Promotion of Croatian tourism at the Russian market

“Actively but without ambition”

promocija hrvatskog tržišta
Croatia intends to use the advantages which had been provided the previous year before entering the Schengen and to try to improve its position at the Russian market, particularly requesting Russian tour operators to add more Croatian destinations than the last year, announced Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) on Tuesday at the press conference held in the framework of the seminar “Full of life Croatia“.

According to the Croatian National Tourist Board in the last season was an expected decline of Russian tourists’ inflow. According to Croatian National Tourist Board Croatia was visited by 147 000 tourists from Russia in 2014 year, while in 2015 the number was 113,000. The main reasons of the decrease of inflow of Russian tourists are the requirement of entry visas for Russian citizens and the weakening of the Russian ruble and economic crisis. Looking back at still successful 2013 year the reduction in the number of tourists in Croatia began same year when Croatia as a member of the European Union introduced visa regime. In 2013 year in comparison to other countries Croatia had a big decline -20% in tourist flow.

“But in many European countries the decline in Russian tourist flow was even higher in 2015 year. On July 26th, 2015 year Russian tour operators working at Croatian market published „stop sale“ due to the fact that all summer arrangements were sold, “said Rayko Ruzicka, the director of the Croatian Tourist Board in Russia. He also highlighted that the tourist traffic could be much higher if the Russian tour operators were not afraid of to take risks and to have more tours to Croatia.
In order to achieve this goal Croatian National Tourist Board has decided to concentrate on coming summer season. Another reason is the last year when there is easing visa regime: as Croatia is not in the Schengen zone the tourists are still not required biometric passports, moreover the tourists can enter the country with Romanian and Bulgarian visas. However, some complications regarding visas will still exist. “From February, 1st the tourists can apply for Croatian visa only in the visa center,” said Carmen Florsic, Head of the Consular Office of the Croatian Embassy. The price will rise accordingly as there will be extra charges for visa center services. While applying through a travel agency the tourists should not provide bank statements and employment confirmation letter.

As for further activities Croatia plans to participate in all tourist exhibitions in Russia as well as the organization of workshops for tour operators. Particularly on March, 17th is going to be an event devoted to medical and health tourism. In autumn is planned Croatian MICE Conference in Moscow. The focus will be on Moscow but also are scheduled workshops in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Kazan. “Today there are 18 Croatian visa centers in Russia. The accreditation of tour operators at the embassy is still active. Last year in a similar workshop participated only seven Croatian tourist companies but today the representatives of 50 host companies negotiated and completed agreements with Russian partners which hit record for all years of cooperation, “noted  Mr. Ruzicka.

In the summer season are expected to be direct flights from Moscow to Zagreb, Pula, Split and Dubrovnik. Flights have already been announced by “Aeroflot” and “S7“. The participation of other airlines is to be announced. “We have a great interest in cooperation with Russian colleagues. We are concentrated on the development of our partnership and we are ready for any pieces of advice and suggestions, “said Boris Zgomba, the President of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA).

However, Croatia has no intentions to express big ambitions at the Russian market. In 2015 Croatia was visited by 14 millions of tourists while “maximum tourists accepting capacity „ from Russia is only 600 000 according to Rajko Ruzicka. „But we would be glad even to have half of that number,”- said the president of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Russia.


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