The Croatia boom is still well and truly alive for Aussie travellers, with each year bringing greater accessibility and increased options along with customer demand for more extensive and unique itineraries.
That’s the view of Bryce Crampton, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Croatian specialists, Beyond Travel.
“Over the last five years we have seen consistent growth in the region, much of it driven by small ship cruise product and extended cruise-tours including land content,” he said.
“We have seen double digit growth year-on-year over the past five years, up to 65 per cent, and forward bookings for 2018 continue that trend. The only concern is availability so agents should encourage their clients to book ahead as some 2018 departures are already sold out.
”A new region opening up to travellers is Istria, the area offering medieval hilltop villages, great food and seaside towns such as Rovinj. Beyond has seen bookings grow by more than 25 per cent on tours and cruises featuring Istria, which is located in the west of Croatia and shares land with Slovenia and Italy – both popular countries to combine Croatian holidays with.
New for 2018 is Beyond’s exclusive 2018 special journey ‘Complete Croatia’, which combines land touring with coastal cruising over 13 days from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. It includes five nights overland travel from Zagreb to Split with highlights such as the Istrian Peninsula and the famous natural landmark Plitvice Lakes. Guests then take a privately chartered deluxe small ship cruise around the Dalmatian Islands to Dubrovnik.
There are guaranteed departures from May to September next year and prices start from $5,095 per person twin share.
Also new and already proving popular with forward bookings is a six-day, one way cruise-tour from Zagreb through Plitvice Lakes to Split for a three-night cruise to Dubrovnik, visiting the popular Dalmatian Islands of Makarska and Mljet. It is priced from $1,545 per person twin share when booked by December 15. There are 27 departures between April and October next year.
ELSEWHERE, Crampton believes the demand and popularity of Scandinavia and Iceland will continue to strengthen in 2018, after the success of the 2017 season and through the great support of agents.
“We will be improving our Scandinavia and Iceland services to ensure we offer agents the most diverse range of product, competitive pricing and the highest levels of service in 2018,” he said.
“Forward bookings for 2018 are already up 30 per cent so all indicators are for a bumper year for travel to Scandinavia and Iceland ahead.
”Beyond now offers a range of special FIT packages with allotments in Iceland and are doubling their FIT package options Aussies still travelling throughout the rest of Scandinavia.”
New for 2018 is the six-day ‘Land of the Fjords’ tour, an escorted journey from Bergen to Oslo with 11 guaranteed departures throughout June, July and August, while for cruising enthusiasts, there is the ‘Journeys in the Land of Ice and Fire: Reykjavik to Akureyri’ tour, a small ship itinerary in Iceland aboard the 49-passenger MS Panorama.