Split-Dalmatia County Tourism Numbers: County Tourist Board Director Reflects on 2020

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:


Slobodna Dalmacija reports that in Split-Dalmatia County last year, 1.2 million tourists stayed in commercial accommodation and realized more than eight million overnight stays. Thus, in 2020, Split-Dalmatia County recorded 34 percent of arrivals and 45 percent of overnight stays compared to the record 2019.

Split-Dalmatia County Tourist Board Director Joško Stella estimates that after a significant decline in tourist arrivals and overnight stays in the first half of the year, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic which interrupted travel around the world, encouraging recovery was recorded in July and then continued growth in foreign guest arrivals in August.

“After the inclusion of Split-Dalmatia County on the red list at the end of August, there was a significant drop in the number of arrivals and overnight stays from the markets of Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovenia and Slovakia in September compared to September last year, which was extended until the end of the year, especially after the introduction of lockdown throughout Croatia which made it impossible to hold Advent events, while facilities were closed and hotel NYE events canceled,” says Stella.

Thus, despite numerous difficulties in commercial accommodation in 2020 in the area of Split-Dalmatia County, 1,238,260 tourists realized 8,073,385 overnight stays, so in the whole of 2020, there were 34 percent of arrivals and 45 percent of overnight stays compared to the record year 2019.

Most foreign guests came from Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia, and the largest number of overnight stays was realized in Split, Makarska, and Omis, and Baška Voda.

Stella adds that the data on tourist traffic in the county’s commercial accommodation should also include those from nautical tourism in which 82,179 arrived in Split-Dalmatia County in 2020, who recorded 567,465 overnight stays, thus achieving 36 percent of the traffic from 2019. Most arrived from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia.

In 2020, Split Airport recorded 20.4 percent of passengers compared to the record 2019, i.e., 674.3 thousand passengers. Split Airport should return to traffic from 2019 in 2024.

In March last year, almost all European airports were closed, including Split, where regular international traffic continued only on May 29 and gradually grew until August 20. At that time, Croatia was painted red on the epidemiological maps of Europe, so the arrival of passengers stopped due to the suspension of flights.

Therefore, in 2020, Split Airport had only 40 percent of flights compared to 2019, with an average aircraft occupancy of 50 to 60 percent. 

Given that rapid implementation of vaccination is expected worldwide in 2021, the airport and the County Tourist Board expect that a return to the 2019 results could be achieved in 2024.

They also believe that accepting the aviation industry’s proposal to apply a single antigen test to all departing passengers at airports with fast test results, which would avoid quarantine in incoming countries, would be a significant incentive for passengers to use air transport and speed up their return to 2019 results.

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