Croatia and World Tourism Organisation ink cooperation memo

MADRID, 15.2.2011.
Croatia is a success story in tourism, and one of few countries in the world to record good results last year, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said at the signing of a memorandum on cooperation with Croatia's Tourism Minister in the headquarters of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation in Madrid on Tuesday. The UNWTO Secretary-General added that everything indicated the continuation of a steady tourist growth in Croatia in 2011.

Commenting on the first official visit of a Croatian tourism minister to the UNWTO headquarters, Rifai commended Minister Damir Bajs and his team for efforts to maintain Croatia's tourist trade successful and for following advice and recommendations from the World Tourism Organisation about public private partnership, reliance on tour operators and introduction of seasonal visa regimes. He said that the memorandum would help intensify cooperation between this organisation and Croatia. UNWTO is working with Croatia on intensifying regional cooperation in south and southeast Europe where Croatia plays an important role, he said.

Under the memorandum, the first UNWTO world congress of tourist reporters will be organised in Zagreb this September, bringing together 500 participants from the entire world. This will be an opportunity for Croatia to promote itself as a tourist-friendly country in many international media, Minister Bajs said.

He went on to say that Croatia had consulted UNWTO experts in recent years, which was helpful in the elaboration of action plans for the tourist sector, leading to positive results in 2009 and 2010.

Asked about the repercussions of unrest in Egypt and north African countries for their tourism, Rifai said that a meeting on this topic had been held in Madrid earlier in the day and that it was still too early to assess possible damage and make possible forecasts about developments for the rest of the year.

He holds that the current situation can trigger off the redistribution of travellers to some other Mediterranean countries, including Croatia. In the long term, UNWTO believes in a positive outcome in the countries concerned, as they are much too important for global tourism, Rifai said. (Hina)