Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/13/2014 -- The global economic crisis and prolonged eurozone debt crisis presented a challenge for the Croatian tourism sector during the recessionary years of the review period (2008-2012). However, a slow but positive growth in tourist volumes followed the worst years of the crisis. The sector plays an important role in the country's economic development, accounting for 30.2% of the country's total employment in 2012. This has encouraged the government of Croatia to increase its focus on the sector to stimulate growth.
- Croatia's travel and tourism sector contributes significantly to the country's overall economic development. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the sector contributed 27.8% (HRK80.68 billion) to the nation's GDP in 2012. The sector also accounted for 319,000 jobs (direct and indirect), representing 30.2% of the country's total employment in 2012.
- Croatia's entry into the EU in 2013 presents opportunities for tourism development, but the country is not a part of the Schengen Area, meaning that while immigration controls still take place, travelers from other EU states are exempt from customs checks. This is expected to lead to demand for leisure travel from CEE countries. The country's entry into the EU has also provided investors from overseas markets with the chance to invest in luxury tourism.
- The Croatian government is increasing its focus on improving and developing tourism infrastructure in the country. For example, the Croatian Ministry of Tourism has invested more than US$200,000 in developing internet-related facilities at various tourist locations across the country.
- Croatia has responded to the global demand for cruise tourism by developing its ports. According to port authorities at Dubrovnik, cruise traffic arriving at the port increased in 2013. From January to August, approximately 440 cruise ships, carrying more than half a million passengers passed through the port. A 10% increase in cruise ships at Dubrovnik is estimated by the end of 2013. In 2012, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced its decision to finance the expansion of the Port of Split, to support growing cruise tourism around this area.
- Rising operational costs, low profit margins and intense competition has made it difficult for airline companies to operate profitably in tough market conditions. For example, Croatia Airlines has suffered significant financial losses since 2007. In 2012, the company posted a net loss of HRK487 million, despite 5.9% growth in operational revenues. Competition in the market is expected to increase further due to Croatia's entry into the EU on July 1, 2013, as more airlines are able to operate freely to and from Croatia.
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Companies Mentioned in this Report: Croatia Airlines dd, European Coastal Airlines, Trade Air d.o.o., Ryanair Croatia, Esplanade Hotels Croatia, Maistra dd, Hilton Hotels Croatia, Hotel Miramr d.o.o., Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts Croatia, Adriatic Explore Ltd., Navitas Travel d.o.o., Fortuna Travel d.o.o., Gulliver Travel Croatia, Ban Tours Croatia, Last Minute Rent a Car Croatia, Uniline d.o.o., Milenium Car Rental Croatia, Avax - Rent a Car
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