Croatia could lose as many as 20,000 Russian tourists, costing the country around 20 million euros next year. That is what experts predict as the EU is to make Croatia enforce visa restrictions for Russians from April next year.
Russians are among the top 10 tourists to Croatia’s Adriatic coast, and the third fastest growing group of tourists. When Croatia is forced to bring back visas for Russian travellers entering the country, to come in line with European policy, the cost and complicated procedures of obtaining the necessary visa is set to put one in ten tourists off, around 20,000.
Croatia’s Minister of Tourism Veljko Ostojic says Croatia’s hands are tied. “Unfortunately, we will not have any authority in that department from next year. A drop in the number of tourists because of the visa issue happens to other places so it will be unrealistic to think we will avoid it,” said Ostojic, adding that he will do all he can to at least simplify the process in obtaining a visa.
The number of Russian tourists to Croatia have been growing rapidly since visas were suspended for Russian nationals back in 2009.