Good announcements for Croatian tourism at ITB travel show

BERLIN, 6.3.2014.

European Coastal Airlines (ECA) hydroplanes should begin flying in Croatia's Dalmatia coastal region in May, first from Split to Zadar and in the summer from Split to the islands of Hvar and Korcula, the company's sales and marketing director, Jan Albers, said at the ITB travel show in Berlin on Thursday.

ECA is registered in Croatia and is funded mainly by Germans. According to Albers, it expects to get all the documents required to operate in Croatia by May.

In the next two to three years, ECA is willing to invest EUR 40 million in the business and employ 400 people, transporting passengers in at least two hydroplanes at relatively affordable prices, said Albers.

He added that final negotiations were under way with the airports in Split and Zadar, from where ECA could also fly to Ancona, Italy and Hvar.

He said the company's wish was to better connect the coast and the islands, with plans to fly from Pula and Rijeka as well. The company employs six persons and two pilots.

Croatian Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin said the project was interesting and promising.

At the travel show, the many tour operators who met with him and Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) head Meri Matesic said bookings for Croatia were better than last year.

TUI said it could sell many more bookings but that Croatia lacked sufficient accommodation.

Matesic said TUI announced flights from Great Britain to Split as of 2015 and more flights from Scandinavia and Germany.

She said the bookings in Ukraine, despite the crisis there, were normal for this time of year, adding that the HTZ would attend a fair in Kiev later this month. "We don't want to turn our back to our Ukrainian partners," she said.