Croatia is looking at ways of reducing the highly seasonal nature of the country’s air connectivity by boosting cooperation between airlines, airports and other stakeholders in the tourism sector. Some of the proposed measures include incentives for year-round operations, which are already offered by airports, as well as joint promotional activities. According to aviation analytics company Centre for Aviation, “Croatia is one of Europe’s most seasonally skewed markets and highlights the strong dependence of its aviation market on summer leisure routes, with only low demand during the winter season. This sees activity peak in July and August, with June and September acting as shoulder months”.
Croatia Airlines is placing a greater emphasis on introducing international flights from Croatia’s secondary airports over the winter months. “During the coronavirus pandemic, we linked Osijek with an international destination for the first time – Munich – with the support of the city, county and tourism boards. It has now developed into a year-round route. During the previous winter, we connected Pula with Zurich and maintained flights between Split and Zurich in cooperation with local tourism boards. Our goal now is to link both Zadar and Dubrovnik with international destinations during the winter period. The whole of Croatia is important to us because that way we will succeed in our mission”, Croatia Airlines’ CEO, Jasmin Bajić, said recently.
Croatia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Slaven Žabo, noted, “Synergy, a defined tourist product, motivating people to come visit and a targeted campaign are key to extending the tourist season. During the winter period, in cooperation with the Croatia Tourist Board, as well as county and local tourist offices, we held joint presentations for tour operators and business journalist across Europe, while we also attended the most important European and Croatian tourism fairs”. He added, “I want to point out that this year we restored a number of our seasonal flights much earlier than before and have extended the flying season, which is our contribution to extending the tourism season and developing tourism in Croatia”.
Croatia’s Minister for Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac, said, “Our goal is to increase the number of flights available to Croatia throughout the entire year, which contributes not only to air connectivity, but also to the development of a year-round tourism product. This has been specifically highlighted in the new [tourism] strategy, with the focus of improving both domestic and international air connectivity”. She added, “By collaborating with airlines, tour operators and travel agencies in the field of marketing, the strategy promotes the introduction of year-round flights from major emitting markets. We’re happy because Croatia Airlines connects Croatia with a number of important tourist destinations throughout the entire year. Croatia’s flag carrier is an important segment of our national brand”.