President Mesić opens GAST 2009

SPLIT, 4.3.2009.

Croatian President Stjepan Mesić opened on Wednesday the 14th annual "GAST" gastronomical fair, which will be taking place until 8 March in the southern Croatian city of Split.

GAST fair, which drew 1,269 exhibitors from 15 countries, provides venue for meetings of numerous food, beverage, hotel and hospitality equipment producers and merchants, and it is recognised as a key spot of touristic season logistical contracting.

photo: FaH, Veljko Martinović

The fair is being held at the right time, ahead of the tourist season for which Croatia must prepare as well as possible, Mesić said while opening the event, adding that tourism was one of the most important branches of the Croatian economy.

The global economic crisis will affect world tourist markets, said Mesić, stressing that tour operators must be well organised in order to be able to receive rich European visitors who will not spend their vacation outside Europe this year because of the economic crisis.

The president said that Croatia, too, had to turn more towards food production because it had the conditions to do so. He also said that Croatian products must be used more often, while the control of imported products needed to be increased.

photo: FaH, Veljko Martinović

Tourism Minister Damir Bajs and the President of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, Nadan Vidošević, agreed with president Mesić about how Croatia had to prepare itself even more carefully for the upcoming tourist season.

The fair will be accompanied by the international food, beverage, hotel and hospitality-equipment fairs, the "Dionizijana" wine fair, a coffee fair, a furniture fair, the "Saturn" tourism fair, and the "Gast Around the World" fair. (Hina)