Croatia needs to rebrand itself as a tourism destination

ZAGREB, 28.4.2015.

CRebranding Croatia as a tourist destination, overcoming the seasonal nature of tourism and increasing average spending by tourists are the main objectives of Croatian tourism by 2020 which have been defined in a strategy and marketing plans, Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin said on Tuesday at a Tourism Congress in Zagreb.

The congress, organised by the Poslovni Dnevnik business magazine, attracted around 300 participants from the tourism sector and foreign guests who underscored the importance of tourism for the domestic and European Union economies. According to Alain Liberos from the European Commission, tourism accounted for 9% of the EU's GDP last year.

Liberos announced that the European Commission was preparing guidelines for a new approach to the development and future of European tourism. Most speakers at the congress spoke about Croatia's tourism strategy adopted in 2013, which should serve as a guide for the development of Croatia's tourism.

The stated objectives until 2020 are part of the strategy that is actively being worked on and already nine out of eleven action plans have been prepared for the development of individual tourism segments, Lorencin stressed.

"We started off step by step, we are working on what we can and one of the most important activities is rebranding and thorough changes to make Croatia recognisable as a tourist destination by retaining our tourists but also attracting new ones," he said.

The minister added that efforts were being made to reduce the seasonal nature of Croatia's tourism with the Croatia 365 project and that the results were already being seen with a growing number of tourists and that a new 20 pre-season destinations (PPS) would be added to the already existing 22 PPS which should cover 95% of Croatia's tourism capacity.

Several hoteliers attending the congress underscored the need to develop Croatia's hotel industry. Without that Croatia will not be in a position to increase its tourism income and spending. With only a 12-13% share of hotels in Croatia's total tourism accommodation, it is amongst the least competitive destinations on the Mediterranean, they said.