Daily: Croatia preferred choice for more Serbian holidaymakers than ever before

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Source: Unsplash / Alan Laiter Garza

The number of Serbian nationals currently vacationing in Croatia is 60 percent up from 2021 and 20 percent up from the previous record-high in 2019, state news agency Hina said on Wednesday, citing Vecernji List daily.

“Croatia-Serbia tourism relations could be said to have normalized in recent years but things get stirred up slightly every year in August, when Croatia celebrates the 1995 military Operation Storm, on which the two countries have diametrically opposed views, and when embittered comments are made,” Hina said, citing Vecernji List.

“Operation Storm was a Croatian joint military and police operation that ended a Serb armed rebellion on 5 August 1995, and restored Croatian sovereignty over occupied central and southern parts of the country. It also resulted in a mass exodus of Croatian Serbs,” Hina explained.

“This year, a resentful comment was made by the mayor of Novi Sad, Milos Vucevic, who said that he did not want to condemn anyone but that he would never be able to understand Serbs vacationing in Croatia on 5 August,” Hina added.

“This year, on that day, around 13,500 Serbian nationals were vacationing in Croatia and none of them reported having any problems over their nationality, just like 127,000 Serbian nationals who have visited Croatia since the start of 2022,” Hina said, probably citing Vecernji List.

“The number of Serbian nationals vacationing in Croatia is 60 percent higher than in the same period of 2021 and as much as 20 percent higher than in 2019, the year with record-high tourism results. The good results are also owing to activities by the Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) and local HTZ offices. Even though Serbia is not a priority market for Croatia, a study tour was organized for a crew of the Serbian state television RTS’s SAT programme, which has an audience of close to one million,” state agency Hina cited Vecernji List daily as saying.

“Guests from Serbia and not different from visitors from other European countries. They change destinations, explore and visit depending on their interests and budget, and their hosts in Croatia treat them the same way they treat other guests. Our tourism workers do not care about politics or their guests’ nationality, and the issue of the safety of Serbian visitors stopped being a topic some seven-eight years ago. I’m not saying that some of the Serbian guests have not experienced an unpleasant situation, a car break-in or something like that, but the same thing happens to German or Italian visitors,” Boris Zgomba, head of the association of travel agencies with the Croatian chamber of commerce HGK and CEO of the Uniline tourism company, which runs an office in Serbia, was quoted as saying.

“This year his agency has seen a year-on-year increase in interest in the Serbian market in vacations in Croatia and over the past few years Serbian visitors’ interest in Croatia has spread from destinations in the regions of Istria and Kvarner to Dalmatia,” Hina cited Vecernji List as saying.

Hina did not report absolute numbers of visitors from Serbia.