Croatia realizes importance of foreign visitors as overtourism turns to none at all
Croatia has experienced a sudden rise in popularity in the last two decades and now relies heavily on international visitation to the extent that tourism now represents around a quarter of its GDP. What was a key strength for Croatia is now causing its economy to decline rapidly as the pandemic outlines the structural issues of an economy reliant on tourism.
Pre-COVID-19 forecast illustrated a year-on-year (YOY) growth rate of 6.4% in international arrivals to Croatia for 2020. GlobalData’s new forecast projects a -32.2% YOY decrease in international arrivals to Croatia in 2020, creating an already devastating impact on its tourism sector and wider economy.”
In recent years, a range of destinations within Croatia have suffered from overtourism, a concept that provides an array of economic benefits but is often seen as a negative due to the social and environmental impacts it creates. Croatia has a population of 4.1 million. According to industry data, the country welcomed 17.4 million international visitors in 2019, which is over four times its national population.
Many Croatians that may have seen mass tourism as a negative will be longing for high levels of tourism to return. Increased tourism flows will give tourism reliant destinations a much-needed economic boost such as through increased employment and significantly increased levels of expenditure on local goods and services.
Hotels are starting to reopen in destinations that are highly popular with international tourism. Adriatic Luxury Hotels (ALH) are now starting to open some hotels and hotel facilities in Dubrovnik after closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the Croatian government passed a decision to open its borders up to nationals of ten European Union states, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany, and Slovakia.