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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 11/12/2012 -- The Croatia Tourism Report looks at the sector's recent performance and considers the long-term potential of the industry. After a recovery in 2010, foreign tourist arrivals grew by a solid 9.0% in 2011, while domestic tourism picked up but remained relatively weak. This year, BMI continues to expect a sharp slowdown in the growth of visitor arrivals, unchanged at less than 3%, given the bleak outlook for the eurozone, which is the country's key source region.
The report focuses on particular tourism subsectors, such as conference tourism, in which the number of foreign participants was up strongly in 2011. By contrast, the performance of cruise ship tourism was relatively subdued last year, with the number of cruises by foreign vessels going to Croatia down slightly compared with 2010. There is also a burgeoning medical tourism industry, which has had positive effects on extending the tourism season. The focus on diversification of source markets, which is already bearing fruit, should also help counter weak growth in arrivals from some key markets over the next few years.
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The most recent provisional data, for January-April 2012, show a reasonable start to the year for the Croatian tourism sector, with foreign tourist arrivals up by 5.6% year-on-year (y-o-y). Growth is much weaker than in the same period in 2011 (17% y-o-y). The top-two source markets, Germany and Italy, recorded increases of 8% and 4% y-o-y respectively in the first four months of 2012, while domestic tourism remained downbeat, with arrivals falling by 3% y-o-y.
In the hospitality sector, the figures for the first four months of 2012 are unsurprisingly modest, with total tourist nights up by 3.5% y-o-y. What growth took place was largely attributable to foreign tourist nights, which increased by about 4% y-o-y.
Over the last quarter BMI have revised the following forecasts and views:
- BMI has reduced the forecast for foreign arrivals in 2013 slightly to less than 5%.
- BMI's eurozone real GDP growth forecast for 2012 has been lowered slightly to (-0.6%), from (-0.5%), before rising to only 0.9% growth (down from 1.2%) in 2013.
- After the recent weakness of the Croatian kuna - helping tourism - BMI's revised short-term forecast is for some appreciation of the currency, with end-2012 rates of HRK7.01/EUR and HRK5.38/US$ expected. Slight depreciation of the kuna is anticipated in 2013.
- In 2011, after two years of negative growth, passenger traffic recovered on Croatia Airlines, with a record growth rate of about 15% to almost 1.88mn passengers. The airline reported a net loss of HRK75mn (US$12.8mn), roughly half the amount recorded in 2010. Recent data suggest a more difficult year in 2012, with passenger numbers down by 3% y-o-y in Q112, although international traffic was up by 1%.
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