Monday, 17 January 2022

Croatia Expects 200,000 Russian Tourists this Year

ZAGREB, 17 Jan 2022 - Croatia expects a record number of Russian tourists this year, and last year saw a record volume of commodity trade in the past few years, it was said on Monday at the start of an official visit to Russia by Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman. 

Grlić Radman is on a reciprocal visit to Moscow where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov after Lavrov visited Zagreb in December 2020.

In the morning, Grlić Radman met with representatives of Croatian companies which are members of the Croatian-Russian Business Club.

"The fact that the visit has begun with this segment clearly shows what Croatian-Russian relations mean for the economy," Croatia's Ambassador to Russia, Tomislav Car, said at the meeting attended by representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Croatian Tourist Board, and about a dozen Croatian and Russian companies.

Grlić Radman said that Croatia's exports to Russia had increased by 16.2% in 2020 compared with 2019, amounting to US$201.7 million. Additional growth of about 25% is expected for 2021.

"Our data and statistics regarding the first ten months of 2021 indicate that that will be a year with the greatest commodity trade in the past few years," said Grlić Radman, announcing a Croatian economic forum in several Russian cities this year.

Croatia has a trade deficit with Russia, "which is inevitable with a country rich in energy resources like Russia, not just for us but for almost all the countries in the world," said Grlić Radman.

He expressed his satisfaction that 145,000 Russian tourists had visited Croatia last year and generated 800,000 bed nights.

The director of the Croatian Tourist Board Office in Russia, Rajko Ružička, said that this was because Croatia had opened up to Russian tourists and started issuing visas as early as April "which is something none of the competitors in the European Union did." The key also lies in the fact that Croatia was one of the first to recognize Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, he added.

"This year we expect further growth and I hope that it will be a record year with about 200,000 Russian visitors," said Ružička.

Later in the day, Grlić Radman is scheduled to meet with Lavrov and the Metropolitan Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Hilarion. After that, he is due to attend an informal meeting of the Russian-Croatian Friendship Association.

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

Monday, 26 April 2021

First 2021 Russian Tourists in Croatia Arrive at Pula Airport

April the 26th, 2021 - The very first 2021 Russian tourists to arrive in Croatia landed successfully at Pula Airport in beautiful Istria on Sunday, providing hope for the upcoming season, over the head of which very many question marks still remain.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, on Sunday afternoon, a Russian airline "S7 Airlines" passenger aircraft landed at Pula Airport, which had resumed traffic on the line Moscow Domodedovo - Pula - Moscow Domodedovo line.

On that flight to Pula Airport, the very first 2021 Russian tourists to arrive in Croatia - all 159 of them - landed in the country.

"This is our first international flight this year, we started with a Russian airline, we received 159 passengers and given the capacity of the aircraft - the occupancy was exceptional," said the director of Pula Airport, Nina Vojnic Zagar, adding that only fifteen passengers had travelled in the other direction, from Pula to Moscow.

Flights on this line will take place every Sunday until the end of May and will continue depending on the epidemiological situation in both Russia and in Croatia.

"Our expectations from this year are high, but at the moment the situation is such that we don't know if they will continue to be so high after June the 1st," warned Vojnic Zagar. She noted that it is too early to talk about what the tourist season will be like at this moment in time as the coronavirus pandemic rages on globally.

"Honestly, we expect a better season than the one we had last year, but we aren't going to be particularly surprised if this doesn't happen due to the epidemiological situation," added the director of Pula Airport.

She reported that last year, Pula Airport achieved ten percent of traffic compared to the record year of 2019, which is equal to 83 thousand passengers, she also added that she still believes they'll achieve a much better result this year, with expectations of about 300 thousand passengers for 2021.

For more, follow our travel section.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Russia and Croatia to Connect - Russian Companies Introduce New Lines

Despite the fact that Croatia's neighbour to the south, Montenegro, allows Russian citizens visa-free access to holiday in their country, the need for Russian citizens to obtain a visa to enter Croatia hasn't watered down their desire to visit the country, and some brand new connections between Russia and Croatia are set to fly in 2020.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 5th of March, 2020, Russia and Croatia will be connected by Aeroflot airlines and TUI Russia, which are introducing a new charter flight to Croatia for the very first time this year.

