Croatia, a beautiful country located in the Balkans, is a popular tourist destination. It was one of the main filming locations for Game Of Thrones. The vibrant beauty, the rich history, the magnificent coastline, etc. make this place a perfect European getaway! Croatia has seen an increase in tourism, but this has people worried.
Tourism is on the rise in Croatia
According to the Ministry of Tourism, Croatia is once again a very popular tourist destination, with the number of visitors this year expected to surpass the record set in 2019. The increase in tourism in 2023 is due to many reasons. Since January, when Croatia joined the Schengen area, many European tourists entering the country are no longer subject to border controls. Additionally, Croatia replaced its old currency, the kuna, with the euro, making transactions easier for visitors.
A ministry spokeswoman said it had seen an increase in the number of tourists in the first half of 2023 compared to previous years and the pre-pandemic period. He said people find it easier to visit Croatia for a weekend or city break thanks to Schengen travel freedoms. A significant share of Croatia’s GDP – up to 20 percent – is already generated by tourism, which is also a major economic driver, particularly in coastal areas.
A question that concerns everyone
Croatia is becoming the most sought-after destination thanks to cities and islands like Dubrovnik. However, this can become a major concern for the environment. For example, the northern region of Istria welcomes a large number of tourists every year. Environmental advocates working with nonprofits are concerned about this development.
Mass tourism has several effects. Local infrastructure, such as recycling and waste collection services, could be overloaded. According to Dunja Mickov of Zelena Istra, it could also encourage unauthorized construction of vacation destinations that could remain empty for months or privatization of beaches that exclude people.
Another Croatian environmental organization, Sunce, works to improve the sustainability of the country’s tourism sector. A representative said Croatia’s tourism sector had seen significant growth in recent years, adding that it was difficult to balance the influx of tourists with the need to preserve Croatia’s natural and cultural heritage.
The Dalmatia Green initiative certifies particularly sustainable tourist hotels in the region.
Cover image courtesy of: Canva