Minister says goal to achieve last year's tourist turnover

ZAGREB, 12.2.2009.

Last year was the most successful year for Croatian tourism and since 2009 will be very demanding due to the global economic crisis, the goal is for physical turnover to be at least on last year's level, Minister Damir Bajs said at a government session on Thursday.

The session analyzed last year's results and preparations for this year's summer tourist season.

More than 11 million tourists vacationed in Croatia in 2008, up 1% from 2007, generating more than 57 million nights, an increase of 2%, while revenue is expected to go up even higher, since the revenue in the first nine months of 2008 surpassed the entire 2007 revenue, said Bajs.

Transport Minister Božidar Kalmeta said the big problem of the upcoming season would be a fall in spending because of the global crisis, so he appealed on the catering industry to lower the prices.

The government agreed with a proposal whereby the Tourism Ministry would take over liabilities from loan contracts for the development of rural tourism.

Over the next 16 years, liabilities for subsidizing interest on such loans would amount up to HRK 155 million. The loans range from 10 to 300 thousand euros. The ministry would cover 6% of the 8% annual interest, while end users would cover 2%.