Based on bookings and announcements, Croatia can expect 5-6 percent more German tourists this year, which is a considerable increase compared with last year, Tourism Minister Anton Kliman said at the ITB travel show in Berlin on Wednesday.
ITB is the largest tourism fair in the world and this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary. From March 9 to 13, more than 10,000 exhibitors from nearly 190 countries, including Croatia, will present their products and services in Berlin.
Kliman visited the Croatian stand and met with German travel agents. He told reporters that the Ministry of Tourism would make its contribution to the 2016 state budget by reducing its budget by about 10 million kuna.
Kliman said that his ministry's budget for this year would be about HRK 170 million (EUR 22.3 million) and that the reduction would not affect the activities of the ministry or those of the Croatian Tourist Board. He said that this year's season would be as good as last year's.
"Booking with German tour operators for Croatia is currently 10-30 percent better than at the same time last year, .... so we believe that the positive trends will continue through May and June. If we had greater capacity, if we had more hotels, we would certainly have more tourists and we would see two-digit increases in arrivals and bed-nights given the great interest in Croatia. That's why this government, the ministry and other stakeholders will do their utmost so that new investments are implemented as soon as possible," Kliman said, adding that administrative procedures would be simplified and accelerated for that purpose.
The minister said that private investors were currently working on about 35 hotels along the Adriatic coast, but that the investment cycle should be intensified further.
Speaking of his meeting on Tuesday with World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, Kliman said that they had agreed that the security situation in Croatia was good and that there had been no negative effects of the ongoing migrant crisis on tourism and other sectors.
"We concluded that with the closure of the Balkan refugee route no new routes would be opened, for example via Dalmatia, although there have been such speculations in Austrian and German media. There is no fear that new routes will be opened, but even if something unplanned happens, and I think it won't, rest assured that we will know how to cope with it," Kliman said.
He said that given the great interest among Russian tourists, ways were now being sought to ease the EU visa regime for Russian tourists wishing to travel to Croatia.