Tourism minister expects this year's results to be good, sees 2009 as major challenge

ZAGREB, 26.10.2008.

The year 2008 will be another good year for the Croatian tourism industry, as already evidenced by its turnover and financial results, but the year 2009 is expected to be a major challenge in light of the global economic crisis, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said at a meeting of representatives of the tourism sector and government officials, held as part of the event "Tourism Days" in Opatija last Thursday.

The year 2009 is expected to see a tourist turnover that will be of at least the same volume as this year's, and financial results are expected to go up three percent in relation to this year, Bajs said.

The minister recalled that this year had seen a new step forward in the expansion of accommodation facilities and improvement of tourist services.

Direct investments in the tourism sector this year amounted to one billion euros, of which approximately EUR 760 million was invested in the private hotel sector, he said.

This year, a new investment cycle worth around EUR 280 million was launched and it is expected to be completed by 2010. The new investments are expected to result in new accommodation facilities and new selective types of tourism as early as next year, the minister said.

The Opatija event also included a national tourist forum focusing on the national tourism industry in the European context. Officials of the European Commission's department for tourism and the European association of hotel and restaurant managers participating in the event pointed to the importance of cooperation in the service sector, both on EU and regional levels. (Hina)