Thursday, 9 July 2020

First Week of July Sees Rapid Tourism Growth in Dalmatia

July 9, 2020 - In the first six months of 2020, 1.6 million tourists came to Croatia and achieved 7.6 million overnight stays - about 30% of last year's result for the same period. Most guests are in the northern Adriatic, and the least in Croatia's southern parts, or Dalmatia. However, things are starting to change. 

"In Split-Dalmatia County, the beginning of June was not promising, but now June is at around 20%, meaning 485,000 overnight stays. And if we look at the first six months - then we are at 19%, which would mean 785,000 overnight stays. In this situation, we are relatively satisfied with this data," said Josko Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, for Studio 4 HTV. 

Dalmacija Danas reports that a reason for the unpopularity of Dalmatia for tourists this year, compared to, for example, Istria, is distance.

"Going to Dalmatia is a little different than going to Istria on a weekend or similar. The shorter the distance, the easier it is to get there," Stella said, adding that the situation has improved with the opening of more airlines at the Split Airport.

"Specifically, last weekend, we had 10,000 passengers, and the whole of June at the Split airport, there were 28,000 passengers. That tells you how big the jump is now," Stella said.

He added that more than 40 new direct airlines had been announced.

"Most importantly, we will have England, or Luton from London, a daily line, so we expect 200,000 passengers through July, which is not at the level of last year's 700,000 passengers, but it is a really big shift, because we expect even more passengers to come by land or car," Stella said.

That makes a big difference between this year’s first six months and the first five days of July.

"The first five days of July, we had 400,000 overnight stays. Compared to 785,000 overnight stays in the first six months. See what the difference is. That makes the figure for July 40%, so it can be seen that these few days are a significant jump in Dalmatia," said Stella.

There are problems with reservations and cancellations, because, as he says, European countries are urged not to travel, that is, to travel only within the borders of their countries.

"Until this situation is completely resolved, until Europe is united on this issue - there will always be problems with cancellations. But they are arriving and occupancy is rising," Stella said.

From July 17 to 19, he said, a group of 40 journalists and agents from Germany are coming to the Makarska Riviera.

"Also, we as the County Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Tourist Board of Sibenik-Knin, Zadar and the Croatian Tourist Board - are organizing the arrival of journalists by car from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic - precisely so they can see how safe we are, how easy it is to get here, the condition of our tourism and how safe we actually are. That is why we are organizing this study trip for journalists and agents," Stella said, adding:

"All these actions are aimed at as many tourists as possible, but let's not forget: everything I say, this big plus, it can all change in one day. We must all be responsible: both tourists and hosts and citizens - and do everything to minimize the risk, to follow all instructions, to be careful, to keep our distance, masks and everything else that is needed."

Many believe that lower prices would attract more guests, but of course, some do not agree and are keeping higher prices.

"We as a tourist board do not go with these recommendations, because we believe that the market makes its own and it can be seen that the entire Mediterranean is moving in the direction of putting pressure on lower prices - of course, not in every type of accommodation and not in every destination," Stella said.

As an example, he mentioned the Makarska Riviera, where the prices of private accommodation are reduced by 20 to 30%, and everyone is more or less satisfied and capacity is filled with these prices. In contrast, some luxury accommodation is reduced minimally or not at all.

"But in general, yes, there is a reduction in prices throughout the Mediterranean," Stella told HTV.

He also said that all the big hotels that have been closed so far are slowly starting to open.

"Because they see that an increasing number of guests are coming and they see that they could still have more than we expected from this season. Of course, it’s far from those numbers, from the records that were in 2019 and the like," Stella concluded.

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Monday, 20 April 2020

Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board Director: The Real Hit is Yet to Come

April 20, 2020 - Josko Stella, the director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, was a guest of N1 television, where he spoke about how tourism is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and whether prices would be reduced for domestic tourists on the coast this year.

Stella said that they've already been hit hard, but not so much considering it is still the preseason. "That real hit is yet to come," he reckons.

He points out that they expect that a bigger tourist influx could occur in August.

"Of course, there may or may not be a tourist season. Our Government and our Headquarters have made every effort to stop the spread of this virus. I ask everyone to stay home and stay on track and in this situation, our tourism will take precedence over others," said Stella.

"There is really a need to consult epidemiologists who need to define the rules of the game, or how the hoteliers and caterers will have to behave. We have 600 to 700 thousand beds in private accommodation, and almost 200 thousand of those in Split-Dalmatia County, which do not need too much preparation. I think we will be ready the moment things can open. It will be known long before and there will be time to prepare."

Asked about Croatia's advantage as an auto-destination, Stella replied: "It helps us because a lot of countries that are our traditional markets are auto-destinations, although I think airlines will work as well."

"To be clear to all, we now expect between 10 and 25 percent of the tourism we have had in recent years. Surely our tourism is structured primarily for foreign tourists, but it can also be adapted for domestic tourists. From the field, we have a situation that even peak season bookings are coming and there are no cancellations for the peak season. There is no change in prices, though everyone expects it to happen when things open," Stella told N1.

He thinks we must have a part of the season, no matter how small it is because of all the people in the tourism sector.

"It's clear to everyone that we want next season to be a lot better than this one," he points out.

"I think those in private accommodation will adjust the fastest, unlike caterers, hoteliers and others. The sooner we stick to the rules, the sooner this will end," Stella concluded.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Local Politicians Talk Tourism and What Needs to Change in Split-Dalmatia County

The local politicians (county councilors) of Split-Dalmatia County have analyzed the past tourist season and discussed preparations for the season ahead. All in all, they are happy with the number of arrivals and overnight stays, but warn against the negative side of sudden tourist development, reports Dalmacija Danas on March 26, 2019. 

“In Dalmatia, we have a growth in tourism, increasing demand for local food, and people are leaving us from Zagora, Slavonia. Sinj is the center of Dalmatia, connecting it to the highway would be important, and therefore Split-Dalmatia County must insist on traffic verticals. We have to make sure that at our restaurants, ethnic cuisine is not ordered, but local cuisine. Fields have to be irrigated. We no longer have lambs; now we only have them in the elections. We have to encourage livestock farming and be cautious, as my colleague Bačić said. We import frozen lamb from Romania and New Zealand. Let's not fool around with the shepherds. The meadows are empty. Weeds are growing in the Sinj field. We will applaud it when it is resolved. It is good to grow tourism, but we produce very little. To produce only for tourism purposes, Zagora would be full of flocks and cultivated fields. We produce food, encourage shepherds and cattle. At that point, the cry will be heard in the birthplaces in Zagora, not at the bus stations,” said MOST’s Miro Bulj.

Danica Baričević from HDZ said that there are more and more flights in Dalmatia every year. 

“At the fair, the county presented the coast, the islands, and Zagora. They presented Dalmatian flavors, from cheese to prosciutto. We are the only county in the Republic of Croatia that recognizes all the efforts of private renters and co-finances it, especially in Zagora. It is my pleasure to return to the roots in this tourist story. The maritime department and tourism department is planning well, and we are doing projects like Hidden Habits which recognizes our natural heritage in Dugopolje, Split, Mosor and Kaštela. We need sustainable tourism. It is located in the tourist infrastructure, especially Zagora. More and more guests are returning from Western countries. In 2019, our Zagora became a place for pleasant and safe living. The analysis is excellent and the results are to be praised. We want this season to be even more successful.” 

SDP’s Damir Krstinić said that tourism is holding up the state, but there are also negatives.

“It's aggressive towards resources, especially nature. It burdens the infrastructure. Almost all our places along the coast and on the islands have an unresolved issue of fecal water. Tourism changes the structure of society; in particular, it means that somebody may be chasing you off of your "own" beach because you will not rent a lounger. Due to all this, the price of subsistence is very high and the students are begging to leave their apartments by June 1. Short-term rent is promoted which brings much less revenue. Tourism is a good servant, but it can become a bad master. We have to be careful not to lose control over tourism.”

Milija Baldić-Lukšić (MOST) emphasized that Kaštela celebrated 110 years of tourism.

“The first hotel in Kaštela, the Palace, is still fresh. It is photographed by tourists who send photos on their mobile phones. How to improve our county's offer and turn it into the best destination? I want the consumption of tourists in the county to be bigger than it is now. It is imperative that we use our own products, cultural and historical goods more. As for the number of tourist overnights - in Seget, the number is growing, in Solin this number is low. We have the offer, but it should be coupled with the preservation of the environment so that tourists can recognize us by ecology, sea, and gastronomy. It's not good that everything goes by figures, it should also be about quality. The number of apartments is increasing, and the prices are falling.”

Natalija Rajčić from the Pametno party spoke about the issue of waste generated during the season.

“Marketing is good, but there are no words about problems like semi-permeable septic tanks, etc. Let's take more account of what the guests are not content with.”

Mate Rebić (MOST) said that tourism is the strongest branch of the county. 

“I think tourism is the most important in economic terms. While it increases, there is an increasing pressure on space and the problem of sustainable tourism development comes to the fore and it is increasingly in the public's focus. Last year, the Institute of Tourism developed a Study of Capacity. Recall, there are several major constraints on tourism development. There is the problem of waste disposal, drainage, roads, parking places, and overburdening the electrical network. If we want the growth rates of tourism to be bigger, we will need to be serious about it. In parts of the county where there is a higher pressure of tourism, there is a greater degree of irritation on the local population.”

The director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, Joško Stella, said that the capacity study is significant because the county has received this analysis, whereas, for example, Dubrovnik or Barcelona do not have it. 

“It is not a goal to raise capacities so that we have no one to work. This is an analysis of the tourist season, not tourism. As far as measures are the same every year, the result is that the season is constantly extended. Flights are now operating until November. I am not saying that we have to have an entire tourist year, but that the season is sustainable. The beauties must be preserved for the generations to come.”

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Sunday, 28 October 2018

Split-Dalmatia County Director Joško Stella: "We Have Best Postseason in All of Croatia"

The Days of Croatian Tourism event was held this week in Hvar, as well as a session of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. On this occasion, Joško Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, answered several questions about the region, reports Dalmacija Danas on October 28, 2018. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Incredible Increase in Scandinavian Visitors in Dalmatia: 700% More Swedes!

"The trend will continue in the years ahead of us, and people from Western and Northern Europe will be coming to Dalmatia more.”

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Joško Stella on Tourism Capacity Study in Split: We Don't Want to be Dubrovnik, Barcelona...

The study will reveal how many tourists Split can endure, when the city has reached its peak, and how much time is left to take measures.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A Great December: Split-Dalmatia County Records 8% More Arrivals and Overnights than 2016!

The results of tourist traffic in Split-Dalmatia County this December according to data from e-Visitor. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Study Begins on Capacity of Split-Dalmatia County

The study should be completed by the spring of 2018.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Director of Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board Comments on Remarkable Season So Far

We can feel the crowds this year more than ever, and these numbers further confirm the record year Split-Dalmatia County has achieved - and it's only July! 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Joško Stella: Preseason Achieved Record Breaking Results in Split-Dalmatia County

Joško Stella, the director of the Tourist Board of Split-Dalmatia County, announces more record-breaking numbers for the region!

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