One billion euro to be invested in tourism this year, panel hears

Photo /AA_2018_b-fotke/vijesti/H20181025000424.jpg

This year Croatia is experiencing a strong investment cycle in tourism and a total of one billion euro will have been invested, while new legislation aimed at activating abandoned state assets and the development of the islands and infrastructure should facilitate even higher investments, it was heard on Thursday at a round table called "Croatian tourism - present and future," held as part of Croatian Tourism Days.

The panel is a traditional encounter of tourism employees with government representatives during Croatian Tourism Days and this year the panel was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction and Physical Planning Predrag Stromar, State Assets Minister Goran Maric, Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic and state secretary in the Tourism Ministry Frano Matusic.

Matusic underscored that lately Croatia has been recognised as a desirable country for investment in tourism, recalling that the Financial Times has ranked Croatia among the world's top ten countries for tourism investment, with only two other countries in Europe making the top ten.

"This year alone, one billion euro will have been invested in the tourism sector, and of that 628 million euro in the private sector, which is an increase of 15% compared to 2017 but up 40% from 2016. Today tourism is experiencing a strong investment cycle which in fact helps the entire country and there is no need to be ashamed that tourism contributes 20% to GDP, perhaps even more," Matusic said.

Minister Maric underscored the importance of idle state property that has been devastated over the past thirty years or illegally usurped and that could be used in tourism.

Tourism industry lacking 15,000 to 20,000 workers

Ahead of the panel discussion with the ministers, a forum organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) was held, entitled "Human Potential - the Challenge of Croatia's Tourism," which heard that Croatia lacked 15,000 to 20,000 workers in tourism annually.

The discussion underlined the importance of dual education and, in that regard, the establishment of competency centres in six towns - Pula, Opatija, Split, Dubrovnik and Zabok and Osijek, where business people in tourism can be partners and participate in creating new education programmes.

The centres have a total of HRK 500 at their disposal and, apart from providing education for secondary school students, they will also provide retraining courses and mentors from the economic sector to work with students. (Hina/FaH)