In the first half of 2023, tourism in Croatia grew by 20% compared to 2022 and recorded some 5 million arrivals. More than 17.5 million overnight stays were registered. Authorities hope that the country will have a record year in terms of tourism, which has been growing since January of this year when the country joined the Schengen Area and the Eurozone.
From the 1st of January this year, border controls between Croatia and the other countries in the Schengen area were lifted. The country started issuing Schengen visas and was able to make full use of the Schengen Information System. From the same date, Croatia was the twentieth state where payments can be made with the euro. Checks at internal air borders were lifted from the 26th of March, given the need for this to coincide with the dates of IATA’s summer/winter time schedule.
In terms of flights, planes departing from Croatia to other Schengen countries are now treated as domestic. Passengers on direct flights from Croatia to destinations within the Schengen Area and vice versa can exit their flight without being required to go through the border or police controls.
I am confident that these successes will pave the way for other member states who fulfill the conditions to take the next step in their European journeys.Vít Rakušan, Czech Minister of Interior Affairs
According to data from the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS), the country welcomed 2 million tourists in the first four months of the year, a 30.4% increase compared to the same period last year. There were 5.3 million overnight stays, representing a growth of 19.6%. The majority of arrivals and overnight stays are attributed to foreign tourists, with 1.4 million arrivals and 4 million overnight stays recorded in the first four months. This represents a growth of 37.1% and 22.1%, respectively, compared to the same months in 2022.
Slovenians accounted for the highest share of foreign overnight stays at 17.1%, followed by Germans at 16% and Austrians at 11.4%. Italians and British tourists represented 10% each in terms of overnight stays. According to the Dubrovnik Times, the number of overnight stays from these countries was higher than in the first four months of 2022.
In April of 2023, Germans and Slovenians accounted for the highest number of overnight stays. Then came Austrians, British, and Polish tourists. All of them had more overnight stays compared to April last year, as reported by the Dubrovnik Times. For the same month, hotels reported the highest number of overnight stays. They represented more than 45% of the total or 1.4 million overnight stays. This is a 26% increase compared to the same month last year.
Despite the positive numbers in tourism and the revenue it generates, most Croatians are struggling to keep up with prices driven by inflation. According to Euronews, inflation reached 13.5 per cent last November. Though it has since gone down to roughly 7.5 percent, it went up in January when the country joined the euro.