Velimir Šonje

CEO OF Arhivanalitika

Velimir Šonje served as Executive Director for the Research and Statistics Area in the Croatian National Bank (1995-2000), Board Member of Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. Zagreb (2000-2003), and Chairman of supervisory boards of several asset management companies in Croatia. After his personal investment in airline start-up ETF Airways he has been a member of the Supervisory Board, acting as Deputy Chairman.

During his consulting career as owner and director of consulting company Arhivanalitika (since 2003), Mr. Šonje has written and advised extensively in the fields of macroeconomic and financial research, financial development and financial regulation. He worked on projects in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia and the UK.

Presentation title: Croatian tourism and airlines: A missed opportunity?

Road transportation is key to Croatian tourism, as 61% of tourists come from Central Europe. This proved to be an advantage during the two pandemic tourist seasons. Similar applies to niche markets like health tourism and dentistry where most of the demand for local services comes from northern Italy.

However, many opportunities on other European markets may be missed by overreliance on Central European surroundings. Both tourism in general and niches like health services may profit from diversification and access to quality demand in other markets like Scandinavia and Baltics, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, northern Germany, France, Spain, Russia, Ukraine and Israel. Airline connections are a necessary condition for both access to these markets and selection of higher paying clients. However, in order to develop such “air highways“ towards new markets, a number of other prerequisites must be met.