“Days of Croatian Tourism”: The Strengths of the Croatian Tourism Brand and Plans for 2017

Daniela Rogulj

Within the first day of “Days of Croatian Tourism”, a traditional gathering of tourism professionals which is held from October 26 and 27 in Bol, the Director of the General Office of HTZ (Croatian Tourist Board) Ratomir Ivičić presented a comprehensive analysis of the strengths of the Croatian tourism brand along with the planned activities of the Croatian National Tourist Board for 2017.

HRTurizam reports that Director Ratomir Ivičić, in conjunction with the presentation “The national tourism brand – performance measurement and guidance for 2017,” pointed out that research on the power of the Croatian tourism brand in 2013 showed insufficient, with the exception in a limited number of markets. Namely, of the total potential of 258 million people, as much as 43% of them were not aware of the Croatian tourist offer. It is estimated that the Croatian tourist offer has been recognized by around 147 million people with as many as 55% not being aware of the offer and the brand itself.


Director Ivičić said that the Croatian National Tourist Board, over the last two years, started with the implementation of new branding and communication strategies – taking into account consumerism and new economic, sociological and cultural environment. An important role in these processes was the communication concept under the slogan “Croatia, Full of Life,” which has been successfully used for a year now. The main objective of this concept is to position Croatia as a leading tourist destination with a rich and varied offer, and as a year-round destination with a strong tourism brand.


This new approach to promotional activities gave new results, showing that research from 2016, when compared to 2013, grew awareness of the Croatian tourist brand by 23%, while the understanding of the brand grew by 16%.


“During 2016, we achieved a significant increase in awareness of the brand and Croatian tourist destinations – thereby simultaneously strengthening all other components of the brand and even dimensions in which Croatian National Tourist Board has no direct ability for influence. It is a good sign of a successful action of other tourism stakeholders because only joint action can change the perception of tourists. Namely, Croatia is predominantly recognized as a vacation destination to which tourists come for the sun and the sea. It was stated as a motive in 2013 and was crucial for almost 70% of tourists – during 2016 the sun and the sea was the main motive for around 63% of tourists. This drop in points is due to the fact that foreign tourists are increasingly recognizing other Croatian tourist destinations,” concluded Ivičić.


According to Oxford Economics, the predicted rate of growth for tourism in the next year in the world is +4.2%, while the European level has envisaged a growth of 3.2% and 2% for the Mediterranean. The prediction for Croatia is mostly for the increase in overnight stays, with around a 3.3% increase, ranking among the countries that will achieve growth rates higher than the average generic. This category also holds Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia and Bulgaria.


During 2017, the focus of the Croatian Tourist Board will, among other things, strengthen tourist traffic in June and September. Specifically, the analysis which allows the creation of a new system of records for tourist traffic – eVisitor, shows that during the main summer months the occupancy rate of hotels is very high – for example 93% full for July and 98% full for August. Therefore, a significant increase in tourist traffic in the peak season, due to the existing hotel capacity, is almost non-existent. Real space for improvement is in May during which the occupancy rate of hotels was around 43%, and in June during which the occupancy rate of hotels stood at 64%. In September, the occupancy rate of hotels was 70%.


In the coming year, the tourist board will continue to implement integrated communications (advertising and PR), with a stronger emphasis on the periods prior to and post season and in markets with significant growth potential, such as Germany, Austria, Italy, United Kingdom France, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Poland.


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