Sports are an important part of promoting and branding Croatia, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said while attending Croatia Open tennis match in the coastal city Umag on Saturday.
"Sport is one of our main pearls, which is why the Tourism Ministry and the Croatian National Tourist Board are closely cooperating with many sports federations. We must work on making every big sporting event or success part of our promotion and our branding and we are working on that," Plenkovic told reporters at the ATP tournament.
Asked to comment on Croatian Olympic Committee president Zlatko Matesa's warning that Eurostat ranked Croatia last in the EU in terms of funds set aside for sports, he said his government had adopted a national sports strategy and that never had more been earmarked for sports. "My ministers and I are doing all we can to raise sports to the dignified level they deserve."
Speaking of the Umag tournament, Plenkovic said it had positioned itself well and that it represented "a real attraction" for Umag in terms of sports and for tourism in general. "The Umag tournament is our only ATP tournament which continually attracts our best players," he said, calling it "a social, cultural, gastronomic, tourist and sporting event."
He recalled the revived WTA tournament in Bol, saying Croatia could position its players through these two tournaments and contribute to the promotion of its sports.