In February 2023, overall tourist arrivals in Croatia equaled 278k, which is an increase of 19% YoY. At the same time, tourist nights amounted to 758k, representing an increase of 14% YoY.
Recently, the Croatian Tourist Board, HTZ, has released its latest monthly report on the developments and changes recorded by Croatian tourism, with a particular focus on the number of arrivals and tourist nights. According to the report, in February 2023, the total number of tourist arrivals amounted to 278k, representing an increase of 19% YoY. On the other hand, tourist nights amounted to 758k, which is an increase of 14% YoY.
Looking at the tourist arrivals first, we can see that out of the total, foreign tourists accounted for 146.8k, representing 53%, and they recorded an increase of 21% YoY. Meanwhile, domestic tourist arrivals amounted to 131.2k, or the remaining 47%, with an increase of 16% YoY. As February 2023 is still quite far off from the pre and main summer seasons, the number of arrivals is still quite limited. However, as 2022 has been a return to form for Croatian tourism (if not in the number of arrivals/nights, then at least in revenue), the continued growth we are seeing here is quite encouraging. This is especially true if we take into account the continue disposable income pressures faced by tourists across Europe due to inflation, especially in terms of food and energy costs. This also lead to higher prices of accommodation, which had an impact on the overall number as well. In fact, when compared to 2019, the total tourist arrivals are 3% lower, however, when broken down into foreign and domestic arrivals, we can see that this decline was marked primarily by foreign tourist arrivals declining, in this case by 17%. On the other hand, domestic tourist arrivals increased by 19%.
Moving on to the tourist nights, we can see that in total they amounted to 758k, an increase of 14% YoY. Of this, foreign tourists accounted for 474.6k, or 63% of the total, while domestic tourists accounted for the remaining 283.4k, or 37%. In terms of growth, foreign tourist nights grew by 18% YoY, while domestic tourist nights increased by 8%. Compared to 2019, total nights are actually 4% higher, with foreign tourist nights down by only 1%, while domestic tourist nights increased by 14%. This would also mean that the average stay per person amounted to 2.73, a decrease of only 4.3% YoY.
Total tourist arrivals and tourist nights in Croatia (January 2019 – February 2023)
Source: HTZ, InterCapital Research
Looking at the tourist nights by the type of accommodation, 59% stayed in hotels, 25% in private accommodation, 3% in camps, while 13% stayed in other types of accommodation. In terms of tourist nights by country of origin, domestic tourists accounted for 37% of the total, followed by Slovenia at 10%, Bosnia & Hercegovina at 7%, Austria at 6%, and finally, Germany at 5%.
Meanwhile, in terms of most visited counties, we can see that Istra continued to record the highest number of tourist nights, at 175.1k, followed by Kvarner at 131.7k, Grad Zagreb at 124.8k, Splitsko-dalmatinska at 86.4k, and Dubrovačko-neretvanska, at 45.9k.
Even though the data for the first 2 months of the year cannot give us an indication of the trends that are most interesting for the Croatian tourism industry, and that is the pre and summer-season expectation, we can see several things happening in February. First of all, the higher amount of hotel usage combined with a lot of domestic tourist nights can tell us that most of the travel is either business travel, or people traveling to visit family members. For foreign tourists, Istria and Kvarner still remain the regions of choice for foreign tourists.