Will Croatia cancel «summer» visas?
National Tourist Board of Croatia plans to invest 1,2 mio € into advertising campaign in Russia in 2011. Most part of this sum will be spent for supporting advertising of touroperators. Besides that the master-classes in 12 Russian cities are planned as well as familiarization trips for agents and press tours.
Croatia is one of the most popular summer destinations for Russians. According to the national statistics the number of Russian guests in Croatia in 2010 increased by 35% and reached 200 thousand tourists. And 50% of them visit Croatian region Istria. This was presented by Mladen Falkoni, the director of the representative office in Russia.
If you remember, Croatia implemented visa-free regime for the Russian tourists for summer season till October 31 in 2009 and 2010. Visa policy for the summer 2011 is not clarified yet. The Ambassador of Croatia in Russia NEBOJSA KOHAROVIC believes that the probability of cancellation of “summer” visas for citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan is pretty high. But preparations of Croatia to enter Schengen zone from January 1, 2012 might intervene. According to the Schengen rules Croatia must start issuing visas 3 months prior to that date. The negotiations with EU partners will tell if the country is able to guarantee visa-free entry at least till end of September 2011.
Besides that Mr. Koharovic mentioned that the consulate of Croatia in Russia is getting ready for visa implementation. Mr. Ambassador promised that there will be at least 20 – 30 persons working in the consulate.
Another problem of the Russian market according to Mr. Falkoni is the increasing competition among travel destinations. When Croatia opened the tourist office in Moscow there were only 15 national tourist boards and now there are more than 60 of them. For example price reduction for a Greece package can negatively affect Croatian season. «The economy situation in our country does not allow us to cut prices», - reported Mladen Falkoni. That’s why rival Greece can find itself in an advantageous position.