HTZ official says increase in Ukrainian arrivals possible this year

ZAGREB, 28.3.2014.

Around 4 million Ukrainian tourists who have vacationed in Crimea so far could this year seek other holiday destinations due to the situation and political changes on that peninsula, and one of those destinations is the Mediterranean, including Croatia. So far, Ukrainian tourists have shown the most interest in the Mediterranean, so expectations of a higher number of arrivals from that market in Croatia this year do not seem unrealistic.

The head of the Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) Office in Russia and Ukraine, Mladen Falkoni, made this statement in an phone interview with Hina from the biggest Ukrainian tourism fair UITT, which is being held in Kiev on March 26-28.

Falkoni said his estimate was based on information from Ukrainian tour operators and other partners in the Ukrainian market as well as on recent, well-attended business workshops in Kiev and the number of visitors to the Croatian information stand at the UITT fair, which he said was visited by a large number of people, notably business people, already on the first day of the fair.

Ukrainians love Croatia and want to travel there because of its relative proximity and because they can travel there by bus or car, as well as because of other comparative advantages in relation to, for example, Greece and Cyprus, whose biggest advantage are lower prices, said Falkoni.

A Ukrainian tour operator from Lviv in western Ukraine will in May introduce a charter service between Ukraine and Croatia in cooperation with the HTZ Office, Falkoni said, adding that most Ukrainian tourists to visit Croatia this year would come from western Ukraine.

According to HTZ data, about 55,000 Ukrainians visited Croatia in 2013 making around 393,000 overnight stays, a drop of 25% from 2012.