ZAGREB, Oct 6 (Hina) – The future of the Croatian tourist industry lies in year-round tourism, better service quality, development of new products and infrastructure, and responsible and sustainable management, Tourism and Sport Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Tuesday.
She was speaking at the fourth international conference on year-round tourism in the Terme Tuhelj spa, which brought together about a hundred participants, mostly industry professionals but also online participants. Their general opinion was that this year was very difficult for the tourist industry as well as for the economy and society as a whole.
All speakers highlighted the global coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty for next year and beyond because of a sharp decline in tourism revenues and unemployment, especially in Spain, and expressed concern about a growing number of people infected with the novel virus.
They were hoping for EU guidelines and common standards for all EU member states in deciding on travel restrictions and testing, emphasising the need for a regional approach and mapping.
“This year the Croatian tourism industry has managed to achieve slightly better results than initially expected so that annual revenues could reach 50 percent of last year’s, but we will know that at the start of next year. We can be pleased. We also have a lot of expectations from EU funds, which will also provide money for tourism, but we need good projects,” Brnjac said.
She stressed the importance of observing epidemiological measures and maintaining health safety in Croatia as a tourist destination.
“Our aim is to extend the tourist season because seasonality is a major problem for tourism, but the extension must be sustainable. COVID is a chance, no matter how hard it may be, to change the concept of Croatian tourism, which requires new, high-quality tourist products and accommodation, and development of year-round services, because we have seen how dangerous it is to rely on the sun and the coast alone,” the minister said.