Tourism minister promotes Croatia at World Travel Market in London

LONDON, 4.11.2013.

Considering the interest shown by British business partners, tour operators and airlines and tourists themselves, Croatian tourism could next year see a double digit increase in the number of British tourists travelling to Croatia, of perhaps 15% compared to this year or around 480,000.

Croatia's Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin and the director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) Meri Matesic announced their projections for next year's season at a press conference organised on Monday at the World Travel Market in London.

The press conference attracted around 50 foreign, mostly British, journalists who heard of Croatia's plans and expectations from that country. Also presented were three types of olive oil from Istria which were selected by a British expert in oil tasting, Judy Ridgway who assessed that Croatia had some excellent oils with a specific taste which Britons are not familiar with as it is virtually not sold in that country.

Minister Lorencin explained that Croatia was creating a unique and special tourism offer aimed at sustainable development which will require new hotel capacities which are currently lacking yet virtually all British tour operators are looking for, particularly in Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar and Istria. Travel from Britain would probably be even greater in that case and Lorencin is convinced this is something that could occur in the foreseeable future.

The British market is a favourable one because of its holiday season and off-peak travel and because Britons don't object to prices. Britons spend around EUR 120 per day and are the best spending tourists in Croatia, followed by Russians who spend between EUR 110 - 120.

This year around 26% more Britons travelled to Croatia and it is estimated that pre-war figures of 500,000 visitors from that country could be achieved by 2015.

Unlike other tourist destinations, Croatia is yet to be discovered better on the British market and its safety, beauty and friendliness on that market is a great advantage as its geographical variety which is insufficiently known. Now it is important to promote targeted tourism products such as music festivals and cultural programmes which are an attraction for British tourists, HTZ director Meri Matesic said.

As a result of Internet and on-line services recently more British tourists, around 55% are coming to Croatia individually while the remainder come in organised tours which is a change for this market, she explained. (Hina)