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

Low cost airlines help Zadar Airport grow

Yesterday’s Slobodna Dalmacija featured an interesting article on passenger numbers at Zadar Airport, with 2010’s seasonal flight timetable coming to an end this past weekend.

This article reveals that this year, 270,000 passengers passed through the airport, which adds up to a very healthy 28% increase on 2009 – and a massive jump from 2006, when only 65,000 passengers travelled through.

64% of travellers arriving at the airport flew with Ryanair, which has links from eleven European cities in England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and Norway to Zadar. Germanwings flights from four cities accounted for 17% of passenger traffic at the airport.

In total, 80% of passengers at Zadar Airport arrive with low-cost airlines, which has helped the airport considerably over the years; only six years ago, the airport was threatened with the possibility of closure due to low usage. Benefits to the area are easy to imagine – and, in fact, a study was conducted last year that showed how 80,000 tourists arriving with Ryanair and Germanwings  earn the local economy €40 million.

Low-cost flights to Zadar Airport are due to start up again on 28th March 2011, though routes are yet to be confirmed. Lufthansa, however,  has stated that it will increase the number of flights it operates to the Dalmatian airport up to three flights per week.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija

Tourism stats for September revealed

Earlier this week, a number of Croatian newspaper covered the release of tourism statistics for Croatia for the month of September – and therefore also the stats for the first nine months of 2010 overall.

For September, Croatia received 1.1 million tourists, an increase of 3% over the same month last year. Meanwhile, these visitors stayed for a total of 6.6 million nights (6.2 million of which can be attributed to foreign visitors), an increase of 6% over 2009.

A number of regions received a healthy increase in overnight stays this September from last year, with Split-Dalmatia the most successful, achieving an increase of 20%. Zadar and Sibenik-Knin also fared quite well, with increases in 15% and 14% respectively. Dubrovnik-Neretva, perhaps unsurprisingly due to the popularity of Dubrovnik, also reached a healthy increase of 12% whilst it’s also rather pleasing to see that Zagreb – sometimes overlooked as a visitor destination in favour of the coast – achieved an increase of 13%. On the other hand, the region of Kvarner – home to resorts such as Opatija and Crikvenica, and the islands of Krk and Cres – didn’t fair anywhere near as well, with an overall decrease in overnight stays of 2% from 2009, whilst Istria and Lika-Senj, in which Plitvice Lakes are situated, reached the same levels as last September.

In terms of visitor arrivals, Split-Dalmatia received 16% more visitors this September and Zagreb 10% – whilst Sibenik-Knin (despite its healthy increase in overnight stay numbers) and Istria received 4% fewer visitors and Kvarner 3%.

Visitors from Russia were the most numerous this September – they accounted for 43% of arrivals and 41% of nights stayed – although there were also good numbers of visitors from American, Spain and Poland.

All of this means that overall for 2010, there have been 9.8 million tourists and 59 million overnight stays (53 million by foreign visitors) in Croatia, with tourism Damir Bajs saying that another 1 million tourists are expected by year end.

In terms of visitor nationalities for the year as a whole, there have been increases in tourists from “primary countries” of Slovenia (up 6%), Czech Republic (5%), Germany (3%), Austria (2%), whilst there has been quite a sharp fall in visitor numbers from Italy (down 9%) as well as a fall in visitor numbers from the Netherlands (down 4%). As with September, there has also been a big rise in visitor numbers from Russia for the whole year – up 34% – with 18% more Spaniards in 2010 and 8% more visitors from Poland.

Source: Vecernji & Vjesnik

Zadar Tourist Board reveals its visitor numbers for 2010

Yesterday’s edition of the Dalmatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija reported on statistics provided by the Zadar Tourist Board on the number of tourists in Zadar so far this year – and it’s a little bit of a mixed bag in comparison to 2009.

The tourist board has said it predicts that there will be over one million overnight stays in the town by the end of the year – and seeing as January to August this year already saw 918,343 stays, that’s not a bad prediction. This figure is a rather considerable rise of 13% over the same period last year. However, the number of overnight stays is split into 134,583 stays by Croatian guests (a fall of 3% from 2009) and 783,760 by foreign guests (up 16%). There were 217,030 guests in Zadar during the same period – 36,276 domestic tourists and 180,754 foreign – which is just 1% greater than in 2009.

