As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, this may not be being indicated by the current booking rates, which have slowed down and in some unfortunate cases stopped due to the current epidemiological situation, but the pre-season in Croatia will certainly still function according to the last minute model, without significant organised traffic to speak of.
“This year, we’re entering the pre-season under significantly different circumstances than we did over the past two years, which gives us a sense of optimism. If the pandemic starts to subside in the spring, with the vaccination rate being higher than last year, then we have plenty of time to prepare for Croatian Easter tourism, as Easter will fall relatively late this year, and that’s a good circumstance.
Easter is closer this year to May the 1st, and we’ll have, if we’re lucky, the theme of filling up in terms of tourist numbers for the rest of May, as was the case back during normal years. Moreover, it could positively surprise us because our partners are confirming that people’s desire to travel is very strong, and customers are now just waiting for the administration procedures to loosen up,” said Boris Zgomba, president of the Association of Travel Agencies at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).
In this sense, the new rules of the Council of Europe have already been well received in the sector, according to which the individual status of passengers will be looked at instead of just going by larger epidemiological maps. It is also to be expected that the chances of the country ending up in a very bad situation pandemic-wise will fall further and further as we head towards spring.
The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) expects further growth in interest in travel and even a better pre-season than last year, and this includes Croatian Easter tourism numbers. “This is being indicated by the current course of tourist traffic. In Croatia, more than 502 thousand overnight stays have been realised so far this year, which represents 98 percent of the results from the same period back in 2019.
The highest number of overnight stays was recorded by local guests, followed by those from Germany, Slovenia and Austria. At the level of the whole of 2022, we expect the realisation of about 90 percent of the results from the record year of 2019, and the results achieved in the pre- and post-season periods will play a big role in that,” believes Kristjan Stanicic.
When it comes to promotional activities for the pre-season, in the German market on the most important and largest travel and booking platforms such as Weg, Expedia, Reise reporter and Urlaubspiraten, a campaign will be conducted during the month of February to target those who tend to book holidays much earlier.
“There is great interest in the German market for early travel reservations. Promotional activities will be carried out in other markets that will be assessed to likely have the best response to those promotional activities, and additional optimism is being provided by information and announcements from certain European markets, such as the United Kingdom and Denmark, which will introduce much more lenient epidemiological protocols as of February which will go hand in hand with the revitalisation of the travel industry,” added Stanicic.
More lively air traffic
From the beginning of April, a higher intensity of air traffic is expected, as well as a reduction of restrictions, ie the simplification of measures related to international travel. The Croatian National Tourist Board expects that Croatia will record a larger number of flights in the rest of the year than it did in 2021.
“The interest of airlines in programmes to Croatian destinations is at a high level, which is, among other things, certainly due to the fact that Croatia has been at the top of the Mediterranean for two years in a row in terms of the interest of tourists and tourist traffic,” concluded Stanicic.
For more, check out our travel section.