The Croatian tourism market is rapidly growing and breaks records each year. In 2016, there were 15.6 million visitors, translating to over 78 million overnight stays, which is an increase of almost 9% in visits compared to 2015. It is expected that 2017 will beat last year’s record. While growth creates revenue, in the long term this exponential increase in visitors serves no one and will not be durable without a solid plan which includes preserving the country’s natural, social and cultural resources.
When considering similar tourism destinations, for example Greece and Spain, we can learn from their experiences. Mass tourism and overexploitation of resources has led to a situation in which tourists turn away from overdeveloped resorts in such destinations in order to seek new, undiscovered and untouched locations. To avoid this, some changes in in the Croatian tourism sector need to be made.
Considering the current status of Croatian tourism, the only way forward is to plan strategically. The tourism model must emphasise the development of products and experiences that enhance the country’s biological diversity and environmental beauty, preserve cultural richness and lead to local prosperity. The combination of these factors will, in the long run, result in visitors’ fulfilment, sustainable growth and an overall positive attitude from everyone involved in tourism.