Friday, April 21, 2017

Croatia seeks Far East flights


The Croatian Minister for Tourism, Gari Cappelli, has said the country is looking to secure flights from Far East Asia in order to better cater for the growing number of tourists from the region. Mr Cappelli singled out South Korea, Japan and China as key markets. Currently, Korean Air and Japan's ANA serve Croatia through summer charters to Zagreb and Dubrovnik respectively. The minister noted that crisis-hit holiday destinations in North Africa and Europe are beginning to recover, which is why Croatia must do more to attract tourists from Asia. "We have to be prepared that some countries are returning to the scene and will try to attract consumers with low prices. That is why we are turning towards the Asian market, primarily Korea, Japan and China, where we are concentrating a lot of our efforts. We might see direct flights between China and Zadar", Mr Cappelli said.

China Southern Airlines recently commenced talks with Zadar Airport over the possible introduction of flights from its main base in Guangzhou. It marks Zadar Airport's second attempt at establishing services to China following a failed effort in 2014 with Hainan Airlines. Talks are said to have gone "very well", with China Southern requesting additional technical data. However, Guangzhou Airport has noted it would contact other carriers if China Southern decided against launching the service. "In addition to flights, we plan to open the office of the Chamber of Commerce and even our Tourist Board in China. The arrival of Chinese guests would guarantee a stronger pre and post season because they are not interested in the beaches", the Minister said. China's Ambassador to Croatia emphasised the need for direct flights to be established between the two counties in order to attract more tourists. Despite plans from Beijing Capital Airlines to launch services to Zagreb this June, they are unlikely to materialise.

Korean Air plans to maintain its summer charters between Seoul and Zagreb this year. It is believed the airline is considering operating scheduled year-long flights in the foreseeable future. The two countries recently concluded a Bilateral Air Service Agreement, which allows for the South Korean national carrier to operate daily flights to the city and offers the potential for more codeshare agreements between airlines operating out of both countries. "By concluding this agreement, the primary assumption is that regular nonstop flights between our two countries will be established”, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The Croatian Minister for Tourism added, “We are seeking to establish regular flights to Korea to cater to a surging number of Korean tourists visiting Croatia. Korea is the most important market for us in Asia”.

90 comments:

  1. What's the point? The market is not that big to start with and the one that already exists is served by LH, QR and soon EK.

    For the time being charters are the only realistic outcome.

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    1. I agree with you. I think the market between Croatia and far east Asia is well covered. Especially with EK starting flights soon.

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  2. I'm surprised Korean hasn't started regular flights yet.

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    1. How would they fill the flight on a yearly basis?

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    2. It's not surprising. It's much safer for them to operate charter flights where seats are sold by tour operators. I guess tourist numbers are not enough to warrant schedule flights, especially not with Vienna and Venice being right there, in the neighborhood.

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    3. Apart from charters, it would be interesting to see which flights are used most often by Koreans to get to cro. I assume TK or QR.

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    4. I wouldn't rule out LH, especially via MUC.

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    5. Korean has a codeshare with CSA between Prague and Zagreb since last year. Possible they shuttle some passengers that way too.

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    6. I am sure OK carries a part of the market but given the aircraft they use and the number of frequencies on the route I doubt they hold a large share of the market.

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    7. But why would they start flights at all? Except for tourists is there any other traffic between Korea and Zagreb? Business travel? Outbound travel from Croatia to Korea? No. You can't set up a flight just based on tourists unless it has reached such a critical mass that it can be sustainable and can attract both the average tourist and high-end tourists. If you are catering just for tourists during several months a year then the charters they have got that covered.

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    8. In 2017. tourists from Korea were
      January: 1st, 16,2% of all arrivals
      February: 2nd, 13,4% of all arrivals

      Their numbers are constantly on the rise, of the larger markets outside Europe only the US has a better increase so far

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    9. Maybe they should considet year-round charters, not just during the winter.

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    10. last year 378 000 South Koreans, 177000 Japanese, 220 000 Chinese visitors in Croatia. I think we can all agree there's a need for year round service.

