Stability Needed Following Surprisingly Decent 2020 Tourist Season

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 14th of September, 2020, following the coronavirus-dominated 2020 tourist season, which ended better than expected for all but travel agencies, along with measures to preserve jobs and liquidity, it will be crucial to enable the implementation of the Tourist Land Act, and complete investments stopped or slowed by the pandemic. Representatives of all segments of tourism agreed with that, and they were gathered by the Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac, at a joint press conference on Friday.

By the end of August in Croatia, when taking into account all accommodation facilities plus nautical tourism, 6.8 million arrivals and 47.6 million overnight stays were realised, ie 41 percent of the arrivals and 53 percent of the overnight stays realised in the same period in 2019. Of that, foreign tourists realised 5.5 million arrivals and 38.3 million overnight stays, while domestic tourists realised 1.3 million arrivals and 9.2 million overnight stays.

The results of the enfeebled 2020 tourist season exceeded the initial predictions of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), which believed that Croatia would manage to generate only 30 percent of last year’s tourism turnover during this highly unusual 2020 tourist season.

“Before us lies the realisation of the rest of the tourist year and preparations for next year, drafting a new strategic document for tourism development and a series of activities aimed at maintaining the stability of the tourism system, strengthening its resilience and speeding up the recovery process, European Union funds also have a role to play,” stated Brnjac.

In terms of the percentage of overnight stays realised when compared to last year, the best traffic this summer was recorded in the nautical sector (70 percent), family accommodation (66 percent), but this wasn’t the case along the entire coast, camps (57 percent) and finally hotels (44 percent). Weekenders made up only 3 percent less traffic than last year, and in some destinations like Vir they made up the vast majority of guests. This summer, hoteliers were under the pressure of cutting prices, which is why their income was 5 to 15 percent lower than the physical indicators, according to a survey by the Croatian Tourism Association presented by the association’s director Veljko Ostojic.

“Camps had better demand, they realised 57 percent of last year’s overnight stays. In addition, 4 and 5 star hotels were better filled by about 10 percent, and 5 star campsites had the best occupancy. This is a good indicator for the future development of tourism,” said Ostojic of the 2020 tourist season. For next season, he considers it important to adopt a national safety label, which will be just as important as now.

Sean Lisjak, president of the Nautical Sector Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, revealed that marinas accounted for 85 percent of last year’s turnover this year, but will lose 150 million euros in September and October due to border closures. The annual revenue of the nautical charter last year was around 770 million euros.

The director of the Croatian Tourist Board, Kristjan Stanicic, pointed out that the CNTB’s revenue this year will stand at around 200 million kuna, ie 150 million kuna less than last year, but he pointed out that it will be enough for the campaigns that are being prepared for 2021.

“The final preparations for the promotion of the post-season are underway, during which we’re going to focus on the nautical offer, the continental offer, eno-gastronomy and the offer of Croatian national parks and nature parks. Throughout September, we’ll conduct campaigns on our most important markets, as part of which we plan to thank all tourists for their trust when choosing Croatian destinations.

We’re also working intensively on preparations for 2021, in which we’ll position Croatia even more strongly as a safe tourist destination with a focus on markets that have responded best to promotional activities this year, such as Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia and Hungary,” said Stanicic.

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