Interview: Increasing Chinese tourists to benefit tourism: Croatian mayor

Updated: February 20, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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This photo taken on Feb. 19, 2023 shows the carnival parade, the culmination of the month-long Rijeka Carnival in Rijeka, Croatia. (Xinhua/Li Xuejun)

RIJEKA, Croatia, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- "I invite Chinese tourists to attend the Rijeka Carnival," said Marko Filipovic, mayor of Rijeka, the third largest city in Croatia, in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday.

"I invite Chinese tourists to definitely come to Rijeka for the real experience of the carnival," to enjoy the atmosphere, celebrations and energy that feature almost 600 years of traditions and customs, Filipovic said.

Filipovic was glad of China's easing pandemic restrictions, which he believed will have a positive impact on Croatian tourism.

"We believe that Chinese tourists will come in even greater numbers and discover Rijeka not only during the Rijeka Carnival, but throughout the whole year," he noted, recalling that some 2,000 Chinese tourists visited Rijeka each year before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filipovic said he was "extremely happy" that Qi Qianjin, Chinese ambassador to Croatia, was present at Sunday's carnival parade, the culmination of the month-long Rijeka Carnival between Jan. 17 and Feb. 22.

"It is a special opportunity to deepen the relationship between our cultures and continue to nurture excellent bilateral relations," Filipovic said, adding that Rijeka has established friendly and cooperative relations with three Chinese cities -- Qingdao, Dalian and Ningbo.

Chinese delegations from these cities have visited Rijeka several times to discuss cooperation in areas ranging from economy to culture and tourism, Filipovic added.

More than 100,000 visitors from Croatia and abroad have flocked to the streets to watch the carnival parade, which showcased some 9,000 masked paraders from Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Montenegro, India and Malaysia and other countries.

Launched in 1982, the Rijeka Carnival has grown into the most famous and the largest such event in Croatia and one of the largest in Europe.

Editor: Su Dan