Russian airline Utair will also introduce a new flight schedule as of June 2020 that will connect Moscow and the Dalmatian city of Split. The first flight is scheduled for June the 2nd, 2020, from Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, and it will operate twice per week - on Tuesdays and Wednesdays - until the end of September, with 168 seats on offer on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

"This is an excellent opportunity for Dalmatia, as well as for the entire Croatian tourism sector to further position themselves on the important Russian market," said Kristjan Stanicic, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ).

It's worth mentioning that this is the third airline to connect these locations between Russia and Croatia, As mentioned, in addition to the regular Utair flight, Moscow and Split will be connected by the airlines Aeroflot and TUI Russia during 2020.

In addition to the above, this year, Moscow will boast connections with the Croatian capital of Zagreb and the popular Istrian city of Pula, and St. Petersburg will also be connected with the City of Zagreb.

For more on flights to Croatia and connections between Russia and Croatia, follow our dedicated travel page.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Days of Croatian Tourism Ignites Russian Interest for Luxury Villas

It is no secret that Russian tourists love visiting Croatia, and the current Days of Croatian Tourism being held in Moscow has done nothing but confirm the enormous amount of interest on the Russian market for what Croatia has to boast of in its rich tourist offer.

As Glas Istre/Silva Bodlaj Ivasic writes on the 1st of February, 2020, the Croatian National Tourist Board's (HTZ) representative office in the popular Russian city of Moscow organised the Days of Croatian Tourism event, at which representatives of numerous Croatian tourism companies, including Uniline from Pula, had the opportunity to connect with potential partners from Russia and bring Croatia closer to them as a top destination.

Days of Croatian Tourism, organised by the Croatian National Tourist Board, took place in Moscow on Thursday. Representatives of the Croatian tourism sector had the opportunity to learn more about the specifics of the Russian market and to better connect with potential partners from Russia. The Croatian delegation in Moscow was led by Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, Assistant Minister Tonci Glavina and the director of the Croatian Tourist, Board Kristijan Stanicic, hosted by the director of the HTZ Representative Office in Russia - Rajko Ruzicka.

Representatives of Uniline, a leading destination management company in Croatia and the region were some of Croatia's representatives, including Dario Guljelmovic, sales and production manager at Uniline, and key account manager Marko Borscak.

"The Russian market is huge and we really recognise its great potential. At one place, we were able to meet a number of potential associates. On the Russian side, more than 100 entities from the tourism sector visited Days of Croatian Tourism. The event was also visited by the Russian Minister of Tourism, various officials, interested parties from the F&B sector and many others,'' stated Dario Guljelmovic.

The Russian market is specific in that it doesn't actually include the middle class, unlike on more western markets. When it comes to Russia, they're either extremely high paying guests, or the total opposite.

From a Russian perspective, Croatia is an extremely interesting destination, especially among clients seeking top-notch service and with a desire to stay in five or four star hotels. The biggest obstacle to strengthening cooperation with Russian partners is the current visa regime. With the entry of Croatia into the European Union, guests from Russia required a visa to enter the country. As a positive example of addressing this obstacle, Guljelmovic points to 2018's FIFA World Cup held in Russia, when it was relatively easy for fans with tickets to obtain the necessary visas to enter.

Guests from Russia are excellent consumers with typically very high paying power. In addition to classic tourism, there is great potential in health tourism, and they are interested in Croatian spas. Guljelmovic points out that there is great interest in staying in villas in the interior of the region of Istria. Recently, this type of tourism has become somewhat of a trend, and in Russia, it's especially emphasised. Russian guests appear most interested in top quality accommodation, they want villas in amazing locations, with swimming pools and other amenities included.

"At Uniline, we can see great potential on the Russian market and we're working intensively on this. Russians, just like the Croats, prefer to book later and are only now completing brochures for the new season, so this was an ideal time to host a manifestation such as Days of Croatian Tourism,'' concludes Guljelmovic.

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