If you have been caught in Dubrovnik when numerous cruise ships arrive and thousands of passengers block the streets of the city this latest statistic might confuse you.
According to the latest data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS), the number of cruise ships on the Adriatic in July was 7.5 percent less than in the same month last year.
The DZS recorded 99 cruises in July and 335 in the first seven months of this year or 15.2 percent less, whilst the number of cruise passengers who came to Croatia was also less compared to the same period from last year (-13,1% or 467,000 passengers).
In the same period, cruise ships sojourned shorter on the Adriatic (737 days) or 20 percent less than last year.
The majority of foreign vessels on cruises in Croatia were under the flag of Bahamas (81), Malta (79), whilst cruise ships under the flags of other countries accounted for less than 50 percent.
In the period from January to July 2017, the most visited Croatian port was Dubrovnik with 267 recorded cruise ship visits followed by Split (107) and Korcula (69).
Observed by months, the data show that only February this year recorded 14.3 percent more cruise ships in comparison to the same month last year with only eight cruises, January recorded the same number of cruises as last year (4), whilst all other months registered less cruises in comparison to last year, which has not happened in recent years.
The biggest decline in the number of cruises this year was registered in May, which is traditionally the most crowded month of the year as far as cruise ships are concerned, with only 77 cruises or 24 percent less than last May.
Some analysts, who monitor passenger and general traffic in seaports, believe that this year’s drop in cruise ships arrivals in Croatia is partly related to Venice’s decision on limiting the number of visitors to the Italian city, in other words a domino effect. Earlier this year foreign media reported that this decision could affect the limitation of the number of cruise ships visiting Venice as well as lead to a smaller number of cruise ships on the whole Adriatic, including Croatia and Montenegro.