Days of Croatian Tourism Ignites Russian Interest for Luxury Villas

Lauren Simmonds

It is no secret that Russian tourists love visiting Croatia, and the current Days of Croatian Tourism being held in Moscow has done nothing but confirm the enormous amount of interest on the Russian market for what Croatia has to boast of in its rich tourist offer.

As Glas Istre/Silva Bodlaj Ivasic writes on the 1st of February, 2020, the Croatian National Tourist Board’s (HTZ) representative office in the popular Russian city of Moscow organised the Days of Croatian Tourism event, at which representatives of numerous Croatian tourism companies, including Uniline from Pula, had the opportunity to connect with potential partners from Russia and bring Croatia closer to them as a top destination.

Days of Croatian Tourism, organised by the Croatian National Tourist Board, took place in Moscow on Thursday. Representatives of the Croatian tourism sector had the opportunity to learn more about the specifics of the Russian market and to better connect with potential partners from Russia. The Croatian delegation in Moscow was led by Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, Assistant Minister Tonci Glavina and the director of the Croatian Tourist, Board Kristijan Stanicic, hosted by the director of the HTZ Representative Office in Russia – Rajko Ruzicka.

Representatives of Uniline, a leading destination management company in Croatia and the region were some of Croatia’s representatives, including Dario Guljelmovic, sales and production manager at Uniline, and key account manager Marko Borscak.

“The Russian market is huge and we really recognise its great potential. At one place, we were able to meet a number of potential associates. On the Russian side, more than 100 entities from the tourism sector visited Days of Croatian Tourism. The event was also visited by the Russian Minister of Tourism, various officials, interested parties from the F&B sector and many others,” stated Dario Guljelmovic.

The Russian market is specific in that it doesn’t actually include the middle class, unlike on more western markets. When it comes to Russia, they’re either extremely high paying guests, or the total opposite.

From a Russian perspective, Croatia is an extremely interesting destination, especially among clients seeking top-notch service and with a desire to stay in five or four star hotels. The biggest obstacle to strengthening cooperation with Russian partners is the current visa regime. With the entry of Croatia into the European Union, guests from Russia required a visa to enter the country. As a positive example of addressing this obstacle, Guljelmovic points to 2018’s FIFA World Cup held in Russia, when it was relatively easy for fans with tickets to obtain the necessary visas to enter.

Guests from Russia are excellent consumers with typically very high paying power. In addition to classic tourism, there is great potential in health tourism, and they are interested in Croatian spas. Guljelmovic points out that there is great interest in staying in villas in the interior of the region of Istria. Recently, this type of tourism has become somewhat of a trend, and in Russia, it’s especially emphasised. Russian guests appear most interested in top quality accommodation, they want villas in amazing locations, with swimming pools and other amenities included.

“At Uniline, we can see great potential on the Russian market and we’re working intensively on this. Russians, just like the Croats, prefer to book later and are only now completing brochures for the new season, so this was an ideal time to host a manifestation such as Days of Croatian Tourism,” concludes Guljelmovic.

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