Demand for sailing get-aways skyrockets

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Just like most years, thousands of sailing boats are currently spread across Croatia’s Adriatic coast.

But this summer interest in nautical holidays has skyrocketed, with most sailing boats booked until the end of October and yacht charters looking for new ways to meet demand.

Yachting vacations are one of the main offerings from Croatia’s tourism sector.

After last year’s COVID-19 outbreak brought most tourism throughout Europe to a halt, Croatia’s magnificent islands are once again packed with tourists both on land and on sea.

According to statistics from the tourism board, Croatia has welcomed 9 million people so far in 2021.

In 2019 – a bumper year for the country – it was about 17 million by the end of the season.

Tourism usually accounts for 19 percent of Croatia’s GDP.

This year, yachting is the must-have holiday.

“The season is extremely crowded. Everybody is looking to have a boat. And we have no boats anymore,” explains Marin Katicin, CEO of a charter company called Pitter Yachting.

Another reason for the current popularity of sailing holidays is they offer an opportunity to remain isolated rather than visiting crowded resorts and beaches.

“When you sail away, ‘la vita e bella’ (life is beautiful) and people feel safe, people feel good, because they are not massed with thousands of people, but maybe dozens of them somewhere in a restaurant over the islands,” explains boat skipper Robert Sangulin.

“The area where they sail should be safe and we do all we can do to keep the area safe.”

Yacht charter companies say they are offering safety assurances to guests as well as detailed instructions on how to get to Croatia safely and remain “corona-free” throughout the stay.

Kate Redder, a visitor from Germany, who has chosen a sailing holiday, says she feels safer and more free on this kind of trip.

“You are more independent, on your own, than when you just stay on the land. So, you will see much more of the nature of Croatia and you will get really good impressions of how beautiful the country really is,” she says.

“I think it is much safer than just going to a hotel where you meet different people all the time. So, you are safe, we are only here as a family and with our skipper.”

Croatia has hundreds of islands along the coast, offering a maze of bays, small beaches and picturesque villages and towns along any route.

Tourism is key for Croatia’s economic sustainability. The European Union’s newest member state still has one of the weakest economies in the bloc after going through a war in the 1990s.

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