As Hina finds out from the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB), in the first two months of 2021, there were slightly more than 205,000 tourists and 678,000 overnight stays in Croatia, which is about 50 percent from the same period in 2020. Most overnight stays were realized by the domestic tourists, who make up about 85 percent of last year’s result.
About 30 percent of foreign tourists compared to 2020
January and February 2020 were the only months that year in which there was no (significant) impact of the pandemic on tourist traffic. Therefore, a better tourist result was achieved than in the same months of record 2019, so the results for the first two months of this year were good, especially since catering, sports, and recreational facilities were mostly closed, except for accommodation.
Travel restrictions and coronavirus measures in foreign countries have affected that the number of foreign tourists and overnight stays in Croatia in the first two months of this year, as well as at the end of last year, was less than that of domestic tourists. With a little more than 250,000 realized overnight stays, there were about 30 percent foreign tourists compared to last year.
Most overnight stays in the first two months of this year were realized in hotels (275,000), then in household facilities (234,000), and camps (24,000).
By counties, most overnight stays – about half of the total, were realized in three regions/counties – in Istria (135,000), in Kvarner (116,000), and the Split-Dalmatia County (75,000). Among foreigners, most overnight stays were realized by tourists from BiH, Slovenia, Germany, and Italy.
The destinations with the most overnight stays were Zagreb, Rovinj, Split, Zadar, and Opatija.
Domestic tourists travel around the country for weekends
Data from the eVisitor system show that in the first two months, domestic tourists realized more overnight stays during the weekend compared to the days of the week. Most of them (by days) were in Croatian destinations on Valentine’s weekend, on 13 February. Out of the total of 20,000 tourists in the country on that day, there were 17,000 domestic tourists, which is the most in one day in the first two months.
During January and February this year, locals spent most nights in Zagreb, Rovinj, Opatija, Zadar, Tuhelj, Split, Poreč, and Plitvice Lakes.
More traffic possible only around Pentecost
“Although we are in a period of the year when realizing international tourist traffic is still difficult, the results achieved so far, and announcements from the market still give some optimism. We do not expect a large influx of guests during March and April. However, we expect some tourist traffic from domestic and nearest markets such as Slovenia, Italy or Austria, whose citizens, among other things, own real estate and vessels in Croatia,” said CNTB director Kristjan Staničić. This year, Easter and the spring school holidays in Croatia are at the beginning of April.
From other markets, they expect a significant increase in tourist traffic in the main summer months. Also, they expect known and uniform protocols for international tourist travel by then.
Staničić also says that tourist facilities in Croatia will be ready to receive guests for the Easter holidays. However, tourist flows during these holidays and throughout April will still depend primarily on the epidemiological situation and current travel restrictions.
They expect a slightly higher intensity of tourist traffic for the holiday of Pentecost, which this year comes in the second half of May. Staničić also emphasizes that all relevant research shows that the whole of 2021 will be marked by last-minute bookings and that it is challenging to make long-term and accurate predictions.
“Safe stay in Croatia” campaigns for digital nomads as well
In these circumstances, it is important to remain visible in the market and communicate safety, adequate destination preparation, and epidemiological measures. That is why the “Stay safe in Croatia” campaign is underway in ten key markets – Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, and the Netherlands.
To position Croatia as an attractive destination for digital nomads, the CNTB will soon launch a separate promotional campaign in the markets of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland. After that, they will launch the main ones, the so-called call campaigns, depending on each market’s epidemiological situation.