Dubrovnik Airport, very much the gateway to Croatia’s southernmost city, has to say the least had a challenging year. Being in the front line of tourism in the city the airport is usually a hive of activity and over the past decade has seen a constant increase in passengers passing through the airport. Last year was a record year with the 3 million passenger mark missed by a whisker, handling 2.89 passengers. In August alone last year the airport saw over 524,000 passengers from all over the world.
2020 is a long way from those heady days. August this Covid-19 effected year saw only 119,000 using Dubrovnik Airport, and to add more context August 2020 was by far the busiest month.
When the UK took Croatia off the so called “safe corridor” list passenger numbers took a nose dive, and only just under 41,000 passengers were handled. From January to the end of September the airport has dealt with only 306,949 travellers. Over the same period from 2019 the airport had already seen 2.5 million passengers. In fact, looking at the official statistics from the airport five individual months from 2019 had more passengers than the whole of 2020 so far.
Passenger numbers decrease drastically in 2020 - Photo Mark Thomas
If the rate of passenger numbers continues at the same level for the rest of the year, and the final outcome reaches around 360,000 to 370,00, then the airport will see fewer passengers than 1969 when 456,000 people landed. Apart from the years that were severely affected due to the Homeland War, Dubrovnik Airport is on course to have its worst year since the end of the 1960’s. The Covid-19 pandemic has sent airport passenger numbers back 60 years.
Of course there is justified hope that 2020 is a one off year, the travel industry all over the world has seen catastrophic results. Dubrovnik is not alone, although in Croatian terms it can be said that the city was the worst hit, being so reliant on tourists arriving by plane.