Tourism minister meets French ambassador

ZAGREB, 7.2.2012.

Croatian Tourism Minister Veljko Ostojic on Tuesday held talks with a delegation led by French Ambassador Jerome Pasquier, the Tourism Ministry said in a statement.

The talks focused on France's experience with a lower VAT rate in the tourism and hospitality industry, projects designed to advertise Croatia's culture on the French market, and investment possibilities in the Croatian tourism industry.

A three-month project promoting Croatian culture in France will be held in France this autumn, Ostojic said, adding that Croatia would focus more on cultural tourism and cultural heritage in the coming years.

Ostojic and his guests also discussed France's experience in destination management in light of the fact that one of Croatia's priorities is advancing the system of tourism boards and making them more efficient.

The minister also informed the French delegation about possibilities of investment in Croatia's tourism. He said that greenfield and brownfield tourism projects were being prepared, as were projects designed to convert former military facilities into tourism facilities.

Ambassador Pasquier said introducing a lower VAT rate in the tourism sector would increase Croatia's competitiveness in relation to other countries. Lowering the VAT rate for restaurants was a major undertaking for the French government, but, among other things, it encouraged new employment, the ambassador said.

Speaking of French tourists, he said that they perceived Croatia not only as a sun and sea destination, but a country with great potential for culture tourism.

The French ambassador also supported Minister Ostojic's proposal for closer cooperation between the two countries in training, gastronomy and wine making. (Hina)