Croatia Looking Forward to 2019 Tourist Season

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Excellent results achieved not just in Croatian but also in the global tourism industry have brought even higher expectations for the 2019 tourist season. The World Tourism Organization has announced data that by the end of September international travel rose 7.6% year-on-year, reports on January 2, 2019.

If such figures continued until the end of the year, the world recorded nearly 100 million trips more than the year before. The growth is generated primarily from the Asian markets – China and India. Although Croatia does not depend on these markets, in the next year it should feel the effects of these trends and see an increase in the number of tourists coming from China and India.

In 2019, Croatia will certainly fare well in the traditional European markets, although no significant growth is expected. Guests visit Croatia mostly in the main season, and there are no more opportunities for growth in that period – capacities in July and August were mostly full in the past two years anyway.

For the next season, hotels can expect more and more guests coming as part of a multi-country tour – especially from Asia. Although these guests’ stays are short, they are not price-sensitive. The best hotels in Split and Dubrovnik are already almost full for groups in May and September.

Critical months are June and October. The announcements by Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines that they will introduce direct flights from China to Croatia look ever more realistic (though we first heard this promise in 2015) and a lot is expected from the announced American Airlines flights from Philadelphia to Dubrovnik three times a week. Still, given the previous experience, we have to be careful when discussing the possible introduction of new flights.

For example, promised charters from Chicago to Zagreb a few years ago saw passengers disembark from the aircraft just a few minutes before scheduled take off and the project was never realised. However, American Airlines is a very serious company and has announced the first landing of its first plane in Dubrovnik on June 2. The North American continent has a high potential for direct flights to Croatia, not least because of the sizeable Croatian Diaspora in that part of the world.

Given the relatively high prices (the average daily rate for a better hotel room in Dubrovnik is around 250 to 300 euros), Asian tourists have decided to travel to Croatia earlier than ever, and the once unthinkable arrival of tourist group in February has now become a reality. Korean Air is still bravely flying to Zagreb throughout the year. Also, the Chinese market will see a significant increase in the number of arrivals to Croatia. The Libertas University in Zagreb has recognised this, training 15 Chinese-language tourist guides.

Zagreb hotels can expect a lot from the coming year. They will be filled with European officials who will start preparing for a temporary “resettlement” in 2020 when Croatia takes over the presidency of the European Union. This will undoubtedly improve the air links to other European capitals and give a new impetus to the development of tourism in the city, which needs more high quality and larger restaurants with original cuisine.

The conclusion is clear. Tourist figures will increase and the season will continue to be extended thanks to the “Asian boom”. We can expect stagnation from the German market, the arrival of new air carriers to our airports, while cities will thrive thanks to cultural and business tourism, which will bring another good year to Croatia’s tourism industry.

More news on the Croatian tourism can be found in our Travel section.

Translated from (reported by Ivan Pukšar).


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