The number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia is increasing year-on-year and figures just released by the Croatian National Tourist Board there has been a 40 percent increase this year.
The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is currently representing Croatia's tourist offer at the ITB China business fair, which is being held in Shanghai from the 16th to the 18th of May.
The Croatian offer is part of the large European Travel Commission booth, where 19 European companies, including the Zagreb City Tourist Board, are presenting their offer. The Croatian Information Desk and ETC stand was visited by Croatian National Tourist Board Director, Kristjan Staničić, who met with representatives of the Chinese tourism sector, including representatives of the Global Tourism Economy Forum (GTEF). GTEF is a leading international platform aimed at promoting the sustainable development of the global tourism industry with an emphasis on China.
"China for Croatian tourism is a strategically important market where our country, because of its extremely rich cultural and historical heritage, gastronomy and preserved nature, is recognized as Europe's top tourist destination. With a view to attracting Chinese visitors more intensively, we have decided to strengthen the promotional presence in this large market through organizing business workshops, performing at fairs, and also through the opening of the HTZ representative office in Shanghai. Partner feedback is extremely positive, we expect further growth, especially in the pre and post season, when Chinese tourists usually make their trips to Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Split, "said Staničić, adding that it is necessary to simplify the visa regime in this market, and to introduce direct flights between Croatian and Chinese destinations.
Obtaining a visa to travel to Croatia can take up to one month for Chinese tourists. Therefore, most are bypassing this prolonged system and taking a Schengen visa from France or the United Kingdom which they can receive in 48 hours. This multi-entry visa means they need to stop in either Paris or London on their way to Croatia. This poor bureaucracy is costing Croatian much needed finance as well as being bad promotion for Croatian tourism. Wang Shuai, a Chinese travel expert told The Dubrovnik Times “It can take at least one month to get a visa for Croatia. This is why most Chinese tourists take Schengen visa from France or the UK as these visas are ready in only 48 hours. Of course this means that the tourist has to travel through Paris or London because of their visa. If Croatia could speed up this visa process it would be very helpful.”