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The Russians Are (Not) Coming!

Entry into the European Union is set to cost Croatia thousands of Russian tourists this season.

“A lot of Russians have stayed home because they do not want to pay the extra costs of obtaining a visa, nor do they want to wait around at embassies doing so,” Russian tourist Julija Zvjereva told Croatian tv station RTL. “It is quiet difficult. You have to get extra documents, take them to the tourist agency, then wait for the results so last-minute travel is almost impossible,” added Aleksej Konrasov.

The report says that Pula Airport, on Croatia’s northern Adriatic, is already feeling the pinch after Croatia were forced to adpot European Union visa laws.

“Data shows they we have 27% less Russians. In numbers that is 12,000 fewer passengers,” said Dean Boljuncic from Pula Airport. Traditionally a popular destination for Russians, Dubrovnik, on Croatia’s southern coast, is fearing worse. In June there were 40% less Russians coming through Dubrovnik Airport than the previous year.

Croatia’s Minister of Tourism Darko Lorencin was recently in Russia where he was working on making the visa issuing process smoother. In Russia 17 new visa issuing centres had opened, with 3 more set to open. So far 41,000 visas for Croatia had been issued. RTL says that Turkish tourists, who from 1 July now need a visa to enter Croatia, have stayed away this season so far from Croatia.

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