First Minute Bookings at Record High, Great Season Ahead for Croatia

Total Croatia News

HTZ analyses key messages from World Travel Organisation panel

Good news for the upcoming season

Croatian Tourism Board published an analysis of the current state in foreign markets and its expectations regarding the upcoming tourist season on February 29, 2016.

It seems that 2016 will be a very successful year for tourism across the globe and for Croatia; at least, that is what international tourism experts stated during the UNWTO panel. Analyses confirm that an average expected growth rate of the global tourism (arrivals) will be around 4%. Europe can expect an increase between +3,5 and +4,5 % while above average growth is expected in Asia and the Pacific region (+4 to 5%) and North and South America ( +4 to 5%). Somewhat lower growth rate is expected for Africa and the Middle East with a lot of uncertainty because of the political situation in some destinations.

„Our main goal is to repeat the great results we achieved in 2015 and wherever there is a realistic possibility we want those numbers to increase. Of course, we are not expecting linear growth from all markets but we are aiming towards structural improvements regarding the demand for some specific parts of our offer and the increase in tourist spending and, of course, an increase of arrivals outside the peak season said the director of Croatian National Tourism Board Ratomir Ivičić.

 When we talk about Croatia considering a relatively low percentage of domestic tourists, it is clear all our expectations are based on results that will be achieved from foreign markets. Markets like the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Slovenia give us added stability because we have been their market leaders for several years in a row. We also have markets like Germany, Austria and Italy that already make up for a significant percentage of our total number of guests but they all have the potential for further growth, especially Germany.  When it comes to Austria according to the Austrian tourism institute IFT (Institut für Freizeit- und Tourismusforschung), we can expect some good news considering that 44% of all travelers have already made up their mind as to where they will spend their holidays in 2016 and 19% of all the people surveyed selected Croatia as their desired destination (compared to 17% in 2015) making our country the No. 1 holiday destination in Austria (in front of Italy – 14%, Spain – 7% and Turkey – 4%).

Other relevant markets for our tourism are the UK, Scandinavia France and the Nethrlands but even though their numbers are growing each year, strategic goal is to significantly increase their percentage in our total incoming traffic.

Even though global geopolitical and economic uncertainties will change some travel habits and everyone (including Croatia) is looking into Russia as a market where they should increase their presence, it is unrealistic to think that Russian avoidance of Egypt and Turkey will automatically mean they will select European Mediterranean countries as their holiday destination. The spending power of an average Russian traveler is still declining and their tour agencies are experiencing a crisis so it is possible some of them will select a domestic destination. This situation is, however, our chance to stabilize our position and to try and regain former positive trends.

Considering that we are now on the very last day of February, these analyses can already give us some first projections and they are more than optimistic because this is one of the most successful first-minute sales periods ever and in some markets, the increase can now be seen in double digits. Same trends can be seen on all online booking agents and the fact that post season months are selling much better than last year, as well as June wich was somewhat of a risky month because of the less than a favourable line-up of public holidays in 2016 means that we have every right to expect another record year. Let’s just hope good numbers will be followed by concrete measures that will enable our tourism workers and companies to breathe more easily and great marketing efforts that will establish a strong position in new markets.


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