The tourist season 2020 in Croatia was supposed to start for Easter but this year will be different. In recent days, we have become increasingly concerned about the future with Coronavirus expansion worldwide. In addition, a few weeks ago, Zagreb was hit by the strongest earthquake in the last 140 years and more than 26,000 buildings were damaged. The good news is that the coronavirus pandemic will one day end. The bad news is that we don’t know when that day will come, whether it will be in a month or in a year. But we are quite sure that the consequences of this crisis will be even greater than the 2008 crisis. One of the most affected sectors is certainly tourism.
Can we save the tourist season 2020 in Croatia?
Croatia’s high tourism revenue share of almost 20% of GDP is one of the highest in the world. Already by the beginning of the crisis in Europe, all the largest airlines have put off or totally canceled most flights to Croatia. Today, travel through the country is actually impossible unless you have a QR code pass. Some extremely tourist cities today are red zones. However, Croatia doesn’t yet have exponential growth of Coronavirus. Also, it is expected that the virus pandemic will weaken in the coming summer.
Until June 1, 2020, all the rules will remain in force. Some statistics indicate a 95% decline in tourism activities for March 2020. After June 1st, we hope that the Croats will return to life as it once was. If after that date life returns to normal, the tourist season 2020 in Croatia still has a chance. The positive thing is that Croatian tourism focuses on 2 months of the year, July and August. Although these dates look very close, any tourist season would bring hope to the future of the business here.
How will tourists come?
Since it is very difficult to expect that guests arrive by air transport, most tourists will be from countries that can be reached by car. These are the countries where we are traditionally extremely popular as a tourist destination: Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, etc. Also, I think it will be extremely difficult this year to get people to travel, especially to further destinations. Countries with a much larger population will focus on the domestic market. The best example is Spain, which has already announced similar plans. Unfortunately, Croatia is not in a similar situation due to less than 4 million inhabitants while over 16 million tourists come to Croatia during the summer season.
Will there be a big discount?
The biggest economic problems in this crisis could have services, especially transport and all those who rely on tourism: accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, and travel services. Already today if we sign up for some food delivery apps (like Wolt or Glovo) we will see big discounts. Although some Croatian destinations were among the most expensive in Europe last year, it is increasingly likely that many services will become much cheaper in the coming recession.
Turkey, Egypt, and Greece are traditionally cheaper than Croatia, so if there is a tourist season 2020 in Croatia, we will have to think about bigger price drops. Certainly, the biggest fall in prices will have Italy, which is among the most affected countries with this virus. Finally, I would like to point out that the Government of the Republic of Croatia has already presented 2 packages of plans o help companies. It remains our hope that this crisis will end as soon as possible.