In May 2023, the total number of tourist arrivals amounted to 1.71m, an increase of 32% YoY. On the other hand, the total number of tourist nights amounted to 6.3m, an increase of 29% YoY.
The Croatian Tourist Board has recently released its latest report on the progress of the tourism sector, encompassing the most recent data for May 2023. According to the report, there has been a significant increase in the total number of tourist arrivals, totaling 1.7m, representing a YoY growth of 32%. Foreign tourist arrivals accounted for the majority, reaching 1.45m, exhibiting a noteworthy YoY increase of 40%. Conversely, domestic tourist arrivals amounted to 260k, indicating a slight decline of 1% YoY.
In terms of tourist nights, May 2023 witnessed a total of 6.3m overnight stays, an increase of 29% YoY. Of this, foreign tourist nights accounted for 5.63m, reflecting an increase of 33% YoY. On the other hand, domestic tourist nights reached 670k, denoting a modest YoY growth of 3%. Consequently, the average duration of stay per person amounted to 3.7 nights, displaying a slight decrease of 2% YoY.
Total tourist arrivals and total tourist nights in Croatia (January 2019 – May 2023)
Source: Bloomberg, InterCapital Research
Analyzing the distribution of tourist nights by accommodation type, the majority of visitors opted for hotels, constituting 35.9% of the total. This was followed by stays in private real estate at 23.2%, camping accommodations at 22.3%, and other types of accommodations at 18.6%. Regarding the breakdown of tourist nights by country of origin, Germany held the largest share with 22.3% of the total, followed by Austria at 10.8% and the domestic market at 10.8%. In terms of overnight stays, Istria continues to hold the strongest position with 1.55m nights, followed by Splitsko-dalmatinska with 910k nights, Kvarner with 720k nights, and Dubrovačko-neretvanska with 530k nights.
Compared to 2019, total number of arrivals increased by 4% compared to 2019. For foreign tourists, the growth in arrivals amounts to 3%, while for domestic tourists, to 16% compared to 2019. In terms of tourist nights, the total number compared to 2019 is 13% higher, and foreign tourist nights increased by 13%, while domestic tourist nights by 10%. Finally, looking at the YTD data, in the first 5 months of 2023, the total number of arrivals amounted to 3.78m, an increase of 1% compared to 2019. Meanwhile, total YTD tourist nights amounted to 12.2m, an increase of 8% compared to 2019.
Taking all of this together, the current trend for Croatian tourism seems quite positive. This is in contrast to the expectations from the previous year that the summer season might not turn out to be that good, as high inflation rates, and thus reduced disposable incomes, combined with higher prices, might have deterred a higher number of tourist arrivals. Furthermore, recent reports indicate that rental accommodations are fully booked until the end of September, and forward-looking data, such as booking numbers from various online reservation platforms, provide further reassurance for businesses within the tourism sector. We expect that 2023 will surpass 2019 in terms of the number of tourist nights, and 2022 in terms of revenue. Finally, Croatia’s inclusion in the Schengen and Eurozone further supports this upward trend.