Parliament debates set of new tourist laws

ZAGREB, 9.12.2008.

The Croatian parliament on Tuesday began a debate on a set of new tourism laws focusing on tourist boards, the promotion of Croatian tourism, membership fees in tourist boards, and tourist tax.

Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said the new laws envisaged giving the 330 tourist boards in Croatia the possibility to manage destinations, achieving a better collection of payments and the more rational spending of funds from fees and tourist tax.

Provisions under which local and regional leaders would chair local tourist board assemblies would make sure that all infrastructure projects were in accordance with the boards' requirements.

The minister said the new laws would make the system more professional, further raise tourism standards, and make the collection of tourist tax easier.

Members of parliament of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Peasant Party (HSS) said the new set of laws would improve the work of tourist boards and improve Croatian tourism, while the opposition Social Democrats (SDP) and the People's Party (HNS) said the new laws did not show how the collection of tourist tax would be improved and that they would be of little use.

Earlier today, during a debate on a new farmland bill, SDP MPs accused the government, in connection with its intention to privatise farmland in times of financial crisis and recession, of repeating the mistake from the 1990s, when ownership transformation and privatisation was undertaken during the war. (Hina)