Croatian tourism minister: Results of tourist season slightly above expectations

ZAGREB, 11.9.2008.

The results of this year's tourist season are slightly above expectations and the quality of services is better than last year, as shown by the number of tourist arrivals and bed-nights and increases in the number of four- and five-star hotels and in tourism revenue, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said in Zagreb on Thursday.

Bajs gave a press conference to present the latest figures from the Croatian Tourist Board for August and the first eight months of the year.

Figures show that 2.8 million tourists visited Croatia in August, or three per cent more than in the same month of 2007, while the number of overnight stays rose 1 per cent to 18.4 million.

In the first eight months, 8.7 million tourists vacationed in Croatia, generating 49.9 million bed-nights, an increase of 3 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

Considering a good extension of the tourist season into September, Bajs predicted an increase in the number of tourist arrivals and bed-nights by the end of the year of 2-3 per cent and in revenue of at least 5 per cent.

Bajs said that this year's tourist season benefited from investments by hotel owners and the private sector in the amount of about HRK 5.5 billion, which resulted in an increase in the number of four- and five-star hotels on the Croatian Adriatic coast.

The number of four-star hotels is now 122, or 2.2 times more than last year, while the number of those with five stars is 16, or seven more. All the hotels operated at a profit, which shows that tourists are willing to pay more for better quality, the minister said.

Figures on tourism revenues in the first half of the year are expected to be released by the central bank later this month. (Hina)