Croatia’s tourist numbers shrink slightly


ZAGREB — Croatia’s key tourist sector, weakened by the economic crisis, shrank slightly in the first 10 months of the year from activity in the same period of last year, official data showed on Wednesday.

Between January and October some 10.6 million tourists visited Croatia which is 2.6 percent fewer than in the first 10 months last year, the national statistics bureau figures showed.

During the same period Croatia reported 55.5 million overnight stays. That was one percent less than during the same period in 2008.

Tourists, visiting mainly the country’s Adriatic coast, come notably from Germany — 22.8 percent. They are followed by Slovenians, Italians, Austrians, Czechs, Poles and Dutch.

Owing to the global downturn in tourism, local professionals were saying that this year any fall in tourist figures of less than 10 percent would be satisfying.

However, they voiced fear that the real impact of the crisis would be felt in 2010.

Croatia’s tourism industry, which has gradually recovered from the 1991-1995 independence war, last year accounted for 15.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2008, the former Yugoslav republic with a population of 4.4 million, lured more than 11 million tourists. It was up one percent on 2007, producing industry income of 7.4 billion euros (10.9 billion dollars), a record high.