HRK 6 Billion to be invested in new tourist season

ROVINJ, 13.2.2006.

Branko Bačić, Zdenko Mičić, Božidar Kalmeta, Dražen Breglec and Igor MalýThe year 2006 will bring us new top results in tourism, making it possible for Croatia to become a 4 stars tourist destination, said the Minister of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development Božidar Kalmeta at the 1st session of the Croatian Government Assembly for the Preparation of the Tourist Season 2006, which was held  in the Istrian city Rovinj.

The Minister listed all the outstanding results achieved during the last year, underlining especially the numbers of 10 million tourist arrivals and more than 51 million overnight stays. He explained that the introduction of various new regulations had also been completely justified, making it possible to bring order into the spheres of renting private accommodation facilities and the registration of guests.

All those results and figures made it possible to achieve an increase of the country’s tourist income by 8.41% as compared to 2004. Another important success was the fact that Croatia was chosen by the member countries of the World Tourism Organization to preside the Regional Committee for Europe. For 2006 it is planned to pass new laws regulating the tourism industry, Kalmeta added.

An important topic of the session was the question of golf tourism. It is Croatia's plan for the future to construct approximately 50 golf courses. For that it is necessary to simplify all the procedures the investor has to face before starting the actual construction activities. Since a golf course is a rather expensive investment it will be also necessary to allow its construction based only on a location permit and verified project documentation.

The State Secretary for Tourism Zdenko Mičić said that recent tourist fairs had shown that Croatia would be an attractive tourist destination for the upcoming season – this was particularly noticeable on the German, Scandinavian and French market. He pointed out that there had been criticism regarding the growing prices of Croatian hotels, but he explained that those prices would be justified by an improvement in quality. To achieve a better quality in tourism, Croatia was planning to invest HRK 6 billion for the upcoming season.
Another problem were posters which had been put up along the coast, warning tourists and all others from the danger of mines. The chosen locations for those posters were mostly wrong, since the mine problem was not so much related to the area of tourist regions. Regarding the problem of bird flu, all necessary measures prescribed by law were being carried out to prevent any danger.

When it comes to transport, Branko Bačić the State Secretary for Sea announced the construction of seven new ports during 2006. He also mentioned various measures which were organized during last year with the goal to fight illegal chartering activities. He added that the Croatian Adriatic Sea was visited by 3% more yachts during 2005 as compared to 2004. Another way of preventing traffic jams during high season would be the introduction of automatic systems of charging toll fees. Also mentioned was the introduction of so-called ‘smart’ cards.