats with 11% of the share. However, the Czech market is experiencing the biggest growth compared to the otherwise key emitting markets, meaning that the Czechs will be at the very top in terms of Croatian Easter tourism numbers for 2022.

The largest number of guests who have booked their accommodation on the Adriatic and partly in the interior/continental part of the country during the Easter holidays are coming from the emitting markets of Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Austria.

In addition to these markets, the total share is completed by the Italians, Hungarians, Slovaks and Serbs, while a significantly smaller percentage will be made up by visitors from France, Switzerland and neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the top of the list of the most numerous guests during last year's Easter holidays were Croatian guests, which was to be expected due to the events caused by the coronavirus pandemic at the time. This year's sale of Easter holiday arrangements has produced, as they say, an interesting situation according to which Central Dalmatia is systematically growing, much like it did last year, in terms of the number of reservations made, meaning that it is closer to Istria and Kvarner, which were otherwise very well known for Croatian Easter tourism.

This form of growth trend began to gain momentum during last year's post-season, but continued with a surprising jump during the Christmas and New Year holidays: Central Dalmatia at one point was on par with the number of reservations made up in Istria. Further development confirmed the unquestionability of Istria's popularity, which took the expected lead during the last ten days before the holidays, in other words, things returned to their earlier standards.

Looking at the current regional division of the number of reservations, Istria is rather unsurprisingly at the top with 41% share, followed by Dalmatia and the islands with 30%, Kvarner with 19%, and the mainland and the far south, which accounts for the remaining 10%. It's worth noting that the type of technology that encourages and improves tourism has significantly raised the level of service quality, meaning that renters are more or less forced to continuously invest in their accommodation, follow current trends and expand aspects of their offer that will allow them to stand out more and be recognised.

For more on Croatian Easter tourism, check out our travel section.

Monday, 21 March 2022

Croatian Tourism Companies Learning From Mistakes as Easter Approaches

March the 21st, 2022 - Have Croatian tourism companies finally begun to engage in a little self-reflection and started learning from their past mistakes following the last two unprecedented years dominated by a global pandemic and now a war in Europe? It seems so, and just in time for Easter.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Barbara Ban writes, the currently great uncertainty all over Europe over the war raging in Ukraine has slowed bookings down, but that doesn’t mean the summer season this year will be bad. Moreover, the latest global analyses presented this week at the Berlin Tourism Fair ITB show that the demand for holidays and travel is higher than last year and of course higher than it was back during 2020, and that tourist traffic across Europe this year will be at 90 percent of what was recorded back in pre-pandemic 2019.

The Germans, the British, the Americans and the Dutch will more than likely travel the most. Croatian tourism companies and some of the largest hoteliers in the country are sticking to this idea, noting that due to the situation currently playing out in Eastern Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, booking has been slowed down, but there have been no cancellations. They have already started hiring staff earlier so that they don't have the same dire situation with the workforce as they did last year, and now there are struggles for every worker. They raised salaries by 15 percent, and for some deficient occupations, by up to 50 percent.

No cancellations

Marina Cvitic from the Trade Union of Istria, Kvarner and Dalmatia, says that they are preparing for the upcoming tourist season as if it would be a normal one, especially in the more northern part of the Adriatic, since it is a destination many people drive to.

''Regarding the war in Ukraine, for now, no one is too worried when it comes to booking. It's true when they say that booking has slowed down for now, however, there are no cancellations and that's good. It's obvious that last minute bookings will be even more pronounced this year. That's why employment started going very well in March because everyone is preparing for Easter, which is just around the corner now.

Employers in Croatian tourism companies don't want the same situation that happened last year to happen again, when chaos ensued due to high levels of caution when hiring in the peak season. Just by looking at the media and the Croatian tourism companies in the network, it's clear that there are issues being experienced by companies in the labour market. Every fifteen days or so, companies advertise and repeat the conditions under which workers will be employed. From this it can be concluded that they haven't yet secured a sufficient number of employees for the peak tourist season. Although the agreed wage increases for this year are more significant than in the years before the pandemic when the maximum increase was 2 - 4 percent, and during the pandemic wages stagnated, due to the impact of inflation reaching a record 6.3 percent, wages will not significantly affect the standard of the workers. Despite the fact that in most companies, the price of labour has been agreed upon and despite the fact that costs are rising for companies too, I'm afraid that employers will have to tighten their belts further during the season if they want to work it all and settle for less profit than what they're used to,'' Cvitic pointed out.