      Number of visitors from far east will be up by at least 11%.

      Add to this 150 000 Australians and 25000 New Zealanders that visited Croatia in 2016 and 8% growth expected from these markets in 2017.

      The need for Korean air scheduled flights is here, when perhaps in 2019? When some 500 000+ Korean visitors will be visiting Croatia.

      Number of Chinese visitors is expected to hit 400 000 by 2020, number includes, Taiwan and HK. However from mainland at least 250 000 are expected, warranting direct link with Zagreb by this point.

      Number of Aussie and Kiwi visitors will hit around 250 000 by 2020, which would perhaps push Qatar to establish trice daily service to Zagreb. Emirates can continue with their B777 service, but for twice daily service with that bird we'd need 500 000 Aussie and Kiwi visitors to Croatia.

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    11. Look at January data, numbers from China have tripled, Taiwan fivefold increase.
      Know its a small base, but numbers there could surpass Korea within a few years

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  3. If the minister is counting on flights from China to Zadar like he says, then it means they haven't done a lot to attract Chinese airlines since I doubt this service will happen like it was the case a few years ago

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    1. Zadar just makes no sense at all. Dubrovnik or Split would be much more logical, not to mention Zagreb.

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    2. Agree, Zadar really makes no sense at the moment! I live in Dubrovnik and the city is crowded with South Koreans, so is Zagreb, we'll see the numbers at the end of the year, I think the growth will be huge!

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    3. China - Zagreb makes the most sense. Not just because Zagreb is the capital and best connected in Croatia but because it is continental and it is true what the minister says that Chinese are not interested in beaches and swimming. That being said a lot needs to be done to handle Chinese tourists which are quite demanding and again I think Zagreb has the best ability to do that.

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    4. Does anyone has an explanation for such numbers of Koreans visiting Croatia?? That is almost 400,000 and the country is way smaller than Japan, or China. I mean...why Koreans? Any particular reason for that? I know that they are generally interested in old Europe, culture, history, but seems to me the Koreans somehow discovered Croatia on their own. Or? Game of Thrones?? :)

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    5. I found this in an older Ex-Yu article here

      Croatia has become hugely popular in South Korea thanks to a reality show. It all started in 2012 with the filming of the show “Romantic”, featuring Koreans in their 20s and 30s visiting Croatia’s hotspots. South Korean TV then produced another hit travel-reality show called “Noonas over flowers” - noonas meaning older sisters - in which several well known Korean actresses backpacked their way through Croatia, having a huge impact on the country’s popularity in South Korea. Ho Il-Sang, a spokesman for Korea’s top travel agency, Hana Tour, says, “Croatia is emerging as one of the most promising travel destinations for South Koreans who visit Europe”.

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  4. I think Croatia has a lot of potential to attract Chinese tourists and I do not understand why more hasn't been done. Flights to Zadar just seem like a dream project.

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    1. Agree. Politicians have been talking about China-Croatia flights since 2014 and nothing has happened yet.

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  5. Minister seems unconvincing to me. They don't seem to be in discussions with anyone. Unlike with flights to US where he actually also gave a timeframe when that could start, this all seems vague to me.

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    1. Actually, minister of tourism just had talks in London about Four seasons brand coming to Hvar in 2019!

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    2. I meant that they don't seem to be in discussions with any airline from Asia.

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    3. I would rather see a new five star hotel that's owned by a local than more foreign businesses

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    4. Ok but we were talking about airlines.

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    5. Agree, but I wanted to say that if there's a will, results will come!

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  6. When it comes to our Croatian politicians and discussing the new routes you know that noghing will happen

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    1. Yeah we also thought that about EK - and then it just happened!

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  7. There is a huge potential from Chinese market, and it's yet to be "discovered"

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  8. It's good that they have the initiative but this kind of news comes up every few months - HR to USA, HR to China... and none of it becomes a reality in the end.

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  9. Sometimes I wonder could OU have taken out a long haul aircraft and started flying maybe to the US and a point in Asia.

