Two east Slavonian counties earn €5m from inland waterway tourism

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Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties annually earn about €5 million from nautical tourism on inland waterways, and this justifies investment in waterway infrastructure and this kind of travel industry, a round table heard on Tuesday.

Addressing this round table, which was held in Osijek and focused on the topic of inland nautical tourism, an expert, Božana Matoš, said that inland waterway tourism was the fastest growing form of the travel industry globally as well as in the European Union, including Croatia.

"This travel industry is present on our three international waterways: the Danube, the Drava and the Sava," Matoš said.

Before the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, the number of cruise ships on inland waterways in the country skyrocketed by 50%.

Surveys show that the average spending of a passenger from a cruise ship in a riverport destination is €10, and the total revenue from a cruise ship stop is about €10,000, which is not little, she said.

The calculation also shows that annually, 5 million euros come to Osijek-Baranja County and Vukovar-Srijem County from visits by river cruise ships, she said.

The lion's share of this type of nautical tourism takes place on the Danube, and Vukovar is the most popular port.

Annually, Vukovar logs in over 300 arrivals of cruise ships.

Since 2016, over €17.5 million has been invested in the berthing facilities on inland waterways in Croatia, said Željko Sić, an official of the ministry of sea, transport and infrastructure.

Of that amount, 7.5 million came from EU funds.

The ministry permanently invests in the management of navigable waterways, and annual budget outlays for this purpose are about €2.5 million, Sić said.