Croatia recorded 16.3 million tourist arrivals this year and 91.3 million nights, 11 million more than last year, and these are record results which will increase revenue to EUR 9.5 billion, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference, Cappelli and National Tourist Board director Ratomir Ivicic said the physical turnover was outstanding and better than expected, notably from September through November, which were also markedly better than in 2015.

Cappelli said 250,000 arrivals and a little over 495,000 nights were recorded in December alone. Ivicic said there were 33,000 tourists in the country today, 7,000 more than yesterday, mainly in Istria County (8,600) and in Zagreb, and that Austrians, Germans, Slovenians and Italians were the most numerous among foreigners.

According to data from the eVisitor system, 15.8 million tourists stayed in Croatia this year, generating 88.2 million nights, including 1.8 million domestic arrivals and 10.4 million domestic nights. According to data from the eCrew system, 444,400 arrivals and over 3 million nights were recorded in yachting tourism.

Speaking of plans for 2017, Cappelli said more would be done to promote tourism in the shoulder season before the summer, as well as health, congress, cultural and nautical tourism, and to introduce more international flights.

Cappelli said there were also plans to increase promotion in China, South Korea and Japan, as well as to step up the promotion of continental tourism.

Aside from expecting increases in arrivals and nights in 2017, Croatia expects tourism revenue to continue going up, possibly to EUR 14.3 billion by 2020, if investments and arrivals continue to grow as over the past couple of years, said the minister.

In 2017, we expect 3 to 4% more arrivals and nights, an increase in investments from this year's EUR 670 million to EUR 800 million, of which EUR 500 million from private investors and EUR 300 million from the public sector, he said.

Cappelli said a lot was expected of three strategic projects, each worth HRK 500 million - the Hotel Park in Rovinj, the Costabella resort in Rijeka, and the Hotel Plat in Dubrovnik.

(EUR 1 = HRK 7.5)

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