Croatia Tourism Report Q3 2014
The credit crunch impacted heavily on inbound arrivals to Croatia, with figures hitting their lowest point in 2010 at 9.1mn. Growth has since recovered, and we expect to see gains of more than 5% per year over our forecast period to 2018, when arrivals will reach 14.1mn - a healthy increase on the 2013 arrivals figure of 10.9mn. These growth forecasts are largely dependent on continued economic growth within Europe, which accounts for the vast majority of arrivals to Croatia. Any return to recession in the region could affect Croatia's tourism market, as could any escalation of regional political tensions.
Croatia's outbound travel market, as with inbound travel, is expected to show growth over the coming years. Poor domestic economic conditions resulted in a decline in the number of outbound travellers in 2011, but figures have since recovered. In 2013, outbound travel grew 3.5% to 1.9mn, while forecast growth of around 4% per year from 2014 forward will see the number of outbound travellers reach 2.4mn in 2018. The majority of departures are to destinations within Europe, and Croatia's inclusion in the EU will facilitate easier travel within the region.
Investment in the country's transport and accommodation infrastructure will be necessary if Croatia is to keep up with the expected increases in inbound and outbound travel. The government has recognised the importance of the tourism industry, which accounts for around 4% of GDP, and tourism receives a great deal of support through investment and effective international marketing campaigns including 'The Mediterranean As It Once Was' campaign. Facilities in rural areas in particular will need improvement if the government is to expand the benefits of tourism to new corners of the country.
Key forecasts and developments include:
- Major new resorts on the islands of Pasman and Ugljan are under development, which once complete will offer more than 6,000 new hotel beds by 2020, based on investment of more than EUR140mn.
- Several of the global top 10 hotel chains already have a presence in Croatia, with the Hilton group in particular planning to expand, reflecting the growing popularity of the country for hospitality companies.
- This quarter, BMI has given Croatia an overall Tourism Industry Risk/Reward Rating of 48.70, putting it in 18th place in our ranking of 25 Central and Eastern Europe countries, behind Kosovo and ahead of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- Outbound and inbound travel are expected to increase throughout the forecast period, based on improvements EU economies, reaching 2.4mn and 14.1mn respectively in 2018.
- Key events in 2014 include the Festival of Flowers, the Zagreb International Folklore Festival, the MaFest comic book festival, the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament and a variety of international music and cultural events.
We expect to see substantial growth in Croatia's tourism market throughout our forecast period to 2018, with increases expected in inbound and outbound travel, the accommodation sector and overall industry value. The future is looking bright, with the country's inclusion in the EU and a range of infrastructure projects creating a very positive environment for potential future investors.
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