Updated on June 7, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

Croatia’s tourism industry is a key contributor to the country’s economic systems, accounting for over 20% of GDP. Tourism in Croatia stretches back to its time as part of Austria-Hungary, when wealthy aristocracy would flock to the shore, but it exploded in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the old Yugoslavia’s economic policies. Croatia is becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean region, with 19.6 million visitors expected in 2019.

Croatian tourism is focused along the Adriatic coast and is highly seasonal, with July and August being the busiest months. National parks have been established in eight sites around the country, with eleven more designated as natural parks. The number of yearly visitor arrivals has surged by approximately 6 million since 2012, the year before Croatia joined the EU. Economists claim that Croatia’s EU membership made them a more appealing tourist destination due to increased economic investment, lower trade barriers, and fewer customs control.

Croatia’s tourism industry is well-developed, yet there is still an opportunity for growth. Only 15% of Croatia’s coast, the country’s main tourist draw, is urbanized, and several plans are in the works to further boost the country’s tourism sector. Croatia’s Tourism Development Strategy aims to make Croatia a worldwide known tourist attraction for all seasons and is aiming to achieve that goal by building new luxury accommodations, such as hotels and tourist services, or upgrading older ones. Croatia is also home to one of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Observatories, which is associated with the International Network of the Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO). The observatory is seen as a commitment to tourist monitoring and development.

Croatia is a famous European holiday destination and the region’s most frequented tourist market. The travel industry of Croatia imparts more to GDP than any other EU member state, making the industry economically important.

Croatia Tourism Statistics

  1. Tourism revenues totaled 1.35 billion dollars in 1995, accounting for around 5.9% of the country’s gross domestic product.
  2. At the time, this equated to around 16.10 million tourists and 84 USD each person.
  3. The revenue in the latest year of the study was 5.63 billion dollars, accounting for 9.8% of the country’s gross domestic product.
  4. Each visitor to Croatia now spends around 261 USD on average on his vacation.
  5. International tourists make up 16.6 million of the total number of visitors, accounting for 92.8 percent of all arrivals.
  6. They spend 83.2 million nights in the country, for an average visit of five nights.
  7. Germany (16.7 percent of foreign travelers), Austria (8.2%), and Slovenia (8.2%) are the biggest source markets for Croatia (8.2 percent).
  8. As stated by the travel satellite account, tourism contributed 11.4 percent of GDP directly in 2016.
  9. According to the 2016 Tourist Satellite Account, overall tourism consumption was HRK 78.6 billion, with inbound travel accounting for 86.3 percent.
  10. Domestic tourist expenditures in 2016 were anticipated to be worth HRK 10.5 billion.
  11. Croatia’s tourism industry alone produced $5.63 billion in revenue for the country.
  12. This amounts to 9.8% of the country’s gross domestic product and almost 12% of all foreign tourism receipts in the whole of Southern Europe.
  13. The tourist budget was around HRK 230 million in 2018, accounting for 0.2 percent of the overall country’s finance.
  14. Tourism revenues increased by 6.4 percent to HRK 75.1 million in 2018, bringing the entire offering of the tourism department to a GDP of 19.6 percent.
  15. The Croatian National Tourist Board’s entire budget was HRK 323.6 million, with revenue coming from traveling tariffs (47.8%), country budgets, membership fees, and other sources exhibiting a 20% rise over last year’s figure.
  16. In terms of domestic tourism, the count of national travelers per night in all sorts of accommodations climbed by 8.3% to 6.5 million nights in 2018.
  17. Domestic inhabitants accounted for only 7.2 percent of the total of 90.0 million nights spent by inbound and outbound tourists.
  18. Croatia was ranked 12th in the world (in terms of total visitors) with 5.3 tourists per citizen and was ranked third in Southern Europe.
  19. In addition, there were 78% more Italians, 100% of Hungarians, 168% more French, and 324 percent more Dutch visited in 2018 than in 2020.
  20. Tourism employed 86,600 citizens directly, accounting for 6.6 percent of total employment.
  21. Croatia’s tourism revenue in 2019 was $11,987,000,000.00, up 5.92 percent from the previous year.
  22. In 2019, over 26% of the Croatian population only traveled domestically, compared to 7% who traveled internationally.
  23. Overnight visitor arrivals in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik surged rapidly in the 2010s, with a climax of 1.5 million in 2019.
  24. Before the pandemic, Croatian tourism had been rapidly increasing, reaching a high of 19.6 million visitors in 2019.
  25. While contrast to 2019 statistics, Poles had 8% more overnights, Germans had the same number of overnights as in 2019, Czechs had 97 percent of overnights, and Slovenes and Austrians had roughly 82 percent of overnights.
  26. A further 6% took part in both domestic and international tourism.
  27. The coronavirus outbreak, on the other hand, put a stop to this development, lowering the rate of tourism in the city to 220,000 tourists in 2020 without accounting for the enormous number of excursionists and cruise passengers.
  28. Tourist arrivals at Croatian lodging establishments plummeted to just seven million in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  29. In the years leading up to the coronavirus pandemic, tourism in Croatia was booming, with international tourist numbers reaching a high of 17.3 million, Zagreb was the most visited city in Croatia.
  30. Croatia had 13.8 million arrivals and 84.1 million overnight tourists in 2021, a 77 percent increase in arrivals and a 55 percent increase in overnights over the same period in 2020.
  31. International travelers accounted for 71.9 million whole night stays, while local visitors accounted for 12.3 million.
  32. The most tourist overnights were recorded in the counties of Istria (23.5 million), Split-Dalmatia (15.5 million), and Primorsko-goranska (15.3 million).
  33. Zadar territory (12.7 million overnight visits), Ibenik-Knin County (5.9 million), and Dubrovnik-Neretva County are the next most popular destinations (5.4 million).
  34. Zagreb (638,000 visitors), Rovinj (549,000), Dubrovnik (543,000), Split (529,000), and Pore (529,000) were the most popular destinations (with total of 431,000 arrivals).
  35. In terms of markets, Germans (2.9 million, up 84 percent from 2020), national travelers (2.3 million, up 41 percent from 2020), Slovenians (1.2 million, up 18 percent from 2020), Austrians (1.1 million, up 180 percent from 2020), Poles (1 million, up 50 percent from 2020), and Czechs (775,000, up 50 percent from 2020) accounted for the majority of arrivals in 2021.
  36. The highest percentage for the number of overnights was recorded in families (32.1 million), camps (17.4 million), and hotels (15.7 million).
  37. Around 3.1 million overnights were recorded in the seafaring sector, i.e. the ship reservation segment.
  38. The largest increases in traffic were seen in hotels (+124%), camps (+92%), nautical (+87%), and residential facilities (+45%) as compared to 2020.
  39. According to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, 221,000 tourists were housed in establishments in November 2021, an increase of 133,000 over 2020 with an increase of 56.4 percent.
  40. Furthermore, those visitors remained in the relevant facilities for 576,000 nights, a rise of 114% from November 2020 with 70.3 percent of all nights.
  41. In 2021, 67 percent of tourist entrances and 77 percent of overnight stays were realized, compared to 67 percent and 77 percent in 2019.
  42. Even though the pandemic slowed development, the tourism department is predicted to contribute $22.6 billion to Croatia’s economy by the end of 2025.