In 2020, Croatia observed 7.8m arrivals (-62.5%) and 54.4m overnight stays (-50%).
The much-anticipated end of 2020 has arrived with glimmers of hope arising for the coming new year. The Croatian tourist season has not been as bad as expected with respect to the ongoing pandemic. With travel restrictions all across the world and quarantine measures in place as well as increased fear of people it comes with no surprise that tourist numbers have fallen. Arrivals have fallen by 62.5% and tourist nights dropped by around 50%.
Observing the numbers, Croatia had a total of 7.8m visits in 2020 compared to 20.7m in the previous year. Comprising the total amount for 2020, 6.1m tourists were foreign or 78.7% and 1.7m were domestic. When looking at foreign tourist numbers, there was a decrease of 66.6% in foreigners’ visits in 2020 compared to the previous year. This large decrease can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, causing numerous travel restrictions and prerequisites concerning corona-negative tests needed to travel abroad.
Taking a look at tourist nights, we can see that there is less pronounced fall compared to visits. In 2020 Croatia had a total of 54.4m overnight stays compared to 108.7m in 2019. This shows that this year the average tourist stayed approximately 7 nights compared to around 5 nights in 2019. When looking at only foreign tourists we gather the same results with the average stay increasing from 5 in 2019 to 7 nights in 2020. This could potentially be the result of tourist visiting less destinations during their holiday due to the travel restrictions in place as well as the fact that the more places you visit the higher chance you have of getting the virus, discouraging the tourist from going to many places. Of total tourist nights realized, foreign tourists account for 43.1m or 79.2%. Of that, tourists from Germany lead the list, accounting for 23.3% of total nights.
In terms of arrivals by county, Istria leads the list with 24.2%. Next comes Kvarner with 18.7% and third is Splitsko-Dalmatinska with 17.4%. Looking at the type of accommodation in which the tourists stay, we can see that the largest decline was felt by the hotel industry with respect to the number of arrivals with a decline of 75.6% to 1.9m compared to 7.9m in 2019. The number of overnight stays in hotels decreased by 72.9% to 6.9m in 2020.
The Croatian Tourism Association is optimistic about the 2021 tourist season, thanks to the recent announcements of a COVID-19 vaccine becoming readily available. The biggest hope is coming from the fact that Germany expects to have vaccinated 70% of the population by the summer of 2021, meaning that the country which has the largest influx of tourists into Croatia will most likely increase their number of visits in 2021.