Croatian tourism – ready to undertake efforts to attract each single guest

ZAGREB, 20.3.2009.

Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs has said that the national tourism industry will see a decrease this year, but he is confident that the decrease will not be above the three percent forecast by the U. N. World Tourism Organization for the Euro-zone.

Minister Bajs clearly stated that the final result would depend only on our own efforts and, of course, on the economic situation in the countries which are the homeland of Croatia’s foreign tourists, i.e. the global recession and the potential drop of various currencies. He also informed everyone that the first tourist results regarding January/February 2009 were showing positive tendencies and said that Croatian tourism was not so much in need of recovery, but in the need of stabilization.

This is the first time Croatia's tourism industry expects a decrease after nine years of growth, Bajs told reporters on Friday after meeting with heads of Croatian Tourism Board (HTZ) offices in foreign countries, hotel managers, tour-operators and trade unions in the tourism sector.

All participants in the talks said that early bookings for destinations in central and southern Dalmatia, for plane tickets and hotel accommodation were on the decline in almost all the more important markets.

Slightly better results were reported in the northern Adriatic region of Istria, in private accommodation, camps and tourist settlements.

The Kvarner region and bus tours are around the same level as last year.

Franco Palma, President of the Executive Committee of the Croatian Assoc. of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs said that the general drop in prices requested by foreign partners and already offered by rival countries, would be detrimental. He suggested keeping the same prices, but improving services.

Like other tourist countries, Croatia too expects this season to depend more than ever on 'last minute' arrangements at lower prices, as well as on individual arrivals that are difficult to forecast, which is why the financial results of this season are difficult to estimate.

Minister Bajs and other participants in the talks agreed that the season would be difficult and uncertain, but that there was still enough room to boost arrivals with well-planned activities.