Tourist season: Hot or Not?

Foreign diplomats are very careful in predicting tourist results

Tourist season: Hot or Not?

The upcoming tourist season has a good chance of being successful, but it mostly depends on the persistent implementation of pandemic measures and responsible behavior of Croatia as a host. This is the conclusion of a panel discussion organized today by VERN 'University in Zagreb.

The aim of the discussion was to see - through the eyes of foreigners - where Croatia stands before the 2021 season. The participants were: Cody McClain Brown, author and professor; Ashley Colburn, producer, director and documentary filmmaker; Robert Richard Klinke, Ambassador of Germany; Kristjan Staničić, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board; Peter Susko, Ambassador of Slovakia; Josef Markus Wuketich, Ambassador of Austria, and Andrew Dalgleish, whose term as ambassador of United Kingdom in Zagreb has just ended.

Ambassador Dalgleis pointed out that the British are eager to travel, and that they are especially attracted to Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Health and safety play a major role in travel decisions, with both the British and the Germans. According to Ambassador Klinke, the number of German tourists fell from 3 to 1.2 million last year, but this year there has been an increase in reservations. He praised Croatia for doing a lot by implementing protection measures, but he did not give his prediction. Ambassador Wuketich has repeatedly pointed out that health protection is very important to Austrians, which is why he praised the Stay Safe in Croatia campaign. He expressed optimism about the season, advocated as much testing as possible and believes that Croatia is well on its way to achieving a relatively normal season. At the same time, he stated that the travel regime between Austria and Croatia has been liberalized in recent weeks.

Very concrete suggestions are coming from Slovakia: the footage of crowded cafes with cheering football fans is not good, and a focus on all pandemic measures is desirable. Slovaks perceive the Adriatic Sea as their own, they are longing for it. Ambassador Susko announced an increase in arrivals from Slovakia this year. Last year, the number was 200,000, which was a huge drop compared to 2019, when 500,000 Slovaks vacationed in Croatia.

Two Americans - Cody McClain Brown and Ashley Colburn - have moved to Croatia and say the country's advantages are safety and affordable prices for guests from the United States. Therefore, Colburn predicts that this season will be "hot", while McClain was more cautious saying that this is a good year for Croatia to consider what kind of tourism it wants in the future.

Ambassador Klinke believes that this development should be sustainable, environmentally responsible and provide good value for money. The British ambassador suggested that counting of tourist arrivals should be stopped; we should turn to consumption and profitability, which is further contributed by designed and rich content, i.e. supply.

When it comes to the offer, the head of the Croatian Tourist Board Staničić presented a list of most requested offers: in the first place are still the sun and the sea, then cycling, tourists often look for adrenaline tourism, and high in the place of tourist demand is gastronomy. Looking at the reservations, Staničić says that currently tourists mostly book holiday homes, followed by accommodation in camps, small hotels, but nautical tourism is also good. The head of the Croatian Tourist Board is optimistic about this season and expects it to be at 60 percent of the one from 2019, while in 2020 it was at 50 percent.

Tourist season: Hot or Not?

Communication Department

Photographs: Rahela Poljak

Date of publication: June 15, 2021