During the first day of the World Travel Market 2011 in London yesterday, statistics for the number of British visitors to Croatia this year were revealed – showing promising growth for the year.
During the first 10 months of this year, 260,000 Brits travelled to Croatia which is more than the number visiting the country during the whole of last year. There were 5% more British tourists in Croatia from January to October 2011 compared to the same period in 2010, whilst the number of nights stayed by British tourists in these ten months was also 5% up on last year.
More exciting than that, however, is the visitor numbers outside of the main height of the season. Healthy growth in British tourist numbers occurred during both pre- and post-season, and in this October alone, there were 17% more British visitors than in October 2010.
The above figures are still some way off the pre-war days – when nearly half a million British tourists visited Croatia each year – but it is certainly a step back to the level of visitors before 1991, and especially to the number of Brits who visited out of season back in those days.
Visiting Croatia is of course becoming easier for British tourists year on year – Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Niko Bulic, revealed that there were 70 flights between the UK and Croatia and 163 UK tour operators offering holidays to the country. (Gosh, we remember the days when a mere handful of companies sold holidays to the country and there was practically no choice of airline!)
We have mentioned a number of new air routes to Croatia for 2012 – see our Getting There by Air 2012 page details of all announced air routes, including new ones – and Croatian newspaper Vjesnik reports that discussions are taking place with a number of other airline companies. (We eagerly await to see what comes of this – if anything!) The newspaper reports that this year’s Jet2.com lines to Split and Dubrovnik brought 50,000 passengers from the UK.
Possible negative effects from the current economic downturn on visitor numbers may be lessened – according to Vjesnik – because of the proximity of Croatia to the UK, as holidaymakers chose to holiday closer to home in tough economic times. The two-hour (or thereabouts) flight to Croatia from the UK also means the country can position itself well in the short break market.
However, Vjesnik also states that some UK tour operators believe Croatia’s top category hotels are rated too generously, whilst another negative is that package holidays to the country can be more expensive than similar ones in other Mediterranean countries.