Zoran Pejovic: Times Have Changed, Croatian Tourism Needs Change

Zoran Pejovic

Photo Romulic and Stojcic

June 26, 2023 – Luxury tourism expert Zoran Pejovic with some LinkedIn thoughts on Croatian tourism.

Recent headlines in the Croatian press are focusing on reports of a lower number of visitors in June this year, compared to the same period last year. A significant portion of these reports focuses on the weaker-than-expected inflow from traditionally strong tourist markets, such as Germany and Central Europe.

Many are quick in comparison with 2022, not taking into account that conditions were significantly different then. Shorter booking times and a travel sentiment that strongly favored short destinations played a significant role in the number of tourists in Croatia.

Comparisons with 2019 are equally problematic, as the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have reshaped the world.

But more importantly, is Croatia’s challenge with value for money. Contrary to the belief that we have become an expensive destination, the reality is that our offerings often do not justify their price. Travelers today are not just looking for cheap experiences; they seek value, regardless of whether something costs 1 euro or 1 million euros.

There was a time when Croatia was a new destination attracting adventurous guests, the so-called early adopters. These pioneers were more tolerant of our shortcomings because they were excited by the novelty of an undiscovered destination. But times have changed. Croatia is now a mainstream destination, but we seem to be stuck in our past glory, pretending that we are still this undiscovered gem.

In the end, we have to face the issues of our reputation and readiness. While we are not fully satisfying the needs of travelers from new markets, the perception is that Croatia is an expensive destination without providing adequate value for money on our traditional markets. Furthermore, the growing reputation of cities like Split and Hvar as noisy party destinations could deter affluent travelers seeking a sophisticated and peaceful retreat.

To face these issues, tourism in Croatia needs a comprehensive review.

In conclusion, despite the various factors affecting the start of this summer tourist season in Croatia, there is a chance that we will manage to attract a sufficient number of guests by the end of the season. And in that success, there can be a tendency to revert to self-congratulatory sentiments, allowing the burning issues to be pushed aside, without implementing significant changes.

However, this shortsighted approach could lead us to more significant problems in the future. If we continue to ignore the changes in global travel trends, the evolving needs of our tourists, and our own shortcomings in providing value for money, we will find ourselves faced with significant problems in the coming years with little or no opportunity for correction.

About Zoran Pejovic:

Hospitality development and operations executive with over twenty years of international hospitality experience and number of successful hotel and restaurant openings. Most recently in charge of the development and opening of Maslina Resort, a five-star Relais & Châteaux property on the island of Hvar, winner of Condé Nast Traveller Hot List 2021 and Travel + Leisure 2021 IT List. Focused on innovation and people development, with a strong contextual approach to business growth, as well as to operations and leadership. Multidisciplinarian in search of better and more responsible answers to hospitality and business challenges and a true believer in the power of continuous education.

You can follow Zoran Pejovic on LinkedIn.


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