Hospitality and Tourism

It’s an exciting time to be a hospitality and tourism student in Croatia. The two sectors continue to be absolutely vital to Croatia’s prosperity, generating 18% of its GDP and accounting for 10% of all jobs in the country. Even though the outlook is broadly positive, with investment growth forecast at 15% for 2018, among the highest in the world, Croatia is taking steps to revamp its hospitality and tourism sectors. Against this backdrop, hospitality and tourism education at university is also put under reform, marked by a new emphasis on sustainability knowledge and food and beverage training. Opportunities for English speaking students are available not only in major coastal destinations such as Dubrovnik and Split but also in Zagreb, a less touristy but more affordable city.

For the past five years, the growth trajectory of the hospitality and tourism sectors in Croatia has been extraordinary. From an underrated destination, Croatia successfully capitalised on its EU accession in 2013 and catapulted into the spotlight. In 2017, the country welcomed a record of 18.5 million visitors and enjoyed a total revenue of 10 billion euro from foreign tourists. Tourism alone attracted 11% of the total investment poured into the country in 2016, and the volume is forecasted to increase by 40% in 2018. With Croatia's tourism accommodation reaching its full capacity in the summer of 2017, some 40 new hotels are expected to be in operation by the end of 2018. It is no surprise that first edition of the Global Tourism Locations of the Future 2017/2018 report, of the leading British publication of the Financial Times for business, the fDi Magazine, ranked Croatia the seventh country among destinations with the highest potential for tourism investment.

Despite its remarkable success, Croatia’s tourism and hospitality are taking a new direction. The goal is to steer away from mass tourism and the low-cost “sun and beach” brand and transform into a world-class, all seasons holiday destination. The change is necessary given that tourists increasingly seek new, unspoiled locations with high-quality products that maximise the travel experience. Health, culture, sports, nautical, business, gastronomy are among the key tourism products that Croatia chooses to focus on in the next five years. Following this new strategy, Croatia is successfully overcoming the seasonality issue that most Mediterranean destinations are faced with and developing a reputation for adventure holidays. One of the biggest growth areas in 2017 was in nautical tourism, with boating visitors responsible for up to 600,000 overnight stays in September alone.

Hospitality and tourism schools in Croatia were quick to respond to those changes. Aspira University College of Management and Design introduced sustainability and destination management to its undergraduate curriculum to educate students on preserving the country’s resources, coordinating conflicting interests of stakeholders and creating tailored products to gain competitive advantages. The college also became the first Croatian institution to teach gastronomy in English, offering a three-year professional study programme with a partner Swiss hospitality school. Graduates receive two diplomas, a Bachelor of International Management in Hospitality and Tourism and Head of Travel Agency Diploma. The course addresses the long-standing shortage of food and beverage shortage in Croatia and demonstrates the importance of gastronomy and oenology in creating a comprehensive tourist experience.

The last couple of years have also seen Croatian hospitality and tourism schools building close relationships with the industry and professional bodies to enhance students’ employability. Libertas International University’s “Tourism and Hotel Management” undergraduate programme is built upon a strong network of travel agencies, hotels and restaurants, allowing students to complete two internships in the second and third years. Additionally, the university also runs its own hotel, named Le Premier. On the other hand, VERN’ University joins forces with tourist boards, tourist departments, local authorities and chamber of commerce.

Last but not least, with a wider range of products a more diverse profile of tourists, making language learning an important part of hospitality and tourism education. At Rochester Institute of Technology Croatia (RIT Croatia), students have a choice between five languages: German, Spanish, Russian, French and Italian.

All hospitality and tourism programmes in English in Croatia are offered by private institutions, where, unlike at public universities, candidates are not required to take an entrance exam. The entry requirement for these courses is typically three A Levels. Additionally, you may be asked to submit a CV and personal statement.

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About Study In Croatia is an information service designed to assist British and Irish students in pursuing their university education in Croatia.

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