Coronavirus in Croatia: When Will German Tourists Visit Again?

Daniela Rogulj

April 2, 2020 – Will the main tourist season be saved in Croatia? A look at the country’s biggest market – Germany. 

Goran Rihelj of HRTurizam writes that at present, the main hope of the tourism sector is that at least part of the peak tourist season will be salvaged in Croatia, especially for private renters, in order to generate at least some tourist traffic and earn some profit.

But the current state of the coronavirus development tells us that it is not realistic to expect any tourist activity this year, let alone in the main tourist season. 

Germany has traditionally been Croatia’s primary market, and so it was last year. The total turnover in 2019 (overnights) is dominated by the German market (19.5%), followed by the domestic market (12.73%), and Slovenia (10%) and Austria (7%).

If we look at the current situation around the coronavirus, where we have more questions and assumptions than answers, we can very optimistically expect that we will still get some tourist traffic in the main tourist season.

All 16 regions in Germany have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and as of March 31, 2020, in Germany, there are 62,000 coronavirus cases and 583 deaths, according to the Robert Koch RKI Institute. The regions most affected are Hamburg, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

Scientists from the universities of Mainz and Hamburg and an interdisciplinary research group have developed an “optimistic scenario” about the early development of the coronavirus pandemic in Germany.

According to Maniz economics professor Klaus Wälde, who co-authored the study, Germany is currently just at the beginning of the pandemic, which is expected to peak in June, while full recovery is expected in Germany or August or September.

According to the study, the coronavirus pandemic in Germany is not expected to end before August or September, reports

The data are “rough and optimistic forecasts”, the scientists explained in the study’s conclusion, as key issues related to the coronavirus pandemic have not yet been addressed and, there are too many assumptions. In Austria, there are currently 10,366 coronavirus cases and 146 deaths, and in Slovenia 802 cases and 15 deaths.

A survey by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce conducted among family accommodation providers found that over 90 percent of them feel the effects of the coronavirus on business in the form of reduced reservations, and 60 percent estimate their current financial damage at up to HRK 50,000.

More than 2200 family accommodation providers, mostly from Primorje-Gorski Kotar, Split-Dalmatia and Istria counties, participated in the survey. As many as 94 percent of them offer accommodation only, only 3 percent are bed and breakfast, and only 2 percent are rural tourism.

Also, the survey reveals that Germany is a key market for three-quarters of renters surveyed.

Although Croatia is an auto destination (78% of guests arrive by car, 15% by air, 4% by bus / Tomas Summer 2017) in the current situation, where we are all in self-isolation, where borders are closed, and air traffic is grounded, it is difficult to expect a quick opening of borders and any tourist activity. Ultimately, no one knows exactly how long this situation will last, and only then does the loosening of measures and the gradual opening of borders begin.

If we look at the “optimistic” estimates of the study from Germany, Rihelj says; unfortunately, we can hardly expect that there will be any tourist activity in the main tourist season. Although, of course, everyone in tourism is hoping that there will still be tourism activities, realistic estimates and logic tell us that tourism will only recover in the spring of 2021. There are also many factors, as well as too many unknowns about the coronavirus, so it is extremely difficult to plan and predict anything.

Rihelj concludes by saying when the whole situation calms, we still do not know whether the coronavirus will return at the beginning of winter this year, i.e., whether it will remain or just disappear as SARS, and whether scientists will find a cure. Looking at the current bigger picture, unfortunately, tourism can expect an awakening only from next year, and of course not in the same numbers as it has so far.

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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