However, there was actually a fall in the number guests for August alone. 63,182 guests came to Zadar during last month (6,141 domestic, 57,041 foreign) which is a drop of 4% from August last year. Despite the fall in the number of tourists visiting, there was still a rise in the number of overnight stays by 12% to 330,069.

Overall, therefore, the number of guests visiting Zadar is just above last year’s level, though the town’s guests are staying for quite a bit longer.

Top nationalities visiting Zadar were Italians and Germans – despite recording an overall fall in their numbers by 33% and 4% respectively. In the ranking of visitor numbers after these two were guests from Spain, France, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and the UK, with a healthy increase in numbers from the first two and last country reported. An increase in guests from Russia, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Australia and the US has also been noted.

Croatia’s tourist numbers, January – August 2010

Further to my post last week on tourism numbers in Croatia, and the tweets yesterday, many Croatian media sources have reported on the most up-to-date tourism numbers or the country for 2010 so far, which were presented at a meeting on tourism in Opatija this week. Over all, it’s good news – prompting Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, who was present at the meeting, to declare this year the best tourist season ever.

Overall figures for the year show an increase of 3% in the number of arrivals to Croatia, as well as an increase of 6% in overnight stays. (Numbers are compared to 2009’s figures.) This equates to 8.2 million tourist arrivals so far this year, and 51.7 million overnight stays.

All of the Adriatic counties have recorded increases in the number of overnight stays this year, between 4% and 12%. Dubrovnik-Neretva county has been the most successful, recording an increase of 12%. Most visitors were from Germany or Austria, whilst there was a healthy 30% increase in the number of Russian visitors – no doubt helped by the fact that Croatia suspended visa requirements for Russian citizens for the duration of the tourist season. There was, however, a rather severe drop of 13% in the number of Italian visitors.

Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs also stated that every 50th tourist in Europe came to Croatia this year, whilst for the third year in a row, Croatia has been above the European average for tourism numbers.

Sources: Vjesnik, VecernjiHRT

Hvar Croatia

Tourism stats for Croatia so far this year

A recent report in Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji unveiled some interesting statistics about the tourist season so far in Croatia. As often mentioned in the press, Croatia has had a successful July and August, with tourist growth in some regions in the double digits. Dalmatia and its towns and cities – such as Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik – had the best growth, particularly in August, but areas such as Istria and Kvarner which have struggled during the year, have also seen better results during August but far less than in Dalmatia.

Looking at various destinations, Hvar Tourist Board suggests that the island achieved a rise in visitors by 15% in July 2010 to the same month the previous year, whilst figures for August should be even better. Overall, the first seven months of the year saw a rise in visitor numbers by 16%; there was a vast increase in visitors from certain countries, including 34% more from Norway and 25% more from Spain.

Hvar, Croatia
Hvar Town, on the island of Hvar

Split, however, saw a 30% increase in the number of overnight stays during July, partially due to the fact that more and more people are choosing to stay in the city itself rather than just visit on a day trip. (The average length of stay has increased to 3.5 days.) The director of the tourist office there, Vedran Matosic, stated that there was an increased amount of visitors from England, the USA, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Dubrovnik, meanwhile, achieved 1.6 million overnight stays from the beginning of the year to 26th August, which is 12% greater than last year, whilst this statistic for the month of August could be between 10-15% higher than 2009. There’s an interesting increase in visitors from Spain (up 25%), Australia (35%) and Russia (30%), with 300% more visitors from Turkey and Greece – though, of course, visitors from these countries are still comparatively low in number.

The tourist association of Rovinj says that in terms of the number of overnight stays, their July is at the same level as 2009, whilst August was 2% better than the previous year – and for the year to 27th August, the number of overnight stays has also risen by 2%. So far, they’ve achieved 2.2 million stays, with 2.65 million expected by year end. The director of tourism in Rovinj, Odeta Sapac, believes the slower growth in Rovinj than in some Dalmatian resorts is a a result of the Istrian town having already nearly reached its capacity – and given the rise in popularity of the region even soon after the war, that may well be true.

Overall, Croatia has achieved 3% more visitors and 5% more overnight stays for the first seven months of 2010. By comparison, the Jutarnji article suggests that many European countries, such as Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece – are expecting a drop in the number of the visitors for the first months of this year.