Croatian tourism minister and Chinese ambassador hold talks

Chinese nationals with valid Schengen visas can travel to Croatia without any additional visas from 1 April to 31 October provided that their visits are organised in groups, Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said at a news conference in Zagreb on Tuesday after his meeting with Chinese Ambassador in Croatia, Lianqi Wu.

Bajs recalled that the Croatian government had recently annulled visa requirements for Chinese visitors with valid Schengen visas who would like to tour Croatia from 1 April to 31 October 2010.

The Croatian minister and the Chinese ambassador today discussed the importance of economic cooperation between their countries, notably in tourist trade.

Minister Bajs said that opening of the office of the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) in Shanghai, scheduled for 2011, would help improve this cooperation. He added that Croatia would also participate in two tourism fairs in China, in Beijing in April and in Shanghai in May this year. He said that in 2009, 7,600 Chinese tourists visited Croatia, or 19 per cent more than in 2008. The minister hopes that the visa cancellation and other moves would lead to a further growth in the number of Chinese holiday-makers in Croatia.

The ambassador added the Chinese were interested in visiting Croatia. He said that the financial crisis had not affected the tourist trade in his country. Last year, 50 million Chinese travelled abroad and two million of them were in Europe.

Last week, the Croatian government decided to temporarily suspend visa requirements for nationals of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine in the period between 1 April and 31 October 2010. Holders of valid passports planning to stay in Croatia for up to 90 days or travelling via Croatia to their final destinations will not be required to have visas. The government also decided on the temporary facilitation of the entry of foreigners into Croatia on the basis of valid Schengen short stay visas for the purpose of tourist visits to Croatia.

This measure refers to foreigners with valid Schengen short stay visas, guests on cruiser yachts visiting Croatia who hold valid Schengen visas, nationals of India and China on group tourist visits to Croatia who have valid Schengen visas, as well as to nationals of Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates with valid Schengen visas. (Hina)