BMI's Croatia Tourism Report looks at the long-term potential offered by the country's tourism industry, which is gradually showing signs of recovery following the global credit crunch. Inbound travel is expected to show consistent growth, although domestic economy limitations may depress outbound travel.
Improvements in the wider economy of the European region will boost inbound travel to Croatia throughout the forecast period to 2017. Following a decline in inbound tourism in 2010 the market has shown steady growth, and by 2017 we expect arrivals to reach close to 13mn per year, a substantial increase on the 2012 arrivals figure of just over 10mn. Croatia's major inbound tourism markets are all from within the wider European region, and as such the market is reliant upon the continuing recovery of countries including Germany and the UK.
As inbound travel increase we expect outbound travel, which declined in 2012, will show only limited growth in 2014 and 2015, with minor declines expected in the remainder of the forecast period. Outbound travel is based on improvements in the domestic economy, and BMI expects to see only limited GDP growth in Croatia during the forecast period.
The tourism industry should benefit from government plans to support the market through plans to cut the VAT rate on accommodation and food, as well as improvements to the country's tourism infrastructure. In particular the country currently suffers from a lack of modern hotel accommodation, and government plans to add some 60,000 new hotel beds to the national supply by 2020 will go a long way to address this shortage. The Central and Eastern European region is perceived as offering attractive investment opportunities for hotel groups and other tourist-related industries, particularly as countries including Croatia accede to the EU in 2013. As such we expect many of the top global hotel groups to expand their presence. Government investment in improvement the country's transport infrastructure will further boost Croatia's tourism industry.
- Major new resorts on the islands of Pasman and Ugljan are being developed, which once complete will offer over 6000 new hotel beds over the coming five to seven years based on investment of over EUR 140mn.
- Several of the global top ten hotel chains have a presence in Croatia, with the Hilton group in particular planning to expand.
- This quarter, BMI has given Croatia an overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward rating of 55.4, putting it in sixth position within the CEE region, behind Latvia and ahead of Cyprus.
- Outbound travel is expected to show minor declines during the forecast period but this should be offset by increases in inbound travel based on improvements on economies from within the EU.
- Key events in 2013 include the Festival of Flowers, the Mafest comic book festival, the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament and a variety of international music and cultural events.