Plitivice Lakes

Over 2 million visitors to Croatia’s national parks this year

A couple of news reports yesterday revealed that Croatia’s wonderful national parks have been very popular with visitors so far this year. A grand total of 2.12 million people have visited the country’s eight national parks during the first nine months of the year. Of this, almost 90% were foreign visitors (1.82 million being the actual figure), with the remaining 300,000 being domestic visitors.

The stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park was far and away the most popular, receiving 1.01 million visitors of the total figure. The park reached the important one-millionth visitor milestone – for the first time ever – in late September this year, which is a fantastic achievement. Last year the park had hoped to reach the magical one million mark, although ending up receiving only a few tens of thousands of visitors less. Given that this was for the whole of 2010, this year the park certainly looks like it will have very healthy growth in its visitor numbers. With its truly mesmerising mix of lakes and waterfalls, increased interest in the park this year is no real surprise – and we’ve noticed that there’s been plenty of press coverage on Plitvice too! (Such as this article from the Daily Mail.)

Plitvice Lakes

The second most popular national park was Krka, which received 652,000 visitors during January to September this year. This too is no surprise and given its location (close to the coast, with easy connections from Sibenik) and wonderful features including its many waterfalls (such as Skradinski Buk, a series of seventeen waterfalls). Visitors to Krka can also bathe in its waters (unlike in Plitvice), which makes for an enjoyable experience.

After Plitvice and Krk, Brijuni National Park, off the Istrian coast, came in third with 143,000 visitors. Paklenica National Park, a joy for hikers and climbers, was in fourth position with 107,100 visitors, whilst the national park on the island Mljet was in fifth place with 93,000 visitors. Sixth was Kornati National Park which welcomed 82,400 visitors whilst in seventh and eight were the national parks of Risnjak and Northern Velebit which received 17,000 visitors each.

Sources: Vjesnik, HRT, Vjesnik

Visitor nationalities in Croatia this year – and where they visited

The very healthy tourists numbers reported for Croatia for September and the first nine months of the year as a whole – as detailed in our previous post, Tourist numbers in Croatia up again in September – have also uncovered promising rises in the number of tourists from certain countries and the number of visitors for specific regions in Croatia itself.

September saw 1,274,460 visitors arrive in Croatia, up 15% on the same month in 2010. Of those, 105,484 were Slovenian (who, traditionally, always post healthy visitor numbers to Croatia), which is a rather impressive leap of 54% on September last year. Other nationalities that posted strong rises in their numbers during September were those from Austria (15% more), the Czech Republic (12% more) and Belgium (23%).

Onofrio's Fountain, DubrovnikTourists surround Onofrio’s Fountain in Dubrovnik

There were also 19% more Italian visitors, 14% more Hungarian visitors, and 10% more visitors from both Germany and Poland. Although there were “only” 3,554 visitors from China, this was in fact a rise of 68% over September 2010 which points to this country as an emerging nation that would choose Croatia for a holiday.

Of the 10,438,260 tourists that visited the Adriatic counties and the city of Zagreb in the first nine months of the year, 1,097,072 were domestic tourists – up 4% on last year – whilst the remaining 9,341,188 are of course foreign visitors, up 8% on the same period in 2010. All of the Adriatic counties in Croatia posted positive growth in visitor numbers this year, with Istria the best performer (9% more tourist arrivals), then the Kvarner region (7%) and then four Dalmatian counties, Zadar, Sibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatian and Dubrovnik-Neretva collectively posting an increase of 6%.

Visitor numbers from the “top five” nations – Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Italy – remained strong for this year as well, although there was a drop in visitors from Denmark (by 5%), Ireland (by 4%) and, understandably, from Japan (by 13%).

Source: Vjesnik


Split looking forward to a great season

The city of Split can expect its best ever season, according to the Director of its Tourist Office, Vedran Matosic. This is as a result of initial findings from local hotels, hostels and private accommodation places, as well as figures from online reservation websites. In fact, the one major failing that Split may encounter this season is that it may not have enough beds to accommodate all of its guests, as was the case in July and August 2010.

Split, Croatia

Easter time expects the first influx of significant tourist numbers, although the winter months of 2011 have already seen decent crowds of tourists, up on last year. For the first two months of 2011, Split received 9,978 visitors, 6,685 of which were domestic, mostly business visitors. During these two months, visitors to Split – both domestic and foreign – stayed for a total of 22,750 nights.

In comparison to last year, when Split received 7,000 visitors during January and February (with visitors staying for 14,712 nights), 2011’s figures are about 30% up.

Top place of the list of foreign visitors to Split in the first two months of this year goes to the Slovenes, followed by Italians, Germans, Americans and Japanese.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija