Croatia Hopes for Pre-Pandemic Tourism Revenues by 2023

Daniela Rogulj



November 23, 2020 – Croatia hopes for pre-pandemic tourism revenues by 2023, and to reach the EU average of gross value added generated from tourism by 2026.

Turizam 24 reports that while we face the worst crisis since World War II, Europe and the world are already looking heavily at the 2021 tourist year. As the pandemic rages and more and more countries are re-entering lockdowns, few can even predict what the new tourist season will bring, but announcements of the vaccine’s arrival generally restore optimism and hope that the sector’s recovery will begin as soon as possible.

We should not forget the lesson of this summer – the fact is that people still have the need to travel, and it is only a matter of time before they decide to do it again. This year, many travel companies have survived on domestic tourists, and most analysts predict that will not change so soon.

First of all, there is the issue of security, which is the basis for any return of tourism, and secondly, it is clear to everyone that it will take a long time for air traffic to return to its old positions, and thus prices. Until then, airline tickets will certainly not be available as they were before the pandemic, and air destinations will be increasingly difficult to find.

Many changes have happened faster than could have been imagined, from digitalization to choosing an isolated holiday. Many recent analyzes suggest that tourism will not return to pre-corona levels until 2024.

Thus, the European Travel Commission ETC (European Travel Commission) in a new report entitled “European Tourism 2020 – Trends and Prospects” overlooked that the volume of travel to the level of 2019 will return only in 2024. ETC predicts that domestic travel will recover sooner, by 2022 or 2023. It is also Croatia’s goal to restore pre-pandemic revenues by 2023.

“Our priority is to ensure that the tourism sector in Croatia returns to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, when it comes to revenues, and to reach the EU average in terms of gross value added from tourism by 2026,” says Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac.

The minister once again pointed out that the pandemic had a strong impact on the travel industry and changed the paradigm of tourism this year, but also for next year.

“Following the trends, we focused on online promotion and services adapted to current circumstances that have enabled greater health safety of tourists. Croatia has shown that it can be a leader in innovation and the development of offers that represent the future of tourism.

Thus, for example, through the Enter Croatia website, we enabled tourists to enter the country faster and safer, and through digital platforms and social networks, we changed the way we communicate with tourists and presented the destination to the world in a different way. We can already say that next year one of the main motives or even travel conditions will be safety, so we will focus on quality and targeted information campaigns, which will ensure our visibility in the most important markets.

Until now, safety has been our brand, which we will continue to build and adapt to new conditions,” said Brnjac.

She also reminded that Croatia will have twice as many funds available in the next seven years compared to the 2014-2020 budget – a total of at least 22 billion euros, of which the European Union (MFF) budget accounts for 12.7 billion euro. From the next generation EU Fund, Croatia can count on 9.4 billion euro, with most of that amount related to grants, while part of the funds will be through favorable credit lines.

“This is a great opportunity for us to recover and develop Croatian tourism, and the goal is to negotiate with the European Commission the best possible position for the tourism sector, whose current sensitivity may adversely affect the recovery of the entire economy,”  concluded the Minister of Tourism and Sports.

Veljko Ostojić, the director of the Croatian Tourism Association (HUT), revealed what can be expected in 2021.

“For next year it is still unfair to give any estimates in these unpredictable times. It is to be expected that it has the characteristics of last-minute reservations, an increase in online reservations, increased interest in higher category facilities that guarantee greater isolation of guests, and that the key criterion for choosing a destination will be security in the broadest sense. It is a theme that will mark the next, but also the upcoming season. The advantage of Croatia is that it is an auto-destination and in comparison with other countries it has a significantly smaller population. That will definitely be a significant attribute in the next year,” Ostojić said.

As for the announcement of vaccines, he added that they certainly inspire optimism that tourism could begin to recover, in the second quarter, and begin to approach the figures before the pandemic in the second half of next year.

“But we still have to be careful and continuously monitor the situation so that we can make appropriate decisions regarding the market, but also the organization of work in accommodation facilities and destinations,” said the HUT director.

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