Vir’s Tourism Goes From Strength to Strength!

Lauren Simmonds

The beautiful island of Vir surpasses expectations, once again.

As eZadar writes on the 8th of September, 2019, last year’s entire tourist season with over two million overnight stays and 127,000 tourist arrivals realised on Vir is rightfully remembered as historic and record-breaking, but in August alone this year, even four months earlier than last year, Vir has exceeded in all figures so far when it comes to tourist traffic.

Is Vir a tourist miracle for Croatia? Maybe. The data shows the following: From the beginning of the year to August the 31st, 2018, there were a phenomenal 2,122,141 tourists (2,077,796 in 2017), while tourist arrivals amounted to 149,777 (124,284 last year). If we narrow down the period of analysis on the August 31st and compare it to these brand new record numbers, there is a clear 28.8 percent increase in tourist traffic (last year, 1,647,312 by the end of August), which equals 24.6 percent (120,177) arrivals.

With these impressive numbers, the island of Vir has taken sixth place in the list of the ”best” tourist destinations in Croatia, while with the effects of August (866,522) still going on, it lies at the very top of the national tourist elite. Vir, therefore, is right behind historically popular destinations such as Dubrovnik, Crikvenica, Mali Lošinj, Umag, Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Šibenik, Pula, etc. Coincidence? It seems it isn’t.

”It’s not a coincidence. What we wanted, planned and expected, is now happening. We’re on our way to the top five in Croatia, and there’s still room for further progress,” says Kristijan Kapović of the Municipality of Vir.

Seven years ago, the Vir destination development company (“Vir tourism”) became the first DMO unit of a local self-government in Croatia, formal objectives were realised and subsequently exceeded (one million, then two million overnight stays, coupled with 100,000 arrivals). Today, the island of Vir is the sixth best Croatian tourist destination, the national record holder in several categories, and very much part of the elite.

Even though the largest number of overnight stays were realised in the summer months of July and August, a significant figure for this year is expected, around 800,000 overnight stays outside of the main summer season. ”Vir is therefore a year-round destination,” said the chief of the programs and projects via which the island became so attractive to tourists from the first day of January to the very end of December.

Vir has gone from strength to strength, from the spectacle of the New Year’s celebrations, a series of holiday manifestations, cycling, athletic, and fishing competitions of both international and national ranks, to the spectacular “Vir Summer” which attracts the elite in Croatian society, and the award-winning “Advent on Vir” the island has indeed managed to position itself as an exclusive, marketing and event stage for Croatia’s tourism.

Vir has also been well and truly recognised by Croatian tourists, primarily the so-called “weekenders”, which do not come to the island only once per year during summer breaks and on annual holidays, but throughout the year, sometimes even almost every weekend of the year. This trend is proven by, in addition to the numbers made up by foreign tourists, the number of average overnight stays made by domestic tourists from January this year to the end of August.

The amount of tourist attention that the stunning island of Vir is managing to attract from not only domestic guests, but from international tourists from all walks of life and from all over the globe speaks for itself.

”These are numbers we want to surpass in the forthcoming period, and we’ll will make that happen with more tourist facilities and a richer offer. We’ve been working hard to cement out place among the Croatian tourist elite, and we will continue to work harder to keep it [that place] and promote Vir to [become] one of the top five tourist destinations,” Kapović concluded.


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