Croatian tourism has had a very successful first half of the year, with figures up by 7 per cent on the same period in 2014 and an especially sharp rise in visitor numbers to Zagreb.
Figures released by the Croatian National Tourist Board, HTZ, in its half-yearly report, show a significant upward trend.
In the first six months of 2015, 4.1 million tourists visited Croatia, which was 7 per cent more than in the same period in 2014.
Over the same period, these tourists spent 16.8 million overnight stays, which was 5 per cent more than in the same period in 2014.
Of the total number of visitors, 3.6 million came from abroad, which is also 7 per cent more than last year.
Foreign tourists in this period spent 14.9 million overnight stays, which is 4.3 per cent more than over the same period in 2014.
Dalmatia, known for its sunny coastline, beaches and numerous islands, attracted 1.7 million people – 5.5 per cent more than 2014 – who spent 7.3 million nights (4.4 per cent more) in hotels, apartments and camps.
The Istrian peninsula on the northern Adriatic coast also did well with 1.1 million tourists in this period, which was 6.6 per cent more than last year. These tourists spent 5.4 million overnight stays, which was 4.2 per cent up.
Both the biggest boost to tourism figure did not come from the seaside but from the Croatian capital, Zagreb, in continental Croatia.
Between January and June, 428,000 tourists visited the capital, which was an impressive 12 per cent up on the same period last year. Tourists spent 753,000 overnight stays in the city, 11 per cent more than last year.
Most tourists who came to the Croatia in this period were taking vacations. Some 22 per cent of all tourists came from Germany, 10 per cent from Austria, 9.6 per cent from Slovenia, 5 per cent from the Czech Republic and 4.7 per cent from Italy.
Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin assessed that tourism could earn Croatia a record-high 8 billion euro this year.
The HTZ told BIRN that the healthy figures reflected good preparations for the tourist season, adding that active preparations for this season began back in last September.
The HTZ said it did not believe the boost was simply the result of tourists diverting to Croatia from unstable Greece and Tunisia.
Tourism generated 7.4 billion euro for Croatia in 2014, which was 17.2 per cent of its annual GDP. Although figures grew by 2.8 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013, they are still below the figures recorded at the pre-recession peak of 2008.