2019 was the best year yet for the Croatian tourism industry, with nearly 21 million arrivals and 108.6 million overnight stays, up by 5% and 2.4% respectively, while 2020 is expected to see a continuation of positive trends, with tourist turnover increasing by 3-5%, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli told a press conference on Tuesday.
Cappelli said he expected total revenues to have increased by up to 8%, but added that exact figures would be released by the central bank at the end of March.
"Based on the data for the first nine months of 2019, when revenues were 9% higher, we can say that revenues for the whole of 2019 will be about 5%, and possibly up to 8%, higher than in 2018. This is supported by excellent spending during the Christmas period and the total increase in daily tourist spending in the last year and a half by about 20%, from 79 to 97 euro," the minister said.
"Already now we know that last year spending by visitors staying at hotels increased by 18% to about 140 euro a day, spending by those staying at campsites rose by about 8% to 70-odd euro a day, and spending by tourists staying in private accommodation increased to about 96 euro a day," he added.
Cappelli also noted the increased quality of service, saying that HRK 1.05 billion had been invested in the tourism industry last year, and based on a survey conducted by the ministry, investments are expected to increase this year by about 20% to HRK 1.07 billion. A further HRK 3-5 billion was expected to be invested this year as a result of a new bill on tourism land, which should be passed in the first half of the year.
Cappelli said that a national plan for sustainable tourism was expected to be presented later this year. "This is an important goal for us during the Croatian presidency of the Council of the EU. We will call on the EU member states to follow in the same direction because only quality, responsible and sustainable tourism, which incorporates digitisation and smart solutions, has a future."
Announcing major promotional activities for 2020, Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) Director Kristjan Stanicic said that the aim was to strengthen the brand, tourist spending and Croatia's position in remote markets, while maintaining its good position in the European markets.
"Because of the Croatian EU presidency, the HTZ has already begun a branding campaign in several European markets, which will be conducted basically all year round," Stanicic said, adding that a special focus would be on promoting nautical and business tourism and on further cooperation with large global companies such as Google, LonelyPlanet and Expedie. He said that Croatia would participate in over 40 international travel shows and about 100 presentations.