Croatian travel agents brought in more foreign tourists in 2010 than in 2009

Newly released statistics show that 5.4% more foreign tourists came to Croatia via the country’s tour operators in 2010 than in the previous year, amounting to about 100,000 more foreign holidaymakers – with 1.83 million tourists booking through Croatian travel agents in total. These holidaymakers stayed in the country for 12.6 million nights, which is about 1 million nights – or 9.3% more – than in 2009.

As 9.11 million foreign tourists visited Croatia during 2010, the above figures mean that Croatian travel agents brought in about 20.1% of all foreign holidaymakers. Likewise, the number of nights stayed by foreign tourists totaled 51 million, which means that these travel agents accounted for 25% of such bookings.

On average, tourists booking through Croatian travel agencies stayed for seven nights in total. German tourists stayed for the most nights booked through travel agencies – 25.4% of the total – followed by those from Italy (9.2%); Poland (7.4%); Czech Republic (7%); Slovenia (6.3%); Great Britain (5.2%); France (5%) and Russia (5%).

Croatian travel agents also reported an increase in the number of bookings made by domestic tourists (up 8.5%), in contrast to overall figures of domestic tourism in Croatia, which reveal a fall in the number of these tourists holidaying in 2010 compared to 2009.

Meanwhile, these agencies also reveal that more Croatian tourists travelled abroad during 2010 than compared to the previous year – 4.6% more travelled abroad, staying for 6.1% more nights. The most popular countries for Croatian tourists – booking through domestic agencies – were Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Tunisia – and on average, these tourists stayed for 5 nights.

Overall, therefore, these statistics show that Croatian tour operators performed much better in 2010 to 2009, but are still down on the bookings taken in all sectors in 2008. 899 agencies operated in Croatia in 2010, 25 less than the previous year.

Source: Vjesnik

Croatian hotels’ views on online marketing and sales

A recent survey by Croatian website Posloni Turizam, which concentrates on the promotion of business tourism in Croatia, revealed the extent to which Croatian hotels use the Internet as a means of marketing and to attract sales.

The survey, conducted amongst 95 hotels, showed that all have websites (I certainly would not be able to believe that any hotel wouldn’t in this day and age!), whilst 93% offer means for booking accommodation online – shame on those who don’t! Even fewer,  79.3% of these hotels, offer a way of accepting payment online. However, 93.1% of these hotels do offer their accommodation through some kind of travel portal or booking site, such as or Expedia.

Whilst it may be thought that online booking would be a very popular method of attracting sales, respondents in the survey revealed somewhat otherwise. Only 17.3% of these hotels said that online booking accounted for half of their total bookings. 15.5% said they achieved 25-50% of total bookings online, while by far most – 56.9% – said this method accounted for up to only 25% of their total bookings.

However, about half (in fact 49.8%) of those that took part in the survey suggested that in five years’ time, they expect the Internet to account for half of total bookings taken. For that reason, these hotels intend to invest more in Internet marketing in the future, although at present 44.8% of these hotels stated that less than a quarter of their marketing budget went on advertising online. At the present time, those that do engage in online marketing say that they advertise on search engines (which 65% of respondents claimed they do); banner advertising (58%); targeted online advertising on foreign sites (55%); and advertising on Facebook (51%).

Source: Vecernji

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest comes to a close

The final weekend of the first ever Dubrovnik Carnival Fest is already upon us, and there are a number of events taking place today, tomorrow and Sunday that will delight visitors and residents of Dubrovnik.

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Tonight, 4th March, will see carnival participants from five countries (Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovenia and Croatia) take part in a carnival parade down Stradun at 8.30pm, followed by at party at the Carnival Park at 9pm (and open until 2am!) with live music.

Saturday, 5th March sees another parade take place on Stradun at 11am, with the above five carnival groups from Croatia and abroad once again taking part, presenting their original costumes and carnival performances in front of the Church of St Blaise.

Saturday evening sees the music final take place at Culture Club Revelin, with 16 songs battling it out to be crowned champion of the Dubrovnik Carnival Fest. There will also be performances from the Metropolitan Circus from Tirana, Albania, plus music from the Strumica (Macedonia) orchestra and choir, performing traditional Macedonian songs. A party until the early hours of the morning will then delight revellers, with Croatian pop band Magazin singing some of their hits.

Dubrovnik Carnival Fest

Sunday will be the final day of the Carnival Fest, with a parade once again taking place on Stradun from 11am, culminating in a final performance in front of the Church of St Blaise, with the winning songs from the previous night’s award ceremony performed.

