Covid-19 coronavirus: How tourism hotspot Croatia has fared during the pandemic

Continuing our series on how tourism hotspots are faring under Covid-19, Stephanie Holmes finds out Croatia’s outlook for the future

Since the end of the Croatian War of Independence in the mid-90s, Croatia’s appeal as a tourist destination has been rapidly increasing — so much so that in the last few years the problem has been too many tourists, not a lack of them.

Cities like Dubrovnik and Split were dealing with the effects of overtourism, forced to impose restrictions on the number of visitors allowed within the historic cities’ walls.

This year, it’s a different story.

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“The start of the pandemic began just as interest in [2020] bookings for Croatia began to grow,” says director of the Croatian National Tourism Board, Kristjan Stanicic. “At this moment we have seen an overall drop of year-on-year tourism numbers by 50 per cent to date and we will certainly see the impact of this on the revenue side.”

In 2019, 47,000 Kiwis visited Croatia for a total of 140,000 overnight stays. That puts New Zealand in 38th place in terms of the Eastern European country’s tourism numbers, where top ranked countries include Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Poland and Italy.

“Tourism is a very important part of Croatia’s overall economy,” says Stanicic, who notes that tourist numbers in 2019 totalled more than 108 million overnight stays.

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