Croatia hopes UK holidaymakers will return this summer as airlines resume flights from numerous airports.

The country, which was exempted from Foreign Office advice against all non-essential overseas travel from July 4, is promoting itself as a “safe destination” following Covid-19 lockdown.

Latest tourist board figures show a total of 14.7 million overnight stays between July 1-26 – about 59% of the total for the same period last year.

But foreign holidaymakers accounted for just 1.8 million arrivals, half the figure over the same time in July 2019.

A total of 781 hotels are open, representing 67% of the overall number.

Masks are required on public transport and in shops and other commercial premises, and recommended physical distance is 1.5 metres.

Beaches, national parks, and all other tourist attractions are open.

British Airways plans more routes from Heathrow to several Croatian airports, and will be operating nine weekly flights to Split, seven to Zagreb, seven to Dubrovnik and two a week to Pula in August.

EasyJet is running flights to Split, Dubrovnik, Pula and Zadar, while Wizz Air is operating from Luton to Split.

Croatia Airlines is operating Heathrow-Zagreb and Gatwick-Split services.

Jet2 is serving Dubrovnik, Split and Pula from various UK airports, while Ryanair has flights from Stansted to Pula and Rijeka.

Croatian National Tourist Board managing director Kristjan Stanicic said: “Croatia is a safe destination, which is fully prepared for the arrival of tourists and the tourist season.

“We have well-developed and fully implemented health and safety protocols for all areas of tourism, which has enabled us to reopen seamlessly and move ahead with tourism.

“Guests from the UK are highly important to us, and we have seen the revival and return of numerous flight routes from the UK to various Croatian cities such as Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, Pula and Dubrovnik.

“I believe that health and safety, along with good flight routes and connections, will motivate many tourists from the UK to choose Croatia for the holiday they have been waiting for and the vacation they deserve.”