Croatia in the press – 2010 in review

We at Visit Croatia actively follow all mentions of the country (on all subjects, but from a travel perspective most of all!) in the papers and see the full spectrum of different types of articles, from well-researched to poor, detailed to the hole-filled, incredibly useful to the downright patronising! We try and put together all travel articles (and even a simple mention here or there – if it’s worth it) on Croatia in our What The Others Say section. (We’ve got links to articles going right back to 1998 – take a look at how things have changed over the years!)

Having recently updated our 2011 Articles page, we took a look at the 2010 page and reminisced about some of the wonderful articles published on Croatia.

Here are our favourite pieces (these aren’t ranked in order of how much we like them, but purely on when they were published, oldest to newest!):

– First up, a nice piece on Zagreb titled On the edge of elegance from the Sydney Morning Herald. Arriving by train from Split, author Nicola Walker enjoys the very grand (though yes, it is pricey) Regent Esplanade hotel, once used by travellers from the Orient Express.

– Natalie Paris enjoys Summer Festival-hopping in the Daily Telegraph – thought not festivals of the more modern, dance kind! Instead she uncovers some more traditional and well-established ones, such as medieval games on Rab and the film festival in Motovun.

– Not really a travel article, it was still enjoyable to read how Trogir was used as a filming location – in place of 16th-century Venice – for an episode of Doctor Who, again in the Daily Telegraph: Why Doctor Who is vamping it up in Croatia. [Edit: Link no longer works, unfortunately.] Trogir also stood in for 19th-century France in another episode in the series!

– The Financial Times explored the delights of the tranquil islands near Zadar on a sailing holiday: The deserted bays of Kornati islands.

– Radio station BBC 6 Music – via the BBC News website – had a really enjoyable piece on the INmusic Festival that takes place every June in Zagreb. Last year’s event saw acts like The Flaming Lips and Massive Attack perform; the BBC spoke to them, whilst also taking a general look at the Festival: A Massive Attack of music in Croatia.

– Travel expert Simon Calder recounts a trip to the “secret” island of Solta, near Split, in the Independent: Slavic secret: Solta is steeped in history and rich in beauty. Whilst it’s perhaps not quite as overlooked as he writes, it certainly isn’t an island at the top of people’s lists so enjoyable to read about.

– A lovely piece in the Guardian by Kate Edgley about a biking holiday in Croatia is nicely dotted with some humorous touches: Blazing saddles: Croatia on two wheels

– In a similarly (well, -ish) active vein, David Atkinson in The Daily Telegraph enjoys a slightly different side of the island of Brac by embarking on a walking holiday there: Brac: Walking in the rural heart of Croatia.

– Finally – so good, we had to give them a second entry – the truffles of Istria and the restaurants they are served in are covered by Anja Mutic in the Washing Post: Falling in love with truffles on Croatia’s Istrian peninsula.

Croatia and its sights, resorts, beaches and more received numerous accolades throughout 2010, perhaps best of all being named 4th favourite European country in the Guardian’s Travel Awards, as voted for by their readers.

And finally – as they always say in newscasts! Something we’ve delighted in reading about over the year – and it has received plenty of coverage from a very wide range of sources – is the unusual Museum of Broken Hearts in Zagreb. There’s no better way to discover a bit of it than in this short report from the BBC News website: Sad stories from the Museum of Broken Relationships.

10.6m tourists in Croatia in 2010

Croatian Television today reported on some interesting tourist statistics for last year, revealing that 10.6 million tourists enjoyed a holiday in Croatia during 2010, up 3.2% on the year before. These tourists stayed for 56.41 million nights in total, which is also an increase – of 2.6% – on 2009.

These figures include both foreign and domestic (i.e. Croatian) tourists, although the number of the former far outweighs the latter. 86% of tourists – or 9.11 million – were foreign visitors, who stayed for 90.4% of all visitors nights, amounting to 51 million nights. These figures for foreign tourists are up 5% and 3.6% on 2009 respectively.

Although domestic tourist make up only a small proportion of visitor numbers, their numbers actually declined in 2010 compared to the year before. Croatian tourist numbers went done by 5.3% in 2010, and they stayed for 5.8% fewer nights.

Judged by the number of nights they stayed in Croatia, visitors from Germany were the most active tourist group, staying for 22.5% of the total amount of foreign tourist nights. They were then followed by visitors from Slovenia (11.5%); Italy (9.3%); Austria (8.7%); the Czech Republic (8.2%); Poland (5.7%); the Netherlands (4.4%); and Slovakia (4.1%).

