July 17, 2018 — It seems the tourism industry’s boom plateaued this month July.
Can we blame the World Cup, even if most of Croatia’s regulars aren’t competing?
Croatia’s tourism figures from the first half of July show lackluster growth compared to the same period last year. Many point to the World Cup in Russia, yet statistics show an unnerving trend.
The month’s two million arrivals to date are a three percent drop from the same period last year, while the 13 million overnight stays are a mere one percent increase.
The drop grows starker when considering the first half of the year started with an overall 10 percent increase in overnights and 12 percent jump in arrivals.
Tourists, it seems, may be going elsewhere.
The Croatian Tourism Board believes the end of the World Cup in Russia will see a change of course. Yet some within the industry are skeptical, according to Polovni Dnevnik.
The World Cup in Russia cannot be a only cause for such a paltry start to what’s usual the thickest part of the tourism season.
“I am convinced that the hyper-demand we had last year, because of which we had problems, are gone due to Turkey and Egypt,” said President of the Association of Travel Agencies Boris Žgomba.
Croatia’s most common guests, the Germans, crashed out of the World Cup in its earliest stages. The other major visitors — Italians, Austrians and Slovenians — aren’t even playing.
It appears the overcrowding seen last year has corrected itself, with more guests going to Turkey and Egypt, Poslovni Dnevnik claims.
Turkey claims predicts a 15-to-20 percent increase over its record 2014 tourism season, which had 36,8 million arrivals.
Egypt is experiencing a boom as well, after hosting 8,3 million foreigners last year. Its number of German tourists is increasing. Croatia’s tourism industry sees no bigger threat.
“We do not have the same product as those countries,” Žgomba said. “People watch prices, compare, and choose. Last year, our hoteliers raised their prices considerably and filled the rooms with no problems. It seems that this year’s prices do not have the same draw.
One can hope Croatia’s second-place showing, which increased the nation’s recognition and spurred a Google search boom, will help change the tourism season’s trajectory.