As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, this year, Croatian campsites have so far surpassed other segments of tourist accommodation – not only has the cumulative turnover from 2019 been more or less reached, but for the first time in history, Croatian campsites have reached the end of September with a very high level of occupancy.
Although this result can be partly interpreted through these unusual pandemic-induced circumstances, in addition to the longer season for camping, there are several other trends that should continue. These are a significant increase in tourists coming from the Polish and Czech markets, as well as the return of domestic guests camping in cooler weather.
Expectations have been well and truly exceeded…
“Although each accommodation segment has its own role and position on the wider market, we can truly say that Croatian campsites have been stars, and not only this year. With small differences between regions, year-round campsites have managed to reach about 90 percent of the overnight stays they realised back in 2019, which is far better than the plan from the start of the season, which foresaw around 60 to 70 percent of pre-pandemic traffic. We have to keep in mind that we had a really late start to the season, too,” revealed Adriano Palman, the director of the Croatian Camping Association.
As early as the beginning of June, there were a lot of bookings in Croatian campsites until September, without a lot of last minute bookings, and prices were moving towards the 2019 level. The peak of the summer season, as it did in other segments, went well. Palman stated that those with lower traffic achieved 2.6 times more overnight stays than last year, and those with the best results tripled last year’s traffic, which means that the entire segment was extremely successful, with slightly lower traffic in the southernmost Dubrovnik region, otherwise the country’s tourist Mecca.
What differs from previous years is the extremely high occupancy levels that Croatian campsites enjoyed through September so far, until last weekend. Only this week have the camps been slowly emptying, and a good forecast for next weekend will surely motivate some to extend things for a few more days. According to statistics from the eVisitor system, Croatian campsites managed to realise a massive 2.3 million overnight stays from September the 1st to the 19th this year (on 324 thousand arrivals), which is as much as 24 percent more than in the record year of 2019 (18 percent more in arrivals).
“We interpret this on the one hand by saying that the season was ”late”, and some of the guests postponed their holidays. In addition, some guests simply wanted to take advantage of the fact that there are no travel restrictions yet and wanted to treat themselves to some camping. In any case, guests from September are important for camps because their primary motive for travelling is not the sun and the sea, although in September it’s still quite warm, but instead they want to visit local attractions, eat at restaurants, visit family farms, go to wineries, and go cycling. Such guests contribute more to strengthening the local economy,” noted Palman.
On top of that, traffic in Croatian campsites on the continent has increased significantly this year as well, despite still being in the coast’s shadow. But the fact is that there are more and more of campsites in continental Croatia and that they attract more and more guests, especially locals, who like to visit them throughout the year. There are more and more camps staying open all year round, too.
Although the most numerous guests of the camps are still Germans, Slovenes and Austrians, this year, guests from the Netherlands returned to the fourth place contrary to expectations, and the only ones who significantly failed in this segment are the Italians.
A brand new structure
“We have two markets that have significant growth and a change in the structure of guests, and represent great potential to which we’d like to cater, namely the Poles and the Czechs. These guests have always come to Croatia, but in previous years they were ”simple’”guests, and with a rise in standards, they moved from the south, primarily from the Makarska Riviera, up further north, with increasingly expensive cars and camping equipment,” revealed Palman.
Also, although in small numbers, the number of Croatia tourists is growing, and they began visiting different places in Croatia when travel was much more restricted, so they’re also visiting camps on the Adriatic and in the continental part of the country. Domestic guests, for example, have been filling up mobile homes throughout the past year, using numerous weekend promotions.
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