Is there Tourism After Summer? How Split Plans to Extend the Season

Daniela Rogulj

Although the 2018 tourist season produced less than spectacular results for many criteria, the second largest Croatian city continued to reach forward. 

Split will welcome over 800,000 visitors this year, or four times more than its population, while the number of overnight stays is approaching 2.5 million – or about 15 percent more than last year. The city already holds a stable spot among the ten most popular Croatian destinations, and they lead in the number of overnight stays in private accommodation. Let’s also not forget that the Split Ferry Port and Split Airport achieve unimaginable records,  reports T.portal on September 16, 2018. 

The season itself was somewhat traumatic, however, and mostly because of the more obvious infrastructure problems – all entrances to the city and most of the important roads were constantly congested, new traffic regulations didn’t help, and a new route to the Split Ferry Port was initiated in the heart of the peak season. This summer could mark the first time the people of Split showed a degree of intolerance towards tourism and tourists.

The good news, however, is that the busy summer season is followed by what many consider the finest part of the year – the offseason. 

Fewer guests, more tolerable crowds, quieter beaches, beautiful weather and reasonable prices are just some of the perks of the offseason. This period, which is often proclaimed as the most important part of every season, will once again be positive for Split. 

“The full glass cannot be fuller: the hotel is occupied at 97 percent in September and most of October, and the whole year is again better than last year,” says the Director of Hotel Park, Jozo Tomaš. The five-star hotel on Bačvice receives guests interested in culture, sports, shopping and congresses in the offseason, and some of them still come exclusively for the sea. 

“It will be like this until November, when hotels objectively fight for every guest – but the cause is not in us, but in Split as a destination. Things are still getting better – airlines arrive two or three days earlier each spring and stop operations two or three days later each fall, so we’ve been extending the season for several weeks over the last couple of years,” Tomaš explained.

Split Airport, with its 2.4 million passengers, is currently the busiest in Croatia – and it just recently surpassed Zagreb. Director Lukša Novak confirms that ‘summer’ aircraft will land later this year. 

“In October, and even in the first week of November,” Novak said satisfied. Somewhere at the end of the summer, Split Airport will welcome over three million passengers for the first time, and next year there will be a new challenge – a new terminal.

“The deadline for the completion of the new terminal building is the end of 2019, but we believe and plan that it will be in place for the next season,” Novak said.

Cornaro Hotel in the heart of the city, who doubled their capacity by expanding this year, also had their say about the offseason. 

“Honestly, we look at these two months as part of the main season. We are full, and only the profile of the guests is a little different. We are linked to congresses and different events, and they can feel that the city is growing in a tourist sense. We invested and expanded, and now we have reached a high level and are extremely pleased,” said manager Ivana Klarić.

In the next two years, Split will also get at least 10 new hotels that are just under construction.

“We are preparing for the winter events and the next tourist year through numerous marketing campaigns and performances at world tourism fairs. In the future, we aim to use more and more innovative solutions and information technologies in the promotion of natural and cultural heritage and the development of new tourism products, such as the recently launched Sight Run mobile application for sports and recreation, cultural and natural beauties and tourism,” says director of the Split Tourist Board Alijana Vukšić.

“In the next period, we are planning to raise the quality of our services and not affect the number of guests, but increase spending and the value for money. There is still plenty of room for sustainable product development at the year-round level, such as congress, health, sports and eno-gastro tourism. We are confident that the growth will continue in this postseason as we have very stable positions in distant markets, and the emphasis is on guests staying longer in Croatia and staying in big cities for a few days,” concluded Vukšić.


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