Croatia is preparing for a fall in tourist overnight stays that could range from a best-case scenario of 60% to a worst-case scenario of 90% this year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) takes its toll on the tourism sector.
Croatia is among the most tourism-dependent countries in the world, with the sector accounting for around a quarter of its GDP.
Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on April 1 that the government had come up with three possible scenarios.
The first was for a 60% fall in overnights for the year, should things start getting back to normal in May, the minister told state media. However, June or July are now seen by some as more likely dates, which would take Croatia well into the summer season, and most likely result in a 75% drop in overnights.
"For the time being, we are closest to that scenario of a 75% fall in overnight stays, assuming we catch some tourism traffic in August, September, October and the end of the year,” the minister told Hina.
“But if that is not possible due to the continuation of the pandemic, we go to the third level, which is still far away and I hope it will not come, and that would be a 90% drop in overnight stays.”
Cappelli said on April 1 that while foreign tourist revenue grew by 11% year on year in 2019, the decline in hospitality revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic this year is already evident in this year’s fiscal receipts.
Data from the tax administration shows a large decrease in the number of bills and amounts for accommodation and food service in the last month (February 24 to March 29) by 37% and 41% respectively compared to the same period of 2019, the minister told state news agency Hina.
There was a much deeper 96% y/y drop in invoices issued in the last week (March 23-29) and a 93% fall in the combined value of the invoices.
While hotels are allowed to continue operating, and a small number do, Cappelli acknowledged that the rules on social distancing are such that most have been forced to close.
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