Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli met yesterday to present a 53 million kuna solution for better competitiveness in Croatian tourism.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that tourism is defined as one of the most important branches of the Croatian economy and has great potential for further development. He recalled that during 2016, Croatia recorded 91 million overnight stays and was visited by about 16 million tourists – all together leading to 9.5 billion in revenues, reports HRTurizam on March 7, 2017.
“Croatian tourism has about an 18 percent share of the GDP, which speaks for itself to show just how important tourism is for our economy and for the Croatian national identity, all while promoting the attractiveness of our country,” said Plenković, who recalled that in 2015 the foreign exchange income in Croatia was 7.9 billion euros.
In an effort to increase tourism competitiveness, the Prime Minister presented the National Program “Competitiveness of the tourism economy” and explained that the funds for this program were provided in the Croatian budget. In addition, the Prime Minister presented the program “Improving the access of vulnerable groups to the labor market in the tourism and catering sector” and noted that this was financed by the European Social Fund. Together the programs are worth 53.4 million kunas.
The objectives of the programs are to increase the competitiveness of Croatian tourism, enable new investments in better facilities, and have greater involvement of vulnerable groups in employment in the tourism sector by putting emphasis on those who are unemployed, are younger than 24 and older than 54 years old, or have disabilities.
This year, more than 800 million euro will be invested in tourism, said Plenković, who added that is a 21 percent increase from last year.
“We are planning to open 40 new or newly renovated hotels which increases the supply and raises the quality of Croatian tourism. I expect that these programs will raise the quality and most importantly prolong the tourist season,” concluded Prime Minister Plenković.
Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli pointed out that in the first two months of 2017, Croatia recorded an increase in tourists of over 20 percent. He also added that the government is doing all that they can in order to extend the tourist season throughout the entire year.
“There will be four measures under the program ‘Competitiveness of the tourist economy’. Measure A gives support to hotels, campsites, rural households and family accommodation, Measure B refers to the special forms of tourism – such as cyclo-tourism and health tourism, Measure C refers to the availability and security of tourists, while the fourth measure (measure D) refers to recognition. The total amount allocated for these four measures is 21.9 million kuna, while the beneficiaries of these measures are the crafts and cooperatives, family farms, and the physical persons or private renters,” said Cappelli, who added that the objectives of the program are to develop tourist complexes, create products, increase levels of availability, create a longer season for destinations, increase consumption, and increase employment and self-employment.
The Minister particularly stressed the construction of pools which is said to have significantly increased the occupancy rate in certain facilities, adding that there have been over 600 swimming pools built in Croatia, which annually allocates 7 million.
Cappelli also emphasized the fact that gastronomy is very important for family farms, which significantly contributes to the development of continental tourism. He announced that he is preparing a new program that will apply to all counties in the continent which will be financed by the Ministry of Tourism.