More Tourists Choose Croatia After World Cup Success

Lauren Simmonds

Croatia’s Vatreni did much more for the country than just bring a silver home.

As Index writes on the 22nd of July, 2018, more and more tourists have been prolonging their stay in Croatia because of the incredible atmosphere that spread across the entire country during the World Cup.

The success of the Croatian National Football team saw many tourism oriented markets experience a more than considerable a rise in demand, including in France, the United Kingdom, and in Russia, countries against whom Croatia played key matches, stated the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ)’s head office, Kristjan Staničić.

Upon announcing HTZ’s new promotional campaigns across ten markets, which will begin in just a few days, Staničić stated for HINA that the information they’ve received so far from various markets indicates a rise in interest in Croatia due to the country’s amazing appearance at the 2018 World Cup.

“Although it’s difficult to speak about concrete figures and how much of this success will be translated into more arrivals and overnight stays in Croatia at the minute, a positive impact is expected, and almost all of our partners in key emitting markets, especially from France, the USA, Italy, Austria, Great Britain, Russia and others, have confirmed that such expectations are realistic,” Staničić said.

Talking about HTZ’s new season-by-season campaign, he pointed out that the emphasis will still be placed on Croatia’s tourism ”products”, from enogastronomy, to nautical and active tourism as well as the continuation of the use of Croatian athletes and artists as “Ambassadors of Croatian Tourism” coupled with the initiation of a new slogan “Croatia, full of excellent players”, which was initially launched during the World Cup in Russia.

The football players will then be linked through a prism of photos and texts with the areas of Croatia they come from, connecting Slavonski Brod and Mario Mandžukić, Donji Miholjac and Domagoj Vida, Luka Modrić and Zadar, Ivan Perišić and Omiš, Ante Rebić and Imotski, and so forth.

When looking at the trends of tourism demand and sales to Croatia in the countries against which Croatia played the final three matches at the World Cup, and whether there was any downsizing or decline in sales, HTZ’s head office stated that this did not happen in Russia (quarterfinals), nor did it occur England (semi-finals), or in France (final).

“We’re currently recording an increase of about ten percent in tourism from France compared to this time last year, and we’re particularly pleased that more and more French are arriving in regions such as Zagreb, Slavonia, Istria, or Kvarner. This year, there are new direct airline lines from several French cities, including Paris, which are contributing to that,” HTZ stated, based on information from their representation in the French capital of Paris, which has also stated that although the World Cup had a rather negative impact on the standing of many destinations in the eyes of France’s many tourists, it didn’t for Croatia, which has, as mentioned, actually experienced an increase.

It was also pointed out that the members of the SETO French Travel Association have recorded a considerable 21 percent increase in summer reservations for Croatia compared to 2017. In addition, according to the Association of French Travel Agencies (Les Enterprises Du Voyage) for the very first time this year, Croatia has joined the ranks of Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Portugal, Morocco, Great Britain, Turkey and Germany on the list of the most popular destinations.

It appears to be a very similar situation in France’s northern neighbour. In the UK, where HTZ’s representation has its seat in London, many supportive mails were received by both partners and Brits who had been in Croatia or were planning to go.

There are also good news coming from the country that Croatia beat on its home turf – Russia. According to some provided data, the demand for Croatia has grown by around 20 percent compared to last year, and that trend seems to be set to continue right up until October, leading top tour operators to believe that more Russian tourists will come to Croatia than they did last year.

Croatia as a ”screaming hot” destination?

Ourside of Europe and across the Atlantic in the United States, where football (or should we say soccer) isn’t anywhere near as much of a big thing as it is with us Europeans, the Croatian National Team’s heartwarming performance at the World Cup has been met with a lot of interest from Americans, which is a true enhancement of the overall visibility of Croatia’s position and presence on the bigger tourist map.

Numerous American sporting stars and various other stars, from NBA basketball player Dwyane Wade and popular rapper Snoop Dogg, to actors Reese Witherspoon and Russell Crowe and several others, have commented enthusiastically on Croatia’s brilliant sporting performance.

“From the USA this year, we’ve already recorded a 25 percent increase in tourist arrivals and a 21 percent increase in overnight stays, and according to partner information, we can expect to see this next year too, as it’s well known that American travellers book one year ahead,”

American tourists captured by Croatia’s recent sporting performance on the international stage have since been referring to the country as a ”screaming hot destination”.

The rise in interest and sales for Croatia due to football has also been recorded by Chinese tour operators, who are otherwise no stranger to the country and China sees countless numbers of its nationals visit each year. The Chinese media have reported that the price of flights to Croatia has also doubled since the time of the country’s participation in the World Cup Final, particularly from Peking to Zagreb.

Online searches for Croatia have rised by an astounding 300 percent, and the Chinese media have rightly pointed out that prices in Croatia are relatively lower than they are in Western Europe, which is sure to encourage even more to the country’s shores in the near future.


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