BMI is forecasting steady growth across all key market indicators for tourism in Croatia. Recovery from the economic downturn in Europe is gathering pace, leading to an increase in inbound arrivals from major markets, and while the relatively limited GDP growth means increases in outbound travel is slow we do see a very positive long term investment environment present in the country.
The global credit crisis impacted heavily on inbound tourism to Croatia, with arrivals declining by 2.4% in 2010 to a low of 9.1mn. Now that major markets within Europe are improving, including the top four countries for arrivals, Germany, Slovenia, Italy and Austria, we expect to see annual growth of around 5% throughout our forecast period. By 2017 we therefore expect arrivals to reach 13.3mn, impressive compared to the 2013 figure of 10.3mn. This is largely dependent on the continuing economic recovery of the EU as a whole.
Outbound travel is looking slightly less positive, but still strong, with slow and steady increases expected year on year. The number of travellers leaving Croatia saw a decline in 2011 of 5.19% as the economic crisis took hold in the country. As the economy has improved outbound travel figures have recovered, and by 2017 we expect the number of travellers to reach 2.3mn, an increase of around 400,000 on the 2013 figure.
Tourism receives a great deal of support from the Croatian government. Investment in the country's infrastructure will be key to the long term future of tourism, as the market suffers from a dearth of modern hotel accommodation, particularly in rural areas. The government has plans in place to add some 60,000 new hotel beds by 2020, but this is largely dependent on solid domestic economic growth and support for international investors.
- Major new resorts on the islands of Pasman and Ugljan are under development, which once complete will offer over 6,000 new hotel beds by 2020 years based on investment of over EUR 140mn.
- Several of the global top 10 hotel chains have a presence in Croatia, with the Hilton group in particular planning to expand, reflecting the growing popularity of Croatia.
- This quarter, BMI has given Croatia an overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward Rating of 48.70, putting it in 18th place within the CEE region, behind Kosovo and ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- Outbound and inbound travel is expected to increase throughout the forecast period, based on improvements on economies from within the EU.
- Key events in 2014 include the Festival of Flowers, the Zagreb International Folk Festival, the MaFest comic book festival, the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament and a variety of international music and cultural events.