Croatia’s nautical tourism push pays off

Croatia’s nautical tourism push pays off

While the height of the Croatian summer tourist season is only just beginning, the nation’s marinas have been at or near capacity since early spring with a growing number of yachts plying the waters of the Balkan nation.

Croatia’s investment in marina facilities as well as promotion of nautical tourism is paying off, according to Total Croatia News, as it draws a larger number of larger boats, and their large-spending owners and crews. In fact, nautical tourists in Croatia spend twice as much money as other visitors, and more and more of the wealthiest among them are docking in Croatian marinas.

“Every day we receive inquires for much larger vessels,” says Aleksandar Suran, director of the marina at Veruda, Pula. “We used to have inquiries for ships of 15 to 16 metres in length, and now, on a weekly basis, there are inquiries for vessels over 25 metres.”

Renovated three years ago to include the latest technological and service standards, the marina at Rovinj is now drawing larger vessels that historically went to other countries.

“We came to Rovinj because we bought a bigger boat and it has all of the necessary infrastructure,” says an Austrian sailor identified only as Andreas.

“We’ve filled all of our capacity for annual berths, so we already have a waiting list,” says Goran Bilic, director of ACI Marinas, adding the facility could use some additional expansion to accommodate growing interest.

However, the marina association warns that for marina operators, additional investment now could be risky, as most marina concession contracts expire in 2030.

“You can’t invest some serious funds now, in 2022, and expect to depreciate them by 2030,” explains Sean Lisjak, the association president.

ACI Marinas would like to see current concessionaires given the option for early renewal or a priority on renewal for additional investment. For that to happen, however, the Ministries of Maritime Affairs, Tourism and Finance would all need to be onboard with the plan.

Source: IBI News