BMI's Croatia tourism report looks at a range of indicators in this burgeoning market, with inclusion in the EU and wider economic growth in key source markets providing a valuable boost to inbound travel throughout our forecast period to 2018. Outbound travel is also set to increase overall, albeit at a slower pace.
Inbound arrivals to Croatia were heavily affected by the 2008 global credit crunch, and declines continued through to 2010 when we saw arrivals reach a low of 9.1mn. Now that major markets within Europe are experiencing improving domestic economic conditions, particularly in Croatia's top four countries for arrivals (Germany, Slovenia, Italy and Austria), we expect to see annual growth of around 5% throughout our forecast period. By 2018 we therefore expect arrivals to reach 14.1mn, impressive compared with the 2013 figure of 10.8mn. This is largely dependent on the continuing economic recovery of the EU as a whole, and any return to recession will heavily impact the Croatian tourism market. In the long term, therefore, a diversification of source markets would be beneficial.
Outbound travel is expected to show slow and steady increases after a decline in 2011 of 5.19% due to the domestic economic crisis. As the Croatian economy has improved, outbound travel figures are recovering and by 2018 we expect the number of departures to reach 2.4mn, an increase of around 400,000 on the 2013 figure. As the domestic economy grows, outbound travel is likely to expand and will be further boosted by Croatia's inclusion in the EU in 2013, which will make travel easier.
Tourism is important to the Croatian economy, and as such the sector receives a great deal of support from the Croatian government. Infrastructure development will likely remain a key long-term focus, as improvements will need to be made to transport and accommodation infrastructure in order to keep up with the expected increases in inbound and outbound travel. Facilities in rural areas in particular will need improvement if the government is to expand the benefits of tourism to new corners.
- 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-
- Outbound and inbound travel is expected to increase throughout the forecast period, based on improvements on economies from within the EU, reaching 2.4mn and 14.1mn respectively in 2018.
- 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.