Tourist arrivals in Croatia on decrease, but better than in other countries, says minister Bajs

ZAGREB, 9.6.2009.
Current bookings for the peak tourist season in Croatia are on the rise, even though they have not reached last year's level, and the highest numbers of bookings refer to high quality accommodation, private accommodation and marines, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said at a news conference on Tuesday, at which a new promotional campaign for the tourism sector was launched.

Recalling that this year's main goal was ‘to be more successful than the competition’, Bajs said that the latest available data, those for the first four months of this year, showed that tourist arrivals in Croatia were six percent down. However, according to currently available data, the decrease in arrivals is much bigger in other countries which represent Croatia’s competition in the area of tourism industry (f.ex. Greece, France, Italy, Montnegro).

In those countries, foreign tourists make up between one-third and a half of all arrivals, and in Croatia they account for 85 percent of all arrivals, which proves that the competition has seen an even bigger decrease in foreign arrivals than Croatia, which, on the other hand, has seen a drop in domestic arrivals, Bajs said.

By the end of April, foreign arrivals were four percent down in relation to the same period of last year. Domestic arrivals were 9 percent down, and overnight stays of foreign tourists were one percent down, while those of domestic tourists were 11 percent down.

A drop in congress tourism was reported as well. There were some positive developments in continental tourism, but that segment accounts only for five percent of the overall tourism industry, Bajs said.

The figures point to the need to implement activities to attract domestic tourists, as well as turn to "last minute" tours, which will apparently determine the outcome of this year's tourist season, he said.

The Tourism Ministry and the Croatian National Tourist Board (Hrvatska turistička zajednica - HTZ) today launched a HRK 2.3 million promotional campaign focusing on Internet advertising and advertising on the global on-line media such as Facebook, MySpace etc.

Along with prominent Croats, such as football players, the national tourism industry will also be promoted by foreign tourist reporters, as well as members of the public, who will take part in promotional quizzes and games, video clips, etc.