This 1 July, Croatia will join the European Union. It’s a process that’s taken more than 12 years to complete, and so much has changed for Croatia in that time. Take tourism, for instance. Croatia’s become something of a holiday hotspot of late – in fact, the country had its best ever tourist season in 2012.
Croatia owes much of its popularity with tourists to its amazing Adriatic coastline and Mediterranean climate. The fact that it hosts some of the world’s best new festivals plays a part, too. But Croatia’s low prices are also very attractive to holidaymakers who want great value for money in Europe.
Will any of this change when Croatia joins the EU? After 1 July, its summers will still be hot, its coastline will still be stunning and its party season will still sizzle. So what will Croatia’s EU membership really mean for holidays in Croatia? We look at some of the pros and cons.
Easier when Croatia adopts the euro
Croatia’s deputy prime minister has announced that the country will keep its national currency, the kuna, and not adopt the euro until the Croatian economy is competitive enough to prosper in its new economic conditions. Once Croatia starts using the euro, in however many years that might be, it may become simpler to keep track of your holiday spending – and to make it go further. Most of us are used to travelling in EU destinations such as Spain and Italy, so we have a good sense of the value of the euro compared to the pound. So budgeting for your next Croatia trip could well be easier.
When Croatia’s currency does eventually change to the euro, you could be saved some additional hassle. You’ll be able to go to Croatia and spend any euros you have left over from your last European trip. You can also be sure that if you so happen to be over-budget for cheap-as-chips Croatia, then you’ll be able to use your leftover euros in so many other great European destinations.
It might be worth noting too that while we wait for Croatia to adopt the euro, tourists will be able to spend euros in some shops, restaurants and attractions, but might not get the most favourable exchange rate!
Will prices rise?
Some people do think that prices could go up slightly once Croatia adopts the common currency – perhaps by 3–6%, according to the Croatian business daily Poslovni. But even allowing for a small price rise, Croatia is still likely to be great value for money after it joins the EU because things are so inexpensive there now.
Any price rise will come on top of a low baseline. In fact, both Dubrovnik – Croatia’s must-see city and ‘pearl of the Adriatic’ – and its capital Zagreb are among Europe’s top 30 cheapest cities for travellers according to the 2013 European backpacker index.
That said, it’s still too early to tell exactly how EU membership will effect travel in Croatia. Just one thing is for sure: EU membership is unlikely to put a dent in Croatia’s status as an ‘it’ destination for 2013.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments below