Brexit Fears: Will British Tourists Abandon Croatia?

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The links between the United Kingdom and the European Union, which have existed since 1973 and the times of the European Economic Community, are about to have their nature altered. While tourism is perhaps not the biggest concern on both sides, the industry is worth billions of dollars, and it is certain that even the softest Brexit would be complicated, making travel more expensive for the British, reports Večernji List on January 23, 2019.

Although there will be no visa system introduced, travel may be affected on and after March 29 when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, including during the Easter holidays which will follow soon after that. Various scenarios talk about five to as many as 20 million Britons who might decide against visiting EU countries. The most significant concern can be felt in Spain, which was visited by 19 million Britons last year.

However, even the Croatian tourist industry seems worried, due to the general uncertainty, and also because British guests are among the best-spending. The British guest in Croatia spends 139 euro a day, which is almost twice as much as the Czech, Hungarian or Croatian tourist. Tourist trips are currently being sold provisionally since travel agencies and airline companies do not have answers to issues related to air transport, insurance, mobile roaming, passport controls. The European Union has announced that the British will not need visas, at least not initially, but they want to know what will happen at the borders with their passports which still contain words “European Union”.

Veljko Ostojić, director of the Croatian Tourism Association, agrees that there are still too many unknowns. “This situation is a potentially great danger to our tourism industry. No one is currently aware of all possible consequences of Brexit, including us in Croatia. At present, I see two problems: strong uncertainty in the strongest booking period, and the possibility of weakening of the British pound, which would bring about a fall in purchasing power. If this happens, British tourists will choose shorter trips and cheaper destinations. Fortunately, there is no news that Croatian tourism has suffered any consequences so far,” said Ostojić.

Compared to the booking state of play at this time last year, the situation is more or less unchanged. There has been no significant increase or decrease, which director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić says is satisfactory. “The overall effects are still uncertain. But the analysis by the British tour operator ABTA has shown that the EU countries are the key destinations for the British, and there is even some research that shows the British plan to travel more than last year,” Staničić said.

The only question is where. At the London tourist fair in November, a number of tour operators confirmed that sales of travel packages to the EU were growing five per cent, but to the countries outside of the EU, the growth was five times faster.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Radmila Kovačević).

More news on Croatia and Brexit can be found at the Politics section.


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