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Kalmeta: We expect record tourist season this year

STARIGRAD PAKLENICA, 14.5.2007.

Judging by the results in the first four months, Croatia will see a record tourist season this year. We expect over 10 million tourists, a 2% increase in the volume of tourist trade and a 5% increase in revenue, the Minister of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development, Bozidar Kalmeta, said at a session of the government commission coordinating preparations for the 2007 tourist season, held in Starigrad Paklenica on Monday.

Noting that the tourist trade had seen 13% growth in the first four months of this year, Kalmeta said that no one had the right to say that the tourist season in Croatia lasts only three months.

The season has definitely been extended and nearly all hotels are already operating. There are 300,000 holiday makers along the Croatian Adriatic coast at the moment, so it can be said that the tourist season has begun, the minister said.

State Secretary for Tourism Zdenko Micic said that a lot was being done to amend relevant legislation and that numerous tenders had been completed for co-funding tourist services.

Speaking of the need to raise the quality of tourism services, Micic said that Croatian motor camps were among the most expensive in Europe but that the services on offer did not match the prices charged.

State Secretary for the Sea Branko Bacic spoke of capital investments in the largest ports such as Rijeka, Zadar and Split, and in 12 ports mainly located on small islands.

Bacic said that particularly good results were reported in nautical tourism, which saw a 22% increase in the number of yachts and a 47% increase in the number of boaters visiting Croatia, compared to the first four months of 2006.

National Tourism Board Director Niko Bulic said that the Croatian tourism sector had been presented at 112 shows across the world and through other promotional events.
The meeting heard that Croatia was a safe destination, but that incidents were possible, such as one that had occurred in a motor camp on the northern island of Krk when an Italian tourist was killed.

Micic said that the incident showed that more investment should be made to ensure the security of tourists.

Kalmeta said he had extended condolences to the family of the murdered Italian tourist on behalf of all people working in the Croatian tourism sector.

Such incidents have nothing to do with the overall security situation in the country and are damaging the tourist industry, Kalmeta said, adding that he expected the police to identify and punish the perpetrators. (Hina)

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