Actually, one has always known it: water sports enthusiasts, especially boat and yacht owners are among the most loyal guests in Croatia. To confirm this thesis, the Croatian Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, according to the correct translation, has now provided the corresponding figures. While according to the Croatian Ministry of Tourism the number of tourists decreased by about 50% compared to the previous year due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the number of boat and yacht owners staying in Croatia decreased by only 32.83% compared to the same period last year.
Permit applications and permit extensions recorded
In order to determine the figures, the Ministry used the issued permits and permit extensions in the period from 1.1.2020 to 27.7.2020 and compared them with the corresponding figures of the previous year. While 40664 water sports enthusiasts came to Croatia in 2019, the effects of the corona pandemic became noticeable in the following year 2020: Port captains issued only 27,313 permits, a decrease of exactly 32.83 percent.
Season began later for many
However, if one questions these figures in more detail, it should not be forgotten that the water sports season in Croatia began much later due to border closures or domestic quarantine in the countries of origin of yacht and boat owners. Against this background, the 2020 water sports season can even be described as having gone well so far, according to the circumstances.
Economic reasons in the home countries
Other reasons why many water sports enthusiasts stayed at home and did not extend their permits or applied for new ones are probably due to the economic situation in their home countries. After months of lockdown, many water sports enthusiasts simply cannot afford to spend their holidays abroad. They have to help the economy pick up speed again at home at work.
New registrations in Croatia despite Corona
If you look at the new permit applications, the glass may be half full for some people and half empty for others. However, a decline of only 45% leaves little room for interpretation, because despite the COVID-19 pandemic with its far-reaching consequences, 742 yacht owners still decided to apply for a new permit and thus expressed their confidence in the state of Croatia in coping with the pandemic. For the smaller boats with a length of less than 12 metres, the decrease in new applications was only 38.58%. Here the Ministry registered a remarkable 5163 new registrations up to 27.7. of this year.
Those whose yacht or boat was already registered in Croatia last year only had to extend their permit. As a rule, these are long-standing Croatia experts who can correctly assess the situation. In the case of yachts, 22.61 % fewer permits were extended in comparison with the same period last year, and 32.01 % for boats.
Additional water sports enthusiasts are expected in August
But even these figures are by no means the end of the story. August is still the month with the highest number of visitors in Croatia, which should still have the potential to increase the numbers further in order to come closer to last year’s results.
Charter companies also report a run on off-season
This thesis does not appear to be completely unrealistic. Leading charter companies in Croatia already confirm an increased run on the off-season. The motto of many customers is: If we cannot start a charter trip in spring, then at least in autumn. And at this time of the year Croatia should be even more beautiful.
Boat and yacht owners an important pillar of Croatian tourism
You don’t have to be a prophet to take a look at the entire 2020 water sports season: Towards the end there will certainly be a decline in the number of visitors, which will be more moderate than in the other tourism segments. It is to be hoped that this insight will also manifest itself in the minds of those responsible for tourism when it comes to future decisions in the water sports tourism segment. As is well known, this segment, with its significantly higher average per capita expenditure, makes a significant contribution to the total revenue generated by Croatia in the tourism segment.
By the way – if you are planning a new registration or extension of your permit this year, you can have this official process done online via SeaHelp, conveniently and in compliance with the distance rules.
Here are the tables of exact figures: