ZAGREB, May 20 (Hina) – As of May 29, Croatia will open its borders for Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and Austrian citizens, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Wednesday.
Cappelli made the statement after a video conference with his counterparts in the EU, and this was the second such meeting in the past month as part of Croatia’s EU presidency of the Council of the EU.
Cappelli said that a similar epidemiological situation existed in certain countries and that bilateral agreements would be discussed on the principle of non-discrimination in reference to opening the border.
“We have an agreement with Slovenia and that is functioning as a start,” Cappelli said and announced that the same would be conducted on May 29 for four to five more countries, adding that details were still being discussed with Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria.
“So that citizens from those countries can, for business reasons, owners of properties, vessels and so on, come to Croatia similar to Slovenians and without having to be in quarantine,” Cappelli explained.
Croatia is preparing an application to facilitate traffic at border crossings.
Opening up towards those countries in Central Europe, along with Germany and later Poland, Croatia will round off more than 60% of its total tourism turnover, Cappelli noted, adding that later Croatia could perhaps expect guests from Italy.
He added that all countries agreed that bilateral agreements be concluded on tourist arrivals and that most EU member states have announced relaxing restrictions in tourism and hospitality by June 15.
Cappelli for relaunching tourism on principles of sustainable development
“The relaunch of this sector should be used to apply the principles of sustainable development in destinations, with the support of digital technologies, because tourism is crucial as a source of much-needed income for local communities and individuals,” Minister Cappelli said.
Europe’s tourism ministers discussed the Commission’s Package of guidelines and recommendations for tourism and transport presented last Wednesday. The package foresees the gradual lifting of travel restrictions and relaunching tourism in accordance with epidemiological recommendations.
The EC has recommended that the EU external border remains closed until June 15.
The commission also recommended that travel vouchers be an alternative to a cash reimbursement for cancelled trips. The guidelines also note the criteria for the gradual and safe restoration of tourism activities in particular for health protocols and hospitality.
As the summer season is quickly approaching and strong pressure exists by providers of tourism services, certain outstanding issues still exist concerning the relaunching and implementation of the commission’s recommendations. Today’s conference underlined the need to define a timeframe and conditions to implement the package and to continue with dialogue between member states, the press release said.
The ministers agreed that “further cooperation at the EU level” is important in order to encourage the tourism sector to be “creative and adaptable to change,” the ministry’s press release said.