The thing is, many of the Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey) only recently escaped the long-cast shadows of their former Soviet Union overseers, emerging as tourism destinations later than their western European counterparts. Still, it's strange that despite its well-documented natural beauty, overwhelming presence of historic monuments, stunning architecture, and relative travel safety, Croatia is a commonly overlooked vacation destination by most North American travelers.
Lack of long-standing international travel recognition notwithstanding, Croatia presents as the best introduction to the oft-forgotten, yet equally fascinating histories of the Balkan region - providing culturally-curious foreign visitors with a myriad of opportunities to explore pristine monuments, ancient architecture, and to experience regionally-unique culinary styles in a climate and landscape that can match the best of Italy step for step. Savvy travelers around the world realize that a trip to Croatia offers the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the many cultural intricacies that were imperative in shaping European history as we understand it today.
With roots tracing back to the Neolithic civilizations, and a geographically idyllic location - defined by both its majestically-daunting prehistoric mountain wilderness and paradisiacal tropical beaches - Croatia is deserving of much more travel attention that it currently receives. But thanks to the recent announcement of a partnership between the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and SkyGreece Airlines, accessing Croatia internationally is about to get a lot easier.
Beginning June 22, 2015 SkyGreece Airlines will launch a new trans-Atlantic flight route between Canada's Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Croatia's Zagreb International Airport (ZAG), operating once a week in both directions. The new route will continue to operate until October 15, and will be served by a Boeing 767-300ER, with a passenger capacity of 274 persons. A more detailed flight schedule is expected to be published by SkyGreece Airlines in the coming weeks.
When questioned about the new route between Toronto and Zagreb, SkyGreece's Deputy CCO, Dennis Codere, commented, "We shared our vision with the Zagreb Tourist Board, the Croatian National Tourist Board and Zagreb International Airport to make Canada closer to Zagreb and Croatia and we were extremely happy with the openness and enthusiasm they truly demonstrated in bringing Canadians to discover the beauty of Croatia."
If the addition of a new direct route to Croatia from Toronto is an indication of emerging tourism trends, at the very least it shows that the world travel community is finally starting to realize the overwhelming potential possessed by the Balkan countries. Not only is the tourist industry beginning to see the Balkans as a high-upside revenue-generating region, but more travelers are realizing that this region possesses bastions of historic and cultural relevance the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else.
The benefits of discretionary travel are numerous and well evidenced, and the inclusion of Croatia as desirable tourist destination only serves to further the socio-personal advancements afforded in exploring the world, by providing yet another venue for travelers to experience the intriguing cultures and diverse lifestyles that contribute to our understanding of each other - something which makes the world a great place.
Next time you find yourself spinning a globe and formulating travel plans, consider vacationing in Croatia (or any of the Balkan countries for that matter). We're sure that you'll like what you find and the end of your trip will leave you lusting for more, wondering why you never visited before. From discount international airfare and the best rates on car rentals in Zagreb, to luxury hotels in Dubrovnik, Auto Europe can provide you with all you need to have an incredible and eye-opening vacation in Croatia.