Cappelli Comments on Changes in Tourist Laws, Positive Trends for 2017

Daniela Rogulj

The Ministry of Tourism has launched a number of new projects for 2017 – including changes to tourist laws – expecting that this year will bring positive trends in tourism. 

Gari Cappelli – Croatia’s Minister of Tourism and president of the Croatian Tourist Board – said that among other things, the first hundred days of his tenure in the Ministry has certainly underlined which direction tourism would run this year. While important decisions were made including who would be part of the team, it was important for Cappelli to continue the projects that had already been in progress in the Ministry and were important for tourism, while it was equally crucial to initiate new ones. Slobodna Dalmacija and report the details on January 26, 2016. 

“So far in the Ministry we have formed all committees and working groups and have set deadlines for the fulfillment of the objectives. We have taken care of the requested ‘fields’ or professions, as well as the European directives, in order to be consistent with other EU countries which are also our competitors. We have already changed the hospitality industry activities law in a way that we extend the validity period of temporary solutions for catering services in households and for OPG’s until the end of 2020, by which we prevent many of these buildings going into a ‘gray zone’ again. These are the facilities that have applied for legalization but have yet to be resolved,” said Cappelli.

Cappelli also announced the changes to the tourist laws, the tourist tax, the tourist fee, the tourist boards, and the law on tourist land. 

“We have initiated changes to the laws, of which the priority is the Law on Tourist Tax which should be completed by mid-July. These changes are made in order to adopt the new regulation in 2018 for the amount of tourist tax, in order to plan the business sector in the next year” said the minister, revealing that the proposed changes to tax have been adjusted for the first time after more than 15 years. 

The proposal adjustments and fees are so that the Ministry determines the maximum and minimum amounts. While they are still in talks about the maximum amounts, they will certainly be higher than the former and range between 2 and 3 euros, or 15 to 20 kuna. The previous maximum was 7 kuna. 

“The novelty will be that we will allow local authorities to determine their amount of tourist tax for their destinations, even for different parts of the destination. We will propose that the height of the tourist tax will be decided by the tourist boards that consist of representatives from the public and private sectors,” said Cappelli. 

This year, the Ministry has also proposed amendments to the law on tourist boards, which, in the opinion of the Minister, must effectively deal with the promotion and management of destinations. The tourist boards will have to change their tasks and primarily act as a marketing agency, which will require them to be better educated in the area.

“The direction of that law seeks that the tourist board employees will have to strengthen their knowledge and adapt to new requirements in the promotion, in which we will help them through education,” Cappelli adds. 

There have also been work changes announced for the central office of the Croatian Tourist Board.

“In the Head office of the Croatian Tourist Board we soon plan to re-open the congress office and are thinking about opening an office for cultural tourism because the development of these forms of tourism, along with health and nautical, have great potential for increasing tourism in the off season. For example, nautical tourism grew by about 40 percent last year in the French and British markets which is the potential that we have to take advantage of,” said the Minister.

Cappelli visted France last week on his first official visit to the country. In France, after talking with a number of business partners, Cappelli remained convinced that there is an increased interest of the French market to Croatia. 

While speaking of foreign markets in Croatia, Cappelli stated that there is a 3-5% increase in bookings this year already in comparison to the same time last year, with an increase from the UK market up as much as 50%, and in France, 7%. These numbers, according to Cappelii, mean that this tourist year could bring a continuation of positive trends, which is also surely supported by the first data for January 

“Since the beginning of the year to January 23, Croatia has achieved almost 370,000 overnights or 17% more than in January 2015, while foreign tourists have realized 25% more overnights, and I believe that the good trends will continue throughout the preseason,” says Cappelli. 

In conclusion, investment in the tourism sector will reach around 820 million euros, which is 130 more million than in 2016. While 50 hotels are slated to open this year, there are 7 projects listed at “strategic”. 

The investments, particularly on the continent, will be for the opening of the project “Cro card” which will boost domestic tourism consumption and will be developed this year. 



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