Croatian tourist sector capitalises on international attention as nation's football team heads for World Cup final

Croatian tourist sector capitalises on international attention as nation's football team heads for World Cup final
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his ministers attended their cabinet meeting on July 12 in red-and-white checkered Croatian football T-shirts.
By Carmen Simion in Bucharest July 12, 2018

Croatia is in a football frenzy as the national team prepares to play in the World Cup 2018 final on July 15. Even Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and his ministers attended their cabinet meeting on July 12 — the day after Croatia beat England to secure a place in the final — in red-and-white checkered Croatian football T-shirts. 

Apart from the joy brought by the victories so far, the Croatian economy is likely to benefit a lot from the success of the national football team.

This was touched upon by Plenkovic, who commented: “Congratulations to the Croatian national football team, manager Zlatko Dalic and the management of the Croatian Football Federation for the fascinating success of Croatian sports and promotion of the country,” according to a government statement. 

The Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) said on July 12 visits to its website jumped 250% compared to the same period last year. Most of the visits were made from footballing nations like Italy, the US, Russia, Germany, the UK, France, Poland and the Netherlands.

Tourism is a key economic sectors and an important contributor to the country's GDP. Last year, Croatia’s revenues from services provided to foreign tourists increased by 10% y/y to €9.5bn, according to earlier data from the central bank.

“Croatia’s accession into the final of the tournament is a historic achievement that has put out country in the focus of the world’s public. This is a great opportunity for additional promotional services,” HTZ said.

The tourist board even launched a mini campaign on YouTube on July 11, using geo location services and focusing on the stadium during the match and on the whole of Moscow afterwards. 

“The shortened version of the promotional video was viewed over 250,000 times and after the Croatian victory the view rate for the video jumped 161%,” HTZ said. Promotional campaigns were also run on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

However, tourism is not the only sector to benefit from the Croatian football team’s performance in the World Cup. It is expected that spending related to the event will boost the profits of producers and sellers of beer, snacks, souvenirs and TV sets, as well as travel agents, and will bring more money to the state budget.

According to the Tax Administration, the Sunday the Croatian football team defeated Denmark, the fiscalisation system registered receipts totalling HRK429mn, 8.2% up compared to the previous Sunday. When the Croatian team played Argentina, the turnover was 14% higher, while spending during the matches against Nigeria and Iceland was higher by 5% and 4% respectively, according to Total Croatia News.

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