Published on : Friday, July 31, 2020
At the southern end of Croatia’s Adriatic Coast, much fewer tourists can be seen wandering the marbled streets of Dubrovnik than what was usual at one time, but the number of visitors to northern beaches is quite closer to the normal level during this time of the year.
This notable disparity in Croatia’s key tourism industry comes from the distortions in international travel brought about by the pandemic.
This year, Dubrovnik, Croatia’s top tourism destination, has become one of the weakest spots on the Croatian coast, since it is greatly dependent on visitors arriving by air or on cruise ships and travelers attending conferences and putting up in hotels.
“We hoped to reach some 20-25% in turnover compared to last season,” said Tiffany Cvjetkovic Rudenjak, a member of the family owning the downtown Lanii restaurant. “We’re still not there, but we hope August can change things.”
Ana Hrnic, the director of the city tourist board said that at the end of July, Dubrovnik witnessed only 30% of last year’s tourist numbers. For the first seven months of this year, the figure is even lower at 13%, compared to the same period in 2019.
“So far domestic guests and Germans have been among the most numerous, but we expect an increase in arrivals from the United Kingdom in the next few weeks,” said Hrnic. Around 60% of hotels are now open with hopes that more would open in August.
Ivan Maslac, commercial director of Dubrovnik airport, said that in the last two weeks, flights from the UK were quite full to capacity. The airport offered discounts to airlines on take-off and landing fees with an incentive payment of two Euros per passenger, said Maslac.
Approximately, 20% percent of Croatia’s economic output relies on tourism, and this year, it can earn around a third of last year’s tourism receipts which went up to around 12 billion Euros ($14.11 billion).
Currently, there are around 600,000 foreign guests on the Croatian coast, many of whom are visiting northern Istrian peninsula where the number of visitors from Germany and Slovenia surpassed 80% of last year’s number.
Easy convenience by car and accommodation in camp sites and private houses are important factors behind these numbers, said Denis Ivosevic from the Istrian Tourist Board.
Although, there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks in Croatia, which majorly affected the capital Zagreb and the east of the country, visitors are not worried much.