According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics data, in February 2020, there were 278.7 thousand tourist arrivals and 610.5 thousand tourist overnight stays in commercial accommodation, which is 5.4 percent and 11.1 percent more than in February 2019. The increase in overnight stays is a continuation of the upward trend, which lasted continuously for seven months. Prior to this trend, or more precisely from January to July 2019, oscillatory movements of tourist nights were recorded – Croatian Chamber of Economy reports.
Tourism results in Croatia in February 2020 were not yet significantly affected by the coronavirus, since then the virus mainly covered the area of China, with Chinese tourists having a very small share in the total overnight stays of foreign tourists in Croatia.
But February was the last month to see positive tourism results, as in March, the virus overwhelmingly hit the EU, from which most tourists are arriving to Croatia. In addition, anti-coronavirus measures were introduced in Croatia in March, which included, among other things, restricting human movement. Thus, according to data from eVisitor published on the Ministry of Tourism's website in March 2020, 75 percent less tourist arrivals and 53 percent less overnight stays were recorded in March 2019.
As Croatian Chamber of Economy writes, in April, negative trends were more emphasized. According to data published on the eVisitor website, just a bit over ten thousand tourists were in Croatia in the week before Easter, of which nine thousand were domestic tourists, which is way worse if we compare it to last year, with with almost 180 thousand tourists in Croatia in the period from 19th to 22nd of April.
Foreign exchange income from tourism in Croatia amounts to about 19 percent of GDP, which is by far the largest percentage compared to other EU member states, which makes the Croatian economy highly dependent on tourism. The downward trend in tourist developments will also have negative effects on tourism-related activities. Thus, among other things, reduced tourism spending will also have a negative impact on retail trade turnover, with the highest annual turnover in July and August, or in the months when the most overnight stays are realized.
Tourism results are mostly affected by foreign tourists, who make about 93 percent of total overnight stays, which is roughly the third highest percentage in the EU (Malta and Cyprus have a higher percentage), and it is precisely the return of foreign tourists that is the biggest challenge since the negative situation with coronavirus in the neighbouring countries is more pronounced than in Croatia.
Negative tourist trends are being recorded all over the world, and it is difficult to predict with what tourism results we will end this year. World Tourism Organization forecasts that international tourist arrivals worldwide will fall between 20 and 30 percent this year – Croatian Chamber of Economy explains.