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    1. They don't even fly to Dusseldorf or Berlin but you want them to expand into long-haul?

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    2. Well Air Serbia doesn't fly to Munich but they fly long haul. Why would that matter?

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    3. The reason is simple. They don't have the financial backing. Like JU, OU is a small airline. To start such flights is a huge undertaking and very expensive. JU had the benefit of having a major world airline behind them who provided training, helped with plane leasing, permit approval etc. It also had huge logistic support from the government. OU currently does not have those. If they get sold they may start such flights.

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    4. JU is not flying to MUC because competition is too strong, coming from LH and W6.

      That said, OU would face almost no competition on either one of these two. There is EW from Berlin but they are owned by LH so... not as hostile as let's say AF or KL.

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    5. @AnonymousApril 21, 2017 at 10:18 AM

      Air Serbia is even smaller, especially when it comes to revenue. Also you are heavily subsidized by the state in tune of $60 million each year, and still making massive losses. Only matter of time before Etihad cuts its link with Air Serbia, even with subsidies Etihad gets, it is in their long term interest to cut its losses.

      However I do not want OU to fly intercontinental before it has its fiances sorted and European network fully covered with decent number of routes. 40 would do.

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    6. Air Serbia smaller? Based on what? Passenger numbers - no. Based on revenue - no (check 2015 results). Based on fleet size, network size, prifit margin, ASK, load factor - no.


      While I realize you need to have your daily Air Serbia rant, try not to present your dreams of doom as facts.

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    7. @4.35. Wonder what set you off as the comment at 10.18 is completely correct and unlike your condscendig and complex driven comment he said nothing nasty about OU.

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    8. Oh settle down. Some Croats and Serbs are exactly the same here - bitter and wishing the worst imaginable scenario for the other.

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  10. JAL used to fly to ZAG but they haven't for a couple of years. What happened?

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    1. A couple of years ago they ended a lot of flights, charters to ZAG included because of financial problems. They haven't returned since. Last year ANA did fly to Dubrovnik.

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    2. Both JAL and the tour operators were not happy with ZAG and switched to LJU. In 2015 JAL charter was cancelled due to the shortage of B777 captains. ANA took over last year. This year ANA flies to DBV on 12, 26 Aug and LJU on 19 Aug.

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  11. But I think Korean Air has generally decreased the number of charters they operate compared to 2 years ago. Apparently this year will be the same as last. I don't see them starting regular flights until they increase the number of charters.

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    1. It will e much more difficult for them to start scheduled flights with Emirates launching Zagreb in 2 months.

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    2. But there are much more Koreans every year, so that doesn't make sense!

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    3. That means that they are no longer using Croatia as their starting point. It has probably become a destination that's along the way.

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    4. They also decreased capacity. They used to fly with B777 now it's A330. This does not make much sense because the number of Korean tourists is constantly growing but could be an indication that less people are buying tours with this combination.

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    5. Exactly, the real question we should be asking ourselves is why they are no longer starting their journey in Croatia? What did Austria or the Czech Republic offer that Croatia didn't?

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    6. I think Zagreb will become a regional hub for including areas: Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, north-east Italy (Trieste, Udine), southern parts of Austria, and a big chunk of Serbia. That's why it needs connection to America and Asia. Connections to the ME are already assured. Good job from Croatia government.

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    7. @anon 10:29AM

      Znaš kak se veli: Misliti je dre* znati.

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  12. I think Zagreb will become a regional hub for including areas: Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, north-east Italy (Trieste, Udine), southern parts of Austria, and a big chunk of Serbia. That's why it needs connection to America and Asia. Connections to the ME are already assured. Good job from Croatia government.

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    1. Not just those, for the whole of Europe maybe even parts of Africa and west Asia.

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    2. I think Africa before Asia as there is less competition there and Croatia has already taken adequate measures.

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    3. I think Antarctica is in reach as well. They should look into becoming a hub for South America too but I think more has to be done there.

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    4. I think ZAG can become a gateway to South America now that they opened a new terminal.

