Tourism ministry to co-finance development of hostel tourism

SPLIT, 13.8.2011.

Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs signed in Split on Saturday an agreement with the Croatian Youth Hostel Association on the co-financing of a project for the expansion of the hostel accommodation capacities. The agreement was signed in Split's design hostel Goli&Bosi, which the site Virtualtourist.com named the world's second best hostel.

Under the agreement, the Tourism Ministry will provide HRK 250,000 for the project which includes the making of design documentation for a multipurpose youth hostel in Plitvice and the renovation and conversion of a building in Osijek to serve as a multifunctional youth hostel.

Croatia currently has around 50 youth hostels with more than 6,000 beds. Their average occupancy rate in 2010 was 73.2 days, and they accounted for 1.2 percent of total arrivals and 0.8 percent of overnight stays. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of tourists staying in hostels was rising continually at an average rate of 7.7 percent.

In the first seven months of this year, the number of tourists staying in hostels rose by 4.8 percent against the same period of last year, and the number of overnight stays was up 5.2 percent.

Minister Bajs underlined the importance of preparing the tourism infrastructure for the EU's structural funds. He said that his ministry, following European tourism trends and as part of its programs allocating grants to projects for tourism development, had introduced a program for the preparation of the public tourism infrastructure for EU structural funds.

The purpose of the programe is to enable the best possible preparation of projects designed to develop and improve the tourism infrastructure so that they could apply for money from EU structural funds.

The program, for which a number of applications have already been submitted to the ministry, was the basis for today's agreement with the Croatian Youth Hostel Association. (Hina)