April 8, 2020 — The coronavirus will decimate the tourism sector, according to Tourism Minster Gari Cappelli and Croatian National Tourist Board Director Kristjan Staničić.
The two industry heavyweights offered gloomy predictions of revenue falls of up to 75 percent, damping down expectations of a quick recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cappelli and Staničić joined Director of the Croatian Tourism Association Veljko Ostojic, President of the Dalmatia-Dubrovnik Family Accommodations Community Nino Dubretić and President of the Association of Vessels Accommodation Providers – Charter, during last night’s “Otvoreno”, for a roundtable debate program on Croatian Radio Television.
Capelli predicted revenue drops between 60 and 75 percent, even if the tourism sector salvaged some fraction of the July through September tourism high season.
“If we manage to catch [the summer season], it would already give some results so that we could generate about 25 to 30 percent of revenues compared to last year,” he said, according to Jutarnji List.
He added Croatia as a car-centric destination in the region enjoyed advantages over countries that are aviation dependent.
Staničić, the HTZ director, said the fiscal third quarter was the most important.
“It is already certain that the second quarter will be practically at zero or maybe with some mild tourist traffic,” he said, adding that Croats must also be a little optimistic and try to capture at least part of the tourist season.
He believes that Croatia’s advantage is the proximity of our key markets — namely Central Europe — and stressed the importance of domestic tourists.
Ostojic said that recently adopted government measures will help tourism survive, and are much more concrete than the first package. Yet he expects additional measures.
“We do not have a realistic basis, and we do not have the right to expect a fabulous season,” he said. “we must be realistic and ready to start working as soon as the opportunity arises.”
Dubretić said private renters have 90 percent fewer bookings than last year, with a 70 percent decline overall.
He believes that the current measures are cosmetic and that a year-long moratorium on debt payments is a priority.
“Three or six would mean that it’s just a matter of what month the renter will stop paying loans,” Dubretić said.
Cappelli denied allegations the government neglected family accommodations, adding that the Ministry of Tourism immediately wrote off a lump sum of tourist taxes for the first six months for all 108,000 registered private accommodations.
“One hundred sixty-four million HRK was written off, deleted, for the first six months – said Cappelli, adding that their philosophy was “zero generated – zero will pay”.
A moratorium is being discussed, he added, emphasizing the government considered including private renters.
Klisović said that nautical tourists spend more than twice as much as average tourism guests.
“The nautical sector is ignored in a couple of important segments,” he said. “The ships moored in the marinas are not in operation, and the cost, the most important and largest in the structure of all costs, is the cost of berths in the marina.”
“At the level of the entire Croatian fleet, we are talking about EUR 30 to 35 million of liabilities that are due or due in the next couple of days at the level of the year for all charter companies and their vessels – said Klisović, warning that charters need an urgent response from the government.