Croatian 2021 Tourist Season Leaves Producers With Empty Shelves

Lauren Simmonds

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As Barbara Ban/Novac writes, this summer in Istria went like a dream, with the sort of numbers you’d expect to be recorded in global capitals. Reservations for the best restaurants were waited on for periods of ten days, and every night a line of tourists could be seen standing in front of Istria’s many bars. There was no such crowding to be seen in this part of Croatia even during the best pre-pandemic seasons, and all this shows that the consumption was very good and that visitors, tired of their lives being controlled by various tests and measures, simply wanted to enjoy themselves a bit and relax.

Fiscalised receipts/invoices

Croatian wine on the Adriatic flowed into the glasses of visitors in streams, cheesemakers were left without their cheeses, olive growers without oil. Stocks were depleted, even those from the first year of the coronavirus back in 2020, which initially threw everything to its knees on a global scale and in a way we’ve never experienced before. However, it is not yet known precisely how high consumption in Istria has actually been in the Croatian 2021 tourist season, which was visited by the largest number of guests this summer.

It should, of course, be significant, because the prices in restaurants and bars were quite a bit higher than they were back in 2019. According to the director of the Istrian Tourist Board, Denis Ivosevic, he will soon request information on the fiscalised receipts issued on the Istrian peninsula, which, he believes, will confirm the fact that a lot was spent locally during the Croatian 2021 tourist season.

Record prices

”Hotels achieved record prices, in restaurants where you had to book a table, guests waited for a reservation for seven or even ten days. In ordinary restaurants you could see a line of ten to twenty people and they certainly consumed some of the absolute best products from Istria, such as wine, oil, expensive local truffles and everything else you might imagine. We’ll know that on a much deeper level when we get fiscalised data on spending. It’s never been this way, and it all happened because two things happened at the same time. First of all, Istria raised its quality, and the competition helped us because it was weaker than us due to bad epidemiological conditions. That’s why we’re the winners of the Mediterranean in tourism this season,” Ivosevic thinks.

The producers of oil, cheese, wine and prosciutto confirmed that they had a more than good season in Istria. For example, the company Oio Vivo from Vodnjan was left without a complete supply of its extra virgin olive oil which has won international awards for its sheer quality.

”We worked very hard and we’re out of stock. Everything worked brilliantly – from the sale to the olive grove, where we arranged a new space, to the wholesale, restaurant and webshop. There was a great demand everywhere. Last year we produced about 22,000 litres, and from the year before we may have had about 1,000 litres left. Now we have almost nothing left and we can’t wait for the new harvest to come,” said Velimir Juric from Oio Vivo, which will have a good harvest and expects at least 45,000 litres of oil and an even better year. Although the harvest of the others will be much worse due to the winter and snowy conditions, they will have a full better harvest and say they will not raise their prices.

Production never stopped…

The famous cheesemaker Sandi Orbanic from Zminj and the prosciutto factory Bursic from Vodnjan weren’t left without cheese and prosciutto, but only because they work constantly. Orbanic is more troubled by how preparations for next year might go.

”We worked really well and that was unexpected for us. We just didn’t know how to prepare for the Croatian 2021 tourist season. In the end it ended up being great. We haven’t been left without cheese, but only because we’re constantly producing it. Sales to hotels, shops, restaurants and on the doorstep were also excellent,” pointed out Orbanic, who annually produces about 120 tonnes of products in his cheese factory.

”We do manage to place everything. But given the decline in 2020 and consumption this year, we don’t know what quantities to plan for 2022,” he added.

Robert Lisjak from Vodnjan prosciutto also said that this year has been truly fantastic compared to last year.

”We always have everything because we’re constantly producing sausages, bacon, and even prosciutto. We worked a lot throughout the pandemic with the domestic market and we sell a lot on the doorstep, and this year we noticed a greater demand for the restaurants themselves,” stated Lisjak.

For more on the Croatian 2021 tourist season, check out our dedicated travel section.


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