Visions and goals of Croatia?
One of Croatia's main goals is the accession to the European Union. This goal is also referred to the tourism and travel industry because it would help Croatia to establish a new image and to speed up the whole post war reconstruction process that should establish the Croatian brand on the market. Another goal of Croatia is the recovery of the travel and tourism demand that has decreased after the war in 1990. The goal of Croatia is also to expand and renovate touristic infrastructures which are one of the biggest challenges for Croatia at this moment; enhancement of the product and service quality, and also to double the GDP . Croatia has the goal to highlight the strategic importance of travel and industry, develop the human capital required for touristic expand, encourage open markets, match public and private infrastructure to customer demand, increase technological development in the travel and tourism sector and to promote and protect the natural, cultural and social environments. The vision of Croatia is to become a sustainable tourist destination that is using its potential to the maximum and to shake the current image of a low cost destination and to justify the slogan "Croatia-the Mediterranean as it once was".
Competitors of Croatia?
The main competitor of Croatia in the first place is Spain. Also, a big touristic competition is Turkey, Italy and Greece. But, in the competition group we can also include other countries such as France, Bulgaria, Austria, Tunisia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Romania and Malta, but these countries have a smaller competition effect on Croatia comparing to the first four countries mentioned. Croatia is a very specific country because every region offers different king of attractions, activities, accommodation, entertainment etc. Croatia's biggest advantage over these competitors is the beauty of the coast and islands; clean sea water, warm climate and the untouched traditional culture.
Critical Components for the development and implementation of Croatia's tourism industry?
For Croatia in order to achieve the forecasts or even to be better and to exceed the forecasts there are some key factors or components that have to be satisfied and implemented. In the first place they have to create a good and stable fiscal policy, a climate that is creating a positive effect on the business that is offering investment grants, an effective marketing and promotion strategy, and also there is a need to create policies that are in the first place environmentally friendly. Long-term plans have to be developed that are clearly defined and they must be the guidance to the national, private and public sector. These kinds of plans should be created in consultation and with the cooperation of all the stakeholders. Planning and marketing is essential for the future development of Croatia's travel and tourism industry. Croatia as a touristic destination should attract new investors and by that way incorporate new markets.
Macro & Micro Environment Concerns for Croatia
In the terms of the macro environment, the Croatian Government should attach to travel and tourism strategic priority and to implement that in the policies for other levels such as the issue of low employment, in the educational levels, investment level, trade, and the environmental protection. Travel and tourism, as a very important industry in Croatia should be exposed to the local community and also to the government industry plant. All the government departments that are connected or affected by travel and tourism should be involved in developing and implementing national tourism policy. In the terms of the micro environment, the government is there to ensure the conditions for the market confidence and sustainable development. Power is being decentralized to the local governments, while the participation and influence of the private sectors is increasing the process. There are several priorities such as the acceleration and expand of privatization in more sectors of travel and tourism ranging from transportation and investment.
Analysis of Croatia's tourism industry
The major sources in terms of arrivals in Croatia were Germany, the domestic Croatian market, Czech Republic and Austria. There was a constant increase of foreign and domestic arrivals from the year 2002. Croatia's tourism industry is characterized by a high seasonality of demand. The peak months of the season (July and August) generate more than 65% of all overnights and 54% of arrivals. During the winter season ranging from October to March Croatian tourism industry is generating 5% of overnights and 11% arrivals. Independent travel of tourists is present in Croatia; more than 69%. A positive thing for Croatians touristic industry is the repeat business. Almost 64% of foreign visitors have already visited Croatia for at least two times. Domestic tourists are also very important for Croatia because they make 17% of arrivals and 12% of overnights. A big strength for the Croatian tourism industry is the fact that 91.1% of visitors are for the rest & relax by the seaside reasons in Croatia; 36, 1% for pleasure and fun and 32.5% are visiting natural attractions. Croatia has in total 722.525 beds and camping places. There are 419 hotels with 49,380 rooms and 6,286 rooms are located in four or five star hotels. The annual on Croatian hotels showed that the average occupancy in the year 2001 was 42% and the average daily room rate was 35.50 and the hotels gross operating profit was 22%.
Appraisal of Croatia's tourism industry
Croatia is still in the process of recovery from the war that stopped and slowed the development of travel and tourism. The biggest problem of war was the devastation of the touristic infrastructure in which a large amount of money is being invested. After the war Croatia was able to recover its tourism industry but slowly. The biggest challenge now is to create and promote new competitive advantages. Croatia has a unique landscape with over 1000 islands, it is in a good geographical position which makes it easy accessible by land or by sea. It has a population of 4.4 million. Croatia has three distinctive geographical and climate regions. Croatia has diverse historical and cultural attractions, archeological sites dating from Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods. The strategic location is of major importance for Croatia because the historic Europe to Asia route is passing trough Croatia. Croatia has nine international airports, four are located on the coast and three of them are located on islands. There is also a large number of small ports or local and regional importance, but there are also six international ports in Croatia.
Croatia in fact has all the necessary natural resources for a successful tourism industry and on which new touristic products can be built. New product offerings have to be produced in order to attract the sophisticated customers. Diversification would ensure the sustainable growth of the industry and that will automatically attract all stakeholders and make them invest in the countries touristic development. The main thing is to get the stakeholders attention, after that investment funds will come from all sides, because the stakeholders have to see an opportunity in Croatian's tourism industry. There will always be a need for low budget tourism for those customers that can't afford expensive vacation and those tourists have also to be accepted. It is important that the market becomes aware and notices Croatia as a unique destination with unique attractions, and also the overall environmental friendliness of Croatia. That should ensure future tourism growth, and it should help Croatia to establish and clarify its market image.