Old mistakes

She added employers in Croatian tourism companies and the overall hospitality industry could pay a high price for repeating tired old mistakes. She explained that, except for the last two pandemic-dominated years, all Croatian tourism companies have achieved very good results, had a profits reaching the millions and that the owners "pulled out" that money through dividends and that investments were made in raising the quality of facilities and new acquisitions.

''There was money for everything, but not for the workers. Not to mention that there was no higher employment for an indefinite period of time at all. On the contrary, the number of full-time employees only decreased as older workers retired by natural outflow. Not to mention that incentive severance pay has stimulated older but still able-bodied workers to leave companies. In such conditions, our experienced tourism workers, and even full-time workers, who are highly valued, left Croatia and unfortunately, although we warned of it, nobody was worried about that,'' Cvitic added.

She explained that now the situation is completely different and that after two years of the pandemic, Croatian tourism companies have drastically lower profits, the results are much weaker than they were before the pandemic, and salary increases and other material rights being offered to employees as a lure are much higher.

''So, now that there isn't much money, much more is being allocated for workers than was allocated when there was room to do so. On the other hand, employees are now aware of their roles and often set conditions they never thought of before, such as their desire for two days off a week, one-shift work, and, of course, unions now see the opportunity and are trying to direct wage policy, as well,'' Cvitic stated.

Salary increases

She noted that this year's salary increase is up to 15 percent, and for some deficient occupations, that increase rises up to as much as 50 percent, and that the maximum non-taxable amounts are planned for the amount of 5,000 kuna. There is also free food, a tax-free Christmas bonus of 3,000 kuna and a gift of 600 kuna.

If employers had treated their workers like that ten years ago, if they'd hired workers for an indefinite period of time as they do now, if they'd hired permanent seasonal workers as they do now, if they'd rewarded seasonal workers even after the season was over as they are doing now, we wouldn't be experiencing any of the issues we now are. With all the increases in wages and income, they would have a Croatian workforce that is of better quality, but also cheaper, and there would be no need to try to import foreign workers,'' Cvitic believes.

She believes that the situation we experienced during the last summer season will not be repeated, when due to the lack of workers, some Croatian tourism companies, hotels and restaurants didn't even bother to open their doors.

For more, check out our business section.

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Normal Croatian Easter Tourism This Year? Good Pre-Season Expected

January the 29th, 2022 - Could Croatian Easter tourism this year look anything like the ''old normal'' from back in pre-pandemic times this year? It seems so as optimism for the pre-season is high.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, this may not be being indicated by the current booking rates, which have slowed down and in some unfortunate cases stopped due to the current epidemiological situation, but the pre-season in Croatia will certainly still function according to the last minute model, without significant organised traffic to speak of.

"This year, we're entering the pre-season under significantly different circumstances than we did over the past two years, which gives us a sense of optimism. If the pandemic starts to subside in the spring, with the vaccination rate being higher than last year, then we have plenty of time to prepare for Croatian Easter tourism, as Easter will fall relatively late this year, and that’s a good circumstance.

Easter is closer this year to May the 1st, and we'll have, if we're lucky, the theme of filling up in terms of tourist numbers for the rest of May, as was the case back during normal years. Moreover, it could positively surprise us because our partners are confirming that people's desire to travel is very strong, and customers are now just waiting for the administration procedures to loosen up,'' said Boris Zgomba, president of the Association of Travel Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

In this sense, the new rules of the Council of Europe have already been well received in the sector, according to which the individual status of passengers will be looked at instead of just going by larger epidemiological maps. It is also to be expected that the chances of the country ending up in a very bad situation pandemic-wise will fall further and further as we head towards spring.

The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) expects further growth in interest in travel and even a better pre-season than last year, and this includes Croatian Easter tourism numbers. "This is being indicated by the current course of tourist traffic. In Croatia, more than 502 thousand overnight stays have been realised so far this year, which represents 98 percent of the results from the same period back in 2019.

The highest number of overnight stays was recorded by local guests, followed by those from Germany, Slovenia and Austria. At the level of the whole of 2022, we expect the realisation of about 90 percent of the results from the record year of 2019, and the results achieved in the pre- and post-season periods will play a big role in that,'' believes Kristjan Stanicic.

When it comes to promotional activities for the pre-season, in the German market on the most important and largest travel and booking platforms such as Weg, Expedia, Reise reporter and Urlaubspiraten, a campaign will be conducted during the month of February to target those who tend to book holidays much earlier.

"There is great interest in the German market for early travel reservations. Promotional activities will be carried out in other markets that will be assessed to likely have the best response to those promotional activities, and additional optimism is being provided by information and announcements from certain European markets, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark, which will introduce much more lenient epidemiological protocols as of February which will go hand in hand with the revitalisation of the travel industry,'' added Stanicic.

More lively air traffic

From the beginning of April, a higher intensity of air traffic is expected, as well as a reduction of restrictions, ie the simplification of measures related to international travel. The Croatian National Tourist Board expects that Croatia will record a larger number of flights in the rest of the year than it did in 2021.

"The interest of airlines in programmes to Croatian destinations is at a high level, which is, among other things, certainly due to the fact that Croatia has been at the top of the Mediterranean for two years in a row in terms of the interest of tourists and tourist traffic," concluded Stanicic.

For more, check out our travel section.

Monday, 22 March 2021

No Easter Tourism in Croatia Thanks to Third Wave

March 22, 2021 - It's increasingly likely that there will be no Easter tourism in Croatia this year as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across Europe.

Although no one seriously counted on tourist traffic for Easter, which falls relatively early this year, the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across Europe has sunk the last hopes for the arrival of foreign tourists in Croatia, reports Poslovni.hr.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Croatian tourism will obviously rely almost exclusively on domestic guests in this pre-season. Still, the current epidemiological situation does not promise much here either.

Although it was announced earlier, there will be no 'Vacation-Worthy Week' campaign this spring, as it has been postponed to the fall. The Cro-card did not pick up as planned, either. 

Part of the hotels, or a total of about 1,100 in Croatia, will try to open their doors. 

One of the larger hotel houses selling Easter packages is Aminess hotels and camps, which announced the opening of facilities in Novigrad and on the island of Krk.

The Aminess Maestral Hotel in Novigrad will be the first to open its doors this Friday, March 26, while the nearby Aminess Sirena camp will open on April 1. The first guests will be welcomed on April 1 at Aminess Atea Camping Resort and Aminess Gaia Green Villas in Njivice on Krk.

“Aminess hotels and camps will present a unique gourmet offer this Easter holiday, which will be further enriched with the award-winning Aminess olive oil Vergal for all lovers of Istrian delicacies. We look forward to the first guests at our tourist destinations this year.

The year behind us was challenging, but we are optimistic about the future," says Mladen Knežević, Sales and Marketing Director of Aminess, whose facilities have been awarded the Safe Stay in Croatia label.

An Easter opening was also announced by Poreč's Plava laguna, which will try to fill its facilities with domestic guests by joining the Croatian tourist card (Cro Card) project.

From now on, all holders of the Cro Card will receive a 10 percent discount at Plava Laguna facilities and the mobile homes in the Istracamping campsites.

"We are glad that we got involved in this project to encourage our local guests to spend their holidays in Croatia.

Plava Laguna has facilities in Poreč, Umag, and Rijeka, so we invite all those interested to use their tourist cards for their weekend vacations or their summer vacation in our facilities. Guests can choose accommodation in one of our four resorts, 25 hotels or 13 suites.

The Cro Card is a great project that encourages domestic tourism, which is extremely important to us in this pandemic time, especially because other European countries will want to keep domestic guests in their countries," said Plava Laguna.

However, for now, they still have nothing to look forward to when it comes to realizing the Cro Card because this project is still in its infancy, largely due to the pandemic.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, from July 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021, a total of 15,507 transactions were realized. Only 2728 tourist cards were issued by the Croatian Postal Bank (HPB) in the mentioned period.

As it is known, the Croatian tourist card is a project of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to increase the consumption of Croatian citizens in catering and tourist facilities throughout Croatia.

Employers can pay up to HRK 2,500 of non-taxable income per year to their employees, and the tourist cardholder can cover their costs for using services and products within the tourist offer during the year. They can top up the card with their own money and use discounts.

The 'Vacation-Worthy Week' campaign, implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in cooperation with the Croatian National Tourist Board, will be delayed to the post-season, guided by the idea that the most important thing now is to contribute to a favorable epidemiological situation through responsible behavior to achieve the best possible results in the peak part of the tourist year, said the Ministry.

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