Croatian tourism minister attending UNWTO General Assembly meeting

ZAGREB, 16.9.2015.

Croatian Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin is in Colombia this week to attend a meeting of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organisation) General Assembly in Medellin, the ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.

In his address, Lorencin spoke of the importance of tourism for Croatia, saying that the number of tourist arrivals this year had increased by 8% and expressing expectations that revenues from foreign tourists would for the first time exceed 8 billion euros.

Because of its 15% share in the national GDP, tourism is treated as a strategic branch of the economy and in 2013 the Croatian government adopted a strategy for the development of tourism by 2020. The strategy is based on sustainable development and seeks to contribute to new tourism products and projects, including "Croatia 365", which aims to extend the tourism season throughout the year.

The General Assembly session was preceded by meetings of UNWTO regional commissions. Lorencin attended a meeting of the Commission for Europe at which Croatia was re-elected a member of the Tourism and Competitiveness Committee.

The UNWTO General Assembly will hold six sessions by September 17. These will be attended by 900 delegates from about 120 countries, including about 20 tourism ministers. The next General Assembly meeting will be held in China in two years.

At the same time, the 101st session of the UNWTO Executive Council is also being held in Medellin. The session is co-chaired by Jamaica, Mozambique and Croatia.

Lorencin met with Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova with whom he discussed cooperation, tourism development strategies, seasonality-related problems, possibilities for joint promotional campaigns and beach management programmes. They also discussed introduction of direct flights between Sofia and Zagreb and an initiative to set up an informal Council for Tourism with the European Commission in order to promote cooperation in tourism between EU countries.