Russian visitors posted the greatest increase in numbers, with 165,000 arrivals (35.3% up) in 2010, staying for 1.37 million nights (30.8% up). There were also healthy increases in visitor numbers from Ukraine, Turkey and China. Interestingly, however, Japanese visitor numbers fell by 9.8% from 2009 to 2010.

Source: HRT

Rijeka - Peek & Poke Museum

Museum Night in Croatia, 28th January 2011

Tonight (28th January 2011) sees a very interesting cultural event take place in cities all over Croatia. Museum Night 2011 sees a number of museums in the country throw open their doors in the evening, between the hours of 6pm to 1am, and invite in visitors for free.

Rijeka - Peek & Poke Museum
Peek & Poke Museum in Rijeka

In total, 130 venues such as museums (41 of these), galleries and other venues (schools, libraries and tourist boards) in 60 towns and cities in Croatia will be partipating in the night. As well as showcasing their usual collections, many will also be putting on special events such as live music, film screenings and workshops. Slobodna Dalmacija writes that the Narona Archeological Museum in Vid, near Metkovic will be putting on a Roman pottery-making workshop, whilst our forum friend Martin Mayhew writes that the Peek & Poke Museum in Rijeka is well worth a visit.

A full listing of which museums are participating and the events that they are holding can be found on the Croatian Museum Association website. (In Croatian only, unfortunately!) More info can also be found on Museum Night’s Facebook page.

Last year’s event attracted almost 300,000 visitors, which is about a twelfth of the entire population of the Croatia! Clearly a very popular event, the most visited museum was the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

If you’re in Croatia tomorrow, it’s well worth popping along to your local museum and joining in the fun!

Other sources: Jutarnji, Wikipedia

Montenegro is just like Croatia…except it’s not!

I had to laugh at a very glaring error in a Sunday Mirror travel article on Montenegro – published this past Sunday – that leapt out at me as soon as I read it. On Montenegro, the Mirror states that:

The main draw is the picturesque coastline, made of 72 miles of beaches and dotted with ancient towns… and more than a thousand islands.

More than a thousand islands? Wow, that sounds just like Croatia! In fact, that is Croatia, not Montenegro. And whilst Montenegro does of course have a picturesque coastline, indeed with 72 miles of beaches, one thing it does not have is many islands! Certainly nowhere near Croatia’s (estimated) 1,246 islands…

We would of course encourage people to consider exploring Croatia’s neighbouring country Montenegro (how about a day trip from Dubrovnik – or maybe on a holiday with time in both countries?) but would suggest ignoring the dubious Mirror article (what does Morgan Freeman landing at Dubrovnik Airport have to do with Montenegro?) and reading some better researched text!

Article: Travel: Montenegro, jewel of the Adriatic, has it all (The Mirror, 23rd January 2011)

Readers’ Favourite Destination in Croatia

In case you’ve missed it, check out what our readers voted as their favourite destination in Croatia, and see what other towns, islands and resorts make the top 10 list.

Let us know your thoughts! Do you agree? Would you liked to have seen another place take top spot? Leave your comments here or email

British Airways sale – return flights to Dubrovnik from £98!

As you may have seen and read, British Airways are currently running a sale with a variety of good offers to destinations all over the world – although of particular interest to us here at Visit Croatia are the deals they have on their flights and holidays to Dubrovnik!

They are offering flights to this wonderful Dalmatian destination in January, February and March from only £49 one-way or £98 return. That’s a great price, especially when you consider that all taxes are included plus, of course, a whole host of services not found on certain other (i.e. low-cost) airlines! (Think generous free baggage allowances, in-flight meals and so on.)

They are also offering deals on holidays in Dubrovnik, with a return flight plus a 2-night stay in a three star hotel costing from only £139, or £169 for the same holiday in a four star hotel. Alternatively, a return flight plus 7 days car hire costs from £229.

As mentioned, all the above deals are only available for holidays or flights booked during January to March (exact dates are 6th January to 31st March), although there are still good deals available on flights for the following months too.

I’ve found return flights to Dubrovnik during July and August being offered from £145 (once again, including taxes) which is a great deal for the height of summer. If you’re interesting in flying to Dubrovnik in June, there’s flights from a slightly more expensive £158 return, which again is not a bad price at all.

British Airways has a helpful cheapest fares to Dubrovnik in economy grid which is an easy way of seeing how much flights cost during the different months.

The sale ends 25th January 2011, so you do have some time left to book – though the best deals are sure to go soon, so act quickly!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In case you are wondering, the sentence in Croatian isn’t quite the same as the English one – it, in fact, translates to “Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2011!”

Either way, we wish our readers both the Croatian and English sentiments! Thank you for reading in 2010.