Croatia records steady tourism growth in first half of this year

Croatia’s tourism industry achieved new growth in the first half of 2019, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli announced here on Tuesday at the press conference.

Compared to the same period last year, 6.88 million more visits (6.39 percent growth) and 26.26 million more overnight stays (3.02 percent growth) were recorded this year.

Cappelli and Kristjan Stanicic, director of the Croatian tourist board, said they are satisfied with the results, especially with the growth of arrivals from long-haul travel markets.

In the first six months this year, nearly 180,000 Chinese tourists visited Croatia. It is 41 percent more than in the first half of 2018.

“Tourists from the long-haul travel markets account almost 20 percent of all visits and 10 percent of overnight stays. We kept a stable position in our traditional tourist markets in Europe and achieved double-digit growth on the long-haul markets such as the U.S., Canada, China, South Korea, and Australia,” Stanicic told reporters.

The airport traffic also grew in the first six months this year. Pula airport in the northern Adriatic grew 16 percent, Rijeka airport 19 percent and Zadar Airport in Dalmatia 30 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Germany was still the biggest source of tourists for Croatia. In the first half of this year, there were 946,522 overnight stays by German visitors.

The tourism minister said that he expects successful results in the second half of the year as well, and a three percent growth of the tourism industry.

“We are not looking for a growth of 10 or 15 percent. We want to preserve the environment, have a quality offer and sustainable growth,” Cappelli explained.

In the first six months, the top three destinations in Croatia were Dubrovnik (1.5 million overnight stays), Rovinj (1.2 million overnight stays) and Zagreb (1.1 million overnight stays).

Istria is the most popular county with 7.6 million overnight stays, Split-Dalmatia County came second with 4.7 million stays and the third was Kvarner in the northern Adriatic with 4.3 million overnight stays.

The financial results in the first half of the year were also better than in 2018. According to the latest data, revenues increased by 25 million euros (28 million U.S. dollars).