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    5. I think you are a troll that needs to learn how to troll properly.

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    6. But Croatia must become a member of Schengen Zone 1st...way go

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  13. even more tourists? its already a sardine box. just look at DBV

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  14. Good luck! There is definitely potential.

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  15. It's good that they are thinking about new markets. Would be fantastic to have regular flights from one of these countries.

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  16. Some people here claimed that Croatian politicians do not comment on aviation. Guess they were wrong.

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    1. He's minister of tourism. What the hell are you talking about?

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    2. I'm actually glad that this minister is paying more attention to aviation and that they are directly involved in negotiations with other airlines.

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  17. South Korean, Japanese and Chinese countries provide significantly greater number of tourists than before. They all prefer to come out of season. In the first 3 months South Koreans are the biggest source of tourists in Central Dalmatia and probably elsewhere too. If flights could be coordinated the potential there is huge.

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    1. South Koreans were the most numerous foreign visitors in Croatia in January, and second in February.
      Looking at just arrivals in 2015. they were the largest market for Croatian tourism outside Europe, although the US was close.
      America will probably overtake Korea this year, but the US market is more summer-season oriented

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  18. Apparently Chinese are fooling Zadar.. Zadar is chosen intentionally I guess, as the city is well-known for spending millions (Ryanair) to attract tourist traffic. Don't you think Chinese would be interested in Zagreb, similar to Korean Air, if they intend to operate to Croatia?

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    1. I think you are right. The issue is that Zadar can't handle A330 without restrictions and the Chinese can't send anything smaller than that.

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  19. Last summer All Nippon Airways operated charters from Tokyo Narita Airport to Dubrovnik in August and September, as well as Osaka, Sendai and Nagoya. All flights were operated with Boeing 777. Anyone know if they are coming back this year?

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    1. They probably are. They announce these flights in early in August and start in late August and early September.

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    2. Thanks. Would be nice to see an ANA B777 linked to the air bridge in DBV.

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    3. @ 12.07 actually they announce them in May not August. We should know next month.

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    4. This year ANA flies to DBV on 12, 26 Aug and LJU on 19 Aug.

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  20. These far east turist will not come in Croatia only to soak themselfs into Adriatic...they see Europe as one destination. So ASAP to see all...what means London, Paris, Rome...name it .
    .. where on their list are Dubrovnik, Plitvicka, Postojna, Bled, Zagreb, Ljubljana... the closest are Venice and Vienna

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  21. I really do hope that something materializes out of this.

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  22. Because pf year round travel, Korea flights might be more lucrative then TATL.

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  23. With the massive capacity Emirates will be offering to Zagreb and the dumping prices they have been offering I think they will easily serve for all three of these Asian markets to Croatia.

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    1. If Korean were to launch ZAG flights it certainly would take away some passengers from EK, QR and TK.

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  24. What are the stats for Chinese toursts in Croatia in 2016? I tried googling but could not find anything.

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  25. OT: FZ cutting SOF effective 14 May.

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    1. Maybe Emirates will start flights.

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    2. SOF is too small for them.

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    3. If Emirates will be starting flights, I believe they will start with Bucharest where they have daily flights and not Sofija where they have 3 p/w. It will make sense to start with destination where they can already pack-up their planes on daily basis.

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    4. Wizzair beat flydubai to Dubai, though they fly to DWC instead of DXB. SOF was not a star performer at best of times. Saying that, there are many other destinations with far worse results where the flights will continue. Don't forget, FZ goes primarily for point to point traffic, EK goes network feed and perhaps SOF could offer something to their hub. Check out today's Arabian Business, Sir Clarck mentions deployment of aircraft to new and existing markets in Europe, Africa and Asia.

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    5. Don't forget O&D traffic also had QR and TK which were extremely aggressive with their marketing

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  26. OT: Ljubljana Airport d.o.o renamed to Fraport Slovenija d.o.o.

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    1. Check yesterday's article
      http://www.exyuaviation.com/2017/04/ljubljana-to-outline-terminal-expansion.html

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