Why hasn’t Croatia’s tourist boom happened?

A documentary by German television company WDR has explored the reasons why Croatia’s predicted tourism boom in 2018 has not happened. It concludes Croatia has no clear vision for tourism development. The Croatian Tourism Strategy 2013 to 2020 exists however and seeks to develop health tourism.

‘Croatia Without Limits – Tourist Fever on the Adriatic’ explored four destinations where the growth of tourism and lack of development strategy are creating problems for locals and tourists. It questions how, with locals being increasingly upset and antagonistic to tourism, tourism can grow in the future without improvements to infrastructure, control of prices and better regulation.

The documentary concluded that Croatia has no clear vision for tourism development and urgently needs a new strategy.

Most tourists are from Germany, Austria, Italy and Slovenia but increased prices in Croatia meant that in the peak season, many choose instead to go to Egypt or Turkey. While there are no figures for health tourism, health and wellness tourists tend to follow the same patterns as holidaymakers.

The National Tourist Board is spending money to promote Croatia for 2019. The European Travel Commission has also approved funds to Croatian and Slovenian tourism authorities for their joint promotion in China. The aim of the campaign “Experience Croatia, Feel Slovenia” is to strengthen the visibility and reputation of the two counties on the Chinese market and present themselves as a European tourist destination.

According to government figures Croatia earns €400 million from health and wellness tourism, and the potential could be €1billion a year. It is an area that tourism bodies seek to encourage and promote as it would extend the local tourist season and attract international investment.

The tourism and health ministries are working on amending the law so that health tourism can be developed more easily and quicker.

The Croatian Tourism Strategy 2013 to 2020 seeks to develop health tourism by upgrading the quality of accommodation.

Read our independent analysis on inbound medical tourism to Croatia in the IMTJ Country Profile.