ZAGREB, September 19, 2018 – A joint statement on cooperation in the area of tourism was signed in Dubrovnik on Wednesday by member states of the “China + 16” initiative as part of a ministerial conference that attracted more than 100 participants.
Croatia’s Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said that the signatory countries committed to more concrete steps for a quality approach to the Chinese market and that the conference itself is a big step forward in cooperation between Croatia and China.
“We are going at an accelerated pace. This year we are almost at 50% more Chinese tourists than last year. We need a stronger and better cooperation, openness and joint presentation on the Chinese market. We have set the path for future cooperation with China,” Cappelli said.
He underscored that, after it entered the Pelješac Bridge project, China is now interested in further investments in Croatia. “Our investment agency will offer them everything it has. We are talking very broadly. A Chinese investment for the construction of a hotel in Krapina amounts to about 30 million euro, and during the cabinet meeting in Pula we opened three or four high quality projects with investments of three billion kuna. They are interested in tourist tours in continental Croatia and we will invite them to the 2019 Croatian Tourism Days in Slavonia and present that area in a different way,” Cappelli said.
He emphasised that the meeting confirmed that the government’s initiative for a financial line within the European Commission made sense. “Additional funds in the next financial period would be very helpful in realising projects with China in a much better way. Eighteen EU member states have supported that initiative,” Cappelli added.
China’s Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang assessed the conference as successful and underlined that the Croatian tourism market is one of the most important areas for Chinese investments.
Last year, 230,000 Chinese visited Croatia, which is a growth of 56% compared to the year before. Croatia and China nurture friendship that can be dated to more than 700 years ago when Marco Polo was born. The two governments have established special ties and at the same time the two nations developed a friendship. All that contributes to tourism, Luo said. He added that it is necessary to strengthen cooperation between the two governments and at the same time develop business relations in the tourism sector.
I concurred with Minister Cappelli that, through joint efforts, we will achieve better travel conditions for Chinese tourists. This meeting is the starting point for a new record in arrivals of Chinese tourists to Croatia, Luo said.
This is the first time the China + 16 initiative held a conference in Croatia and the Chinese side suggested that it be in Dubrovnik. The conference attracted representatives in tourism from central and eastern European countries, members of the China + 16 initiative: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia.