First Week of July Sees Rapid Tourism Growth in Dalmatia

Daniela Rogulj



July 9, 2020 – In the first six months of 2020, 1.6 million tourists came to Croatia and achieved 7.6 million overnight stays – about 30% of last year’s result for the same period. Most guests are in the northern Adriatic, and the least in Croatia’s southern parts, or Dalmatia. However, things are starting to change. 

“In Split-Dalmatia County, the beginning of June was not promising, but now June is at around 20%, meaning 485,000 overnight stays. And if we look at the first six months – then we are at 19%, which would mean 785,000 overnight stays. In this situation, we are relatively satisfied with this data,” said Josko Stella, director of the Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board, for Studio 4 HTV. 

Dalmacija Danas reports that a reason for the unpopularity of Dalmatia for tourists this year, compared to, for example, Istria, is distance.

“Going to Dalmatia is a little different than going to Istria on a weekend or similar. The shorter the distance, the easier it is to get there,” Stella said, adding that the situation has improved with the opening of more airlines at the Split Airport.

“Specifically, last weekend, we had 10,000 passengers, and the whole of June at the Split airport, there were 28,000 passengers. That tells you how big the jump is now,” Stella said.

He added that more than 40 new direct airlines had been announced.

“Most importantly, we will have England, or Luton from London, a daily line, so we expect 200,000 passengers through July, which is not at the level of last year’s 700,000 passengers, but it is a really big shift, because we expect even more passengers to come by land or car,” Stella said.

That makes a big difference between this year’s first six months and the first five days of July.

“The first five days of July, we had 400,000 overnight stays. Compared to 785,000 overnight stays in the first six months. See what the difference is. That makes the figure for July 40%, so it can be seen that these few days are a significant jump in Dalmatia,” said Stella.

There are problems with reservations and cancellations, because, as he says, European countries are urged not to travel, that is, to travel only within the borders of their countries.

“Until this situation is completely resolved, until Europe is united on this issue – there will always be problems with cancellations. But they are arriving and occupancy is rising,” Stella said.

From July 17 to 19, he said, a group of 40 journalists and agents from Germany are coming to the Makarska Riviera.

“Also, we as the County Tourist Board, in cooperation with the Tourist Board of Sibenik-Knin, Zadar and the Croatian Tourist Board – are organizing the arrival of journalists by car from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic – precisely so they can see how safe we are, how easy it is to get here, the condition of our tourism and how safe we actually are. That is why we are organizing this study trip for journalists and agents,” Stella said, adding:

“All these actions are aimed at as many tourists as possible, but let’s not forget: everything I say, this big plus, it can all change in one day. We must all be responsible: both tourists and hosts and citizens – and do everything to minimize the risk, to follow all instructions, to be careful, to keep our distance, masks and everything else that is needed.”

Many believe that lower prices would attract more guests, but of course, some do not agree and are keeping higher prices.

“We as a tourist board do not go with these recommendations, because we believe that the market makes its own and it can be seen that the entire Mediterranean is moving in the direction of putting pressure on lower prices – of course, not in every type of accommodation and not in every destination,” Stella said.

As an example, he mentioned the Makarska Riviera, where the prices of private accommodation are reduced by 20 to 30%, and everyone is more or less satisfied and capacity is filled with these prices. In contrast, some luxury accommodation is reduced minimally or not at all.

“But in general, yes, there is a reduction in prices throughout the Mediterranean,” Stella told HTV.

He also said that all the big hotels that have been closed so far are slowly starting to open.

“Because they see that an increasing number of guests are coming and they see that they could still have more than we expected from this season. Of course, it’s far from those numbers, from the records that were in 2019 and the like,” Stella concluded.

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