Croatia warmly welcomes Chinese tourists: tourism head
Fireworks are seen during the inauguration ceremony of the Peljesac Bridge in Komarna, Croatia, July 26, 2022. (Xinhua/Li Xuejun)
Although Chinese tourists were reappearing on the streets of major Croatian cities such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik, their numbers were still marginal -- compared with an annual 300,000 tourist arrivals from China before the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZAGREB, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Croatia warmly welcomes Chinese tourists, Kristjan Stanicic, director of the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB), told Xinhua on Monday.
"We warmly welcome Chinese tourists, because they are our dear guests," Stanicic said, noting that there used to be about 300,000 Chinese tourists visiting Croatia each year before the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a huge impact on the coming of Chinese tourists.
Although Chinese tourists were reappearing on the streets of major Croatian cities such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik, their numbers were still marginal in terms of the huge potential the country had, Stanicic said.
Tourists visit Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, on Aug. 5, 2021. (Kristina Stedul Fabac/Pixsell via Xinhua)
Stanicic noted that the number of incoming tourists were conditioned on the number of flights to Europe, including to Croatia, and there are no direct flights between Croatia and China so far.
"We hope that normal flights between China and Europe will resume soon so that there will be a large number of Chinese arrivals to Europe, including Croatia," Stanicic said, noting China's recent optimization of its COVID-19 response and gradual restoration of Chinese citizens' overseas travel.
Moreover, the CNTB Shanghai office, launched four years ago, had worked intensively on the promotion of Croatian tourism, including organizing online workshops and digital fairs, Stanicic said, adding that starting from 2023, offline activities would be held to promote Croatian tourism, one of the main pillars of the country's economy.
Passengers queue for security check at Haikou Meilan International Airport in Haikou, south China's Hainan Province, Jan. 7, 2023. (Xinhua/Yang Guanyu)
The CNTB had always regarded China as its major focus of tourism development, Stanicic said, voicing hope that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Croatia could resume to the pre-pandemic levels in a year or two, said Stanicic.
"We will do everything to facilitate the arrival and stay of Chinese tourists in Croatia," he added.