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Photograph: Photo by Nikolaj Potanin, used under CC BY

Last year 14.3 million tourists visited Croatia, up 9.3% from 2014, and they generated 71.6 million overnight stays, an increase 7.7%, the State Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said on Tuesday and these figures confirm 2015 as the best year in physical tourism results since Croatia's independence.

Although, as usual, the majority of tourists were foreigners, accounting for 88.1% of all arrivals and 92% of all overnight stays, there was a marked increase of domestic tourists after several years of their numbers falling or stagnating. Domestic tourists recorded an increase in arrivals of 10.3%, totalling 1.6 million, and a 11.3% increase in nights, totalling 5.7 million.

There were 9.1% more foreign tourists in 2015 with 12.6 million arrivals and almost 66 million bed nights, which is an increase of 7.4%. Once again Germans accounted for the highest number of foreign tourists (24% of foreign overnight stays), followed by Slovenians (10.1%) and Austrians (9%).

The most popular town for overnight stays in Croatia last year was Rovinj (3.1 million), confirming its long tradition of popularity particularly among foreign tourists. The most popular destinations for domestic tourists were Zagreb, Crikvenica and Mali Losinj.

The most overnight stays were generated in family-run accommodation, recording a year-on-year increase of 12% to 26.7 million bed nights compared with 17.5 million bed nights or 5.4% more in hotels and 16.5 million, or an increase of 3.6%, in camps.

According to the DZS, tourists could choose from 348,200 rooms, apartments and accommodation units in camping sites offering 943,000 beds in all, 56.1% of these being in resorts or private homes, 26% in camps and 17.5% in hotels.

Tourism Minister Anton Kliman said in Split that he expected 2016 would be a record year and announced that promotional activities would be stepped up on those markets that Turkey could lose due to the migrant problem in that country.

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