August 15, 2020 – There are currently around 820,000 tourists in Croatia, and there has been no noticeable decline in tourist traffic related to the increase in the number of coronavirus cases, Croatian National Tourist Board director Kristjan Stanicic said on Friday, announcing an increase in tourists this weekend.
Slobodna Dalmacija reports that tourists are currently making up about 68 percent compared to the same day last year when there were 1.2 million. Most of them, about 200 thousand, are in Istria County, followed by 160 thousand in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, while Split-Dalmatia County is accommodating 150 thousand, and Zadar County about 145 thousand.
Stanicic states that according to the destinations with the most tourists, today, the top five are in Istria and Kvarner – Rovinj, Medulin, Porec, Umag, Crikvenica and Mali Losinj.
Asked if he expects increased visits to shrines to the Virgin Mary on Saturday, Stanicic said that this could certainly be expected because the celebration of the Assumption of Mary also includes visits to shrines.
“However, in the general atmosphere of reduced travel, precautions and restrictions introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic, there may be fewer believers in Mary shrines for the holiday this year, including tourists, than in previous years,” Stanicic believes, adding that this visit is difficult to formally quantify because it is mostly a one-day trip or only a few hours, and as there are no overnight stays, they are not recorded in the eVisitor system.
As this holiday this year coincides with the third weekend in August, after which, even in the best years for tourism, there was usually a slight decrease in tourist arrivals and overnight stays, this can be expected this year as well. August has so far surpassed all forecasts with about 70 percent of last year’s overnight stays.
He emphasizes that the results of August so far have exceeded all forecasts and believes that by the end of that month, provided that the current market conditions remain unchanged, the achieved total arrivals and overnight stays of about 70 percent of last year will continue.
“Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic is still very much present and it is a crisis with an uncertain outcome and it is almost impossible to predict anything. The figures so far have already shown that this year’s tourist results vary depending on the destination or individual types of facilities, so in this sense, the information from the field is different.
However, it is important to remember that this is a very challenging year for everyone, including tourism, in which the main goal is to achieve the best possible results to create a healthy basis for preparing and implementing the next tourist year, which will also be very challenging,” Stanicic said.
On the other hand, it is difficult to predict what September and the entire postseason will bring, but he believes that in such circumstances, communication activities with the markets are important as one of the extremely significant elements of influencing travel decisions.
“We constantly communicate with the directors of our representative offices, and they with their partner markets, the media and others about the situation in Croatia. We fight certain blows, but we also react quickly, deny wrong information, hold meetings with partners, and cooperate with other institutions, primarily with diplomacy and the national headquarters,” reveals Stanicic.
He also estimates that the good tourist figures from the markets of Germany, Slovenia, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary are also the result of intensive marketing and information campaigns, noting that the results still mostly depend on the epidemiological situation, necessary and strict adherence to all prescribed measures and recommendations of the national headquarters by all tourism service providers.
Commenting on the new measures by the Italian government, according to which testing is obligatory for everyone who comes to Italy from Croatia, Malta, Greece and Spain, Stanicic says that he sees a reason for that partly in the safety of his citizens, but also because of the Ferragosto period in which they travel.
“The countries included in this list are the direct and biggest competitors of Italy. There are currently about 45,000 Italian tourists in Croatia, but this Italian decision will certainly affect traffic from that market later in August. Despite this situation, the CNTB office in Italy still receives a huge number of inquiries about the arrival of Italians on vacation in Croatia – and they want to come,” added Stanicic.
In the case of Slovenia, he says that there are no official decisions yet and believes that Croatia will remain on the current list, which enables Slovenian citizens to return to Slovenia without presenting a test or going to quarantine.
“Slovenia is one of our most important markets, many of their citizens own real estate in our country, and currently there are about 115,000 of them in Croatia,” says Stanicic.
He also spoke about the Dutch market, where the CNTB is also in constant contact with partners, agencies and tour operators, as well as relevant institutions.
“It remains to be seen what the final decision of the Dutch institutions will be, but we believe that by all parameters, we can return to their list of safe destinations, which already includes some countries that have a worse epidemiological situation compared to Croatia,” Stanicic said. Good cooperation with Croatian diplomacy is also important, which through its activities, contributes to maintaining the current position of Croatia as one of the few tourist countries in which significant tourist traffic takes place.