Zagreb's most important tourism event - Advent in Zagreb - will start on November 28 and last until January 10, featuring a number of entertainment and other Christmas and New Year programmes, the event's organiser, the Zagreb Tourism Board and its partners from the public and private sectors, said on Thursday.

Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic said that this year Zagreb would give a Christmas tree to Sarajevo after giving such a present to Rome, Berlin, Vienna and other cities in the previous years.

Zagreb Tourism Board head Martina Bienenfeld said this year's Advent in Zagreb would last longer than before, until the end of the winter school holiday. The event will last longer not only because of school children but because many guests stay in Zagreb after New Year's Eve and this will provide them with an opportunity to experience some more fun in January, she said.

"Advent in Zagreb this year will bring together close to 3,000 participants from various public, city and private companies and organisations and we expect the number of visitors to be higher than last year because the European Best Destination portal has already put us on a list of the most attractive Advent events in Europe, and the list will be voted on from 1 to 10 December," said Bienenfeld.

The first Advent candle will be lit in Zagreb's central square on November 28 to mark the beginning of the event, and in the evening Christmas lights will be turned on in the nearby Zrinjevac park, where an entertainment programme will be staged, including events for children. An ice-skating rink will be opened for the second time this year outside the Art Pavilion in the nearby King Tomislav Square. Christmas fairs will be staged at a number of locations in downtown Zagreb offering souvenirs, food and other products to visitors. A concert by Croatian pop singer Nina Badric will be staged in the central square on New Year's Eve.

Bienenfeld said that the capital's tourism results this year were very good and that the first ten months of this year saw more than 1.5 million overnight stays, which was how many stays there were throughout 2014. More than 56,000 tourists visited Zagreb in December 2014 alone, mostly because of Advent in Zagreb, and they generated 101,000 overnight stays, Bienenfeld said, adding that those figures could be exceeded this year.

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