Croatian Tourism in 2023 – Will This Be Another Record Year?

In August 2023, the total number of tourist arrivals amounted to 4.64m, representing an increase of 1% YoY. At the same time, the total tourist nights amounted to 31.5m, which is a decrease of 2% YoY. Furthermore, on a YTD basis compared to 2019, both the total tourist arrivals and total tourist nights were 2% lower. However, given the increase in revenues and continued investments into higher-end tourism, Croatia is able to attract more and more higher-end customers, leading to a record year overall.

The Croatian Tourism Board has published the latest report on the development of Croatian tourism, for August 2023. According to the report, the number of tourist arrivals amounted to 4.64m, representing an increase of 1% YoY. Of this, foreign arrivals amounted to 4.24m, while domestic arrivals amounted to 403k, both increasing by 1% YoY. Furthermore, the total tourist nights amounted to 31.5m, representing a decrease of 2% YoY. Of this, foreign tourist nights accounted for 27.7m, or 88% of the total, decreasing by 2% YoY, while domestic tourist arrivals amounted to 3.79m, increasing by 2% YoY. Taking this into account, the average stay per person amounted to 6.78 nights, representing a decrease of 2.9% YoY.

Total tourist arrivals and tourist nights in Croatia (January 2019 – August 2023)

Source: HTZ, InterCapital Research

Similar to July, 85% of the tourist nights were registered in the commercial accommodation, 12% in the non-commercial accommodation, whilst the nautical accommodation had 3%. Inside the commercial accommodation, 50% (or 13.3m) of nights were made in private accommodation, 23% (or 6.4m) were made in camps, 19% (or 5m) in hotels, and the remaining 8% in the other types of accommodation. In terms of the tourist nights by country of origin, the largest number of tourists came from Germany, at 23%, followed by Croatia at 12%, Slovenia at 9%, Poland and Austria at 7% each, Italy at 6%, and the Czech Republic at 5%. Meanwhile, if we were to look at the results by counties in which the tourists spent most nights, Istra had the largest amount, at 8.7m, followed by Splitsko-dalmatinska at 5.9m, Kvarner at 5.6m, Zadarska at 5m, Šibensko-kninska at 2.2m, Dubrovačko-neretvanska at 2.1m, and Ličko-senjska, at 1.1m.

Compared to 2019, the total number of arrivals is 6% lower, with 7% fewer foreign arrivals, but 5% higher domestic arrivals. In terms of tourist nights, there were 5% fewer total nights, of which there were 4% less foreign tourist nights and 7% less domestic tourist nights. Furthermore, on a YTD basis compared to 2019, total tourist arrivals were 2% lower, driven by the 4% decrease in foreign arrivals, slightly offset by the 15% growth in domestic arrivals. The same decrease can be seen with tourist nights, i.e. 2%, with foreign nights being 1% lower, while domestic nights were 3% lower.

Taking all of this into account, the story of Croatian tourism might seem mixed. There has been a decrease in the number of arrivals and nights when compared to 2019, the “record” year that everything in Croatian tourism is compared to. There is a slight increase in arrivals on a YoY basis, but a decrease in nights. According to media reports, there has been a double-digit growth in prices recorded, far outweighing the decrease in tourist arrivals/nights. As such, record revenues will be recorded from tourism, this year.

This can be attributed to several things. Firstly, the accommodation capacity, infrastructure, gastronomic and cultural offer have been improving each year. So the selling proposition for tourists is getting better, year by year. The good results are also supported by the fact that in 2022, and especially back in 2021, Croatia was less restrictive and considered safer than other destinations whilst the effects of the pandemic were still prevalent. This led to more people opting for it than other destinations. Secondly, some of the Croatian destinations have been successfully repositioning towards high-end and premium destinations: Istria, Dubrovnik, and nautical tourism are some of them. Thirdly, many destinations that are not fully premium are starting to offer higher-level services which is a way to attract higher-paying guests. Of course, if price levels improve, and the general economic situation does as well, this impact will serve Croatia well in the following years. On the other hand, if the slowdown in the economy continues in 2024, higher-paying guests hopefully won’t be hit as hard. If the current level of tourist arrivals is maintained, we should still see a solid tourism season next year. As such, hopefully, we won’t be competing with Mediterranean destinations like Greece or Turkey and will be more comparable with Italy and France.

Category : Flash News

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