ZAGREB, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- With more than 20 million arrivals in 2019, Croatia recorded new growth in the tourism industry, data presented here on Tuesday by Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli found.
According to the eVisitor tourist check-in and check-out system, there were 20.7 million arrivals last year, five percent more than in 2018, as well as 108.6 million overnight stays (a two percent growth).
The number of foreign tourists grew by four percent, or 18.3 million, while there were nine percent more domestic tourists year-on-year.
"Another record tourist year in terms of arrivals and overnight stays is behind us, but the more important is that we are recording an increase in tourism revenues and tourists spending," the minister said at a press conference.
He noted that tourists in Croatia spent an average of 97 euros (107 U.S. dollars) per day, which is 20 percent more than in 2017. Cappelli explained that this is a reflection of a better tourist offer in Croatia and investments in accommodation capacities.
The ministry has started to draft a new strategy of tourism development, which will focus on sustainable and responsible tourism based on quality and added value.
"Within the Croatian presidency of the EU Council we will advocate sustainable and responsible management in the tourism sector and for the sake of better visibility in a long-haul market we will propose an establishment of the European tourism brand for joint promotion of member states," the minister said.
In 2019, the top three destinations in Croatia were Dubrovnik, with 4.4 million overnight stays; Rovinj with 4 million overnight stays; and Porec with 3.5 million overnight stays. Istria is the most popular county with 28.7 million overnight stays, Split-Dalmatia County comes second with 20.5 million and the third is Kvarner in the northern Adriatic with 19.3 million.
Most foreign tourists came from Germany, Slovenia, and Austria in 2019.
Croatia, a southeastern European country, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. Its economy is heavily dependent on the tourism industry which has an almost 20 percent share in the country's gross domestic product (GDP).