Minister says off-season as planned, preparations under way for difficult 2011

ZAGREB, 27.9.2010.
The off-season in Croatia is proceeding according to expectations despite rainfalls and it could be very similar to last year's season, as could the entire season this year, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs said in the Zumberak-Samoborsko Gorje Nature Park on Monday, on the occasion of marking the World Tourism Day.

Since the year 2011 is expected to be very demanding and difficult, it is of the utmost importance to prepare well for it and to announce tourism programmes on time, he said.

As for the ongoing off-season, Bajs said that organised groups were arriving, that contracts signed with travel agencies were yielding results and that this was this year's trump card of the tourism sector.

According to forecasts by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), in 2011 Europe could see a rise of up to two percent in arrivals, while the number of overnight stays and revenues could stagnate and remain at this year's level, the minister said.

Next year, apart from national investments in Croatia's rival countries such as France, Italy and others, Croatia will face competition also in the form of tourism-boosting measures at the EU level, the minister said.

Due to a drop in European tourism in global terms, in 2011 the EU will launch a special programme of group support to the member-countries, Bajs said, adding that Europe's share in global tourism had dropped to below 50 percent in the last two years.

Bearing that in mind, it is of the utmost importance to prepare well and on time for the next season, he said.

A programme for the tourism season 2011 is being completed and it will depend on funds available to the Tourism Ministry next year, Bajs said, adding that it was still too early to talk about concrete amounts, but that many projects would be carried out in cooperation with the private sector.

He added that most of the measures for next year would be made public in about a month. (Hina)