In July 2023, the total number of arrivals amounted to 4.8m, an increase of 4% YoY. Meanwhile, total nights amounted to 29.5m, remaining roughly the same YoY.
The most recent report on the progress and development of the Croatian tourist sector, for July 2023 has been released by the Croatian Tourism Board. In the report, we can see that the total number of arrivals amounted to 4.8m, an increase of 4% YoY. Of this, foreign tourists accounted for 4.4m, increasing by 4% YoY, while domestic tourists accounted for 411.5k arrivals, increasing by 6% YoY. On the other hand, total tourist nights amounted to 29.6m, remaining roughly the same YoY. Of this, foreign tourist nights amounted to 26.3m (or 89% of the total), a decrease of 0.5% YoY, while domestic tourist nights accounted for 3.3m, a 3% increase YoY. This would also mean that the average stay per person amounted to 6.15 nights, a decrease of 4% YoY.
Total tourist arrivals and tourist nights in Croatia (January 2019 – July 2023)
Source: HTZ, InterCapital Research
Looking at the tourist nights by accommodation, 85% of the nights were registered in commercial accommodation, 13% in non-commercial, and the remainder went to nautical accommodation. Of this, private accommodation had the largest share, at 12.7m tourist nights, representing 51% of the total tourist nights. Following them, we have camps at 5.8m (or 23% of the total), and hotels, at 4.7m (or 18% of the total).In terms of tourist nights by country of origin, 17% of the tourists came from Germany, followed by Slovenia with 13%, Croatia with 11%, Czechia, Poland, and Austria with 7% each, and Slovakia with 5%. Looking at the tourist nights by counties, the largest amount was registered by Istra at 7.9m, followed by Splitsko-dalmatinska at 5.7m, Kvarner at 5.3m, Zadarska at 4.9m and Dubrovačko-neretvanska at 2.1m.
When we compare these numbers to 2019, we can see that the total number of tourist arrivals increased by 5%. Of this, foreign arrivals increased by 4%, while domestic arrivals increased by 16%. On the other hand, the total number of nights decreased by 3%, and of this, domestic tourist nights decreased by 7%, while foreign tourist nights decreased by 3%. Meanwhile, on a YTD basis, the total tourist nights amounted to 56.8m, which compared to the same period in 2019, remains unchanged.
If we take all of this into account, but also the various media reports regarding Croatian tourism, the picture is both positive and negative. It is evident that we have reached the 2019’s level in terms of tourist arrivals and nights but given the fact that 2022 only missed this mark by a couple of percentage points, the YoY growth isn’t that impressive. The main reason for this, of course, is the pricing. Even though the expenses in the industry have been going up for a while now, and inflationary pressures are still present, it would seem that tourists, especially foreign ones are less and less inclined to spend as long, or as much in Croatia as they were in the previous years. Last year, a lot of talk in this period was that the price growth could be weathered due to the savings made during the pandemic. Right now however, after almost 2 years of heightened inflation which hit the disposable incomes across the emissive markets for Croatia, it would seem that the tourists are a lot more cautious when it comes to spending their money, which given the price growth seems justified. Will this remain the case going forward, or will the situation improve mostly depends on the tourist companies as well as private accommodation owners’ willingness to keep prices stable, or even reduce them. This is especially true if we also take into account the competition from neighboring countries, which seemed to have capitalized well on this opportunity by offering lower prices.