Digital Nomads Helping Split Winter Tourism this Year

Daniela Rogulj



December 19, 2020 – The numbers are in for November – and they aren’t totally grim when considering Split winter tourism. 

Believe it or not, there is some turnover in tourism this year, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

According to the eVisitor system, there were 4,323 arrivals, and 21,671 overnight stays in the Split area in November, which is about 23 percent of arrivals and 53 percent of overnight stays realized compared to November last year, says the Split Tourist Board.

However, there are no noticeable changes. Moreover, according to Martina Nimac Kalcina, president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, this crisis has taken us back ten to twenty years.

“Regardless of the COVID crisis, the occupancy of private accommodation has always been very low from November 1 to April 1, which is understandable given that seasonality is generally pronounced in the Republic of Croatia, and it is an accommodation that is exclusively reserved for families and small groups, who mostly base their summer trips during the school holidays.

However, in the last few years, this seasonality has extended, especially in cities and luxury facilities, and we have been on the best path to making some destinations year-round.

Nowhere is the situation good. In situations when we lack guests from air destinations, the northern Adriatic always passes better, because it is more accessible by car to neighboring countries. Some brave guests go on vacation to a destination from which they can easily and quickly return home,” says Nimac Kalcina.

The low occupancy that we currently have in private accommodation is mostly made up of foreigners who are on a longer stay in the Republic of Croatia, mostly digital nomads and people transferred to working online due to COVID.

“Such guests feel safer and more comfortable staying with us in private accommodation by the sea than in the cities where they normally live. Given this, we welcome the amendments to the Aliens Act, which enter into force on January 1, 2021. The category of digital nomads is extremely facilitated for obtaining visas for up to a year.

Some renters have already informed me that their guests have encountered the problem of needing to extend their stay because their tourist visa, which is valid for 3 months, is expiring. They would like to extend their stay precisely because of COVID. From January next year, this will be possible by a much easier procedure,” she announces.

Due to the epidemiological situation and the recommended measures, there isn’t much reason to celebrate this year.

“Given that, I believe no one expects reservations. On the other hand, we have been leading socially isolated lives all this year and will be doing so for some time to come. I believe that all those who can afford to should organize a short trip for themselves and their children.

Private accommodation is ideal for these trips because they have no contact with other people, and they do not need to meet the host if they do not want to. A large number of owners have already organized the possibility of “self-check-in.” Unfortunately, this is a small number of potential guests because the spending power has dropped,” says Nimac Kalcina.

Prices of accommodation this season are lower. Luxury facilities mostly did not lower prices (emphasizing holiday homes), while smaller units, by city, had significantly lower prices, averaging about 25 percent. For next season, she predicts prices similar to 2020 with better occupancy.

Still, it looks like hotels will recover more slowly because there will still be fewer group trips and fewer business events, regardless of their prices.

There will also be a smaller number of guests from third countries who were hotel guests in large numbers, due to the reduced number of airlines. Camps, on the other hand, could have a good occupancy rate.

“This difficult situation will not lead to a significant reduction in private accommodation. So far, to my knowledge, there has been a reduction of some 6 to 15 percent, depending on the region.

I expect that another percentage of renters will decide to deregister their accommodation units, but I also expect a part of the new facilities to be categorized.

First of all, I am thinking of the many hosts who have invested in their facilities and planned to categorize them in the spring of 2020. However, because of the pandemic, they decided to postpone the categorization for next year. The profitability of apartments with a large number of beds, rooms, in cities … is questionable,” says Martina Nimac Kalcina. 

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