Croatia considers sustainable and responsible tourism important and during the Croatian presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Tourism Ministry plans to draw up a document in which the member-states and the European Commission will be called upon to cooperate in promoting the development of such tourism, the ministry has told Hina.
Promoting sustainable tourism and the sustainability of coastal and island communities is one of the elements included in the programme of the Croatian six-month rotating EU presidency, and Croatia will put an emphasis on promoting the diversity of the tourist trade, synergy of local communities and tourists, and reduction of seasonality of tourist demand as well as on the implementation of ICT within tourism systems.
Croatia believes that tourism should assume a more conspicuous part in European policies and institutions and will propose the development of a European tourist brand for the joint promotion of member-states in far-away markets.
"All that fits in the first strategic goal of the Croatian presidency, a Europe that grows in a balanced, sustainable and inclusive way," Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli says.
He points out the importance of the development of specific types of tourism such as health tourism, cyclo tourism, river tourism and so on, that can considerably contribute to the prosperity of the local population and direct travellers to some new destinations outside well-known ones, the minister says.
He recalls that the development of sustainable and responsible tourism can contribute to efforts to protect endangered species, preserve the tangible and intangible heritage as well as to address the issue of excessive tourism. Apart from documents on sustainable forms of tourism, meetings on this topic will also be organised by Croatia during its EU presidency.
The tourism ministry plans to hold a meeting of the Competitiveness Council (COMPET) in the format of tourism as well as two more events in Croatia.
The two events in question are a meeting of European experts in tourism in March 2020, which includes a trip to the Croatian regions of Slavonia, Baranja and Srijem, and a ministerial conference on 27-28 April in Dubrovnik, in which the Ministry wants to include member countries of the OECD which participate in the OECD's Tourism Committee.
Prior to all those events, Minister Capelli will participate in a ministerial conference in Madrid which will be held on 21 January, a day before FITUR, the largest tourism fair in Spain. He announced that he will personally invite his counterparts to the Dubrovnik conference during the Madrid conference.
"We think that tourism, due to its importance for the economy in general, deserves a better and a more conspicuous spot, as well as an independent organisational unit within the European Commission, in order for us to have more professional support for activities and initiatives necessary for contemporary tourism. As for financing in tourism, possibilities will be opened through various funds and programmes, as well as within the current EU multiannual financial framework," Capelli says.
He also reveals that in case a consensus is reached between all member states, a €300 million fund will be established for sustainable tourism within the Single Market Programme.
As for positioning tourism within EU bodies, he says that meetings of the Competitiveness Council in the tourism format have started.
"Finland dedicated its six-month presidency to discussions on the digitisation of the tourism sector, while Croatia will continue to accentuate all segments of sustainable and responsible tourism development and establish a financial framework for tourism," concludes Cappelli.
Croatia assumed the EU presidency from Finland.