The Croatian National Tourist Board from 9th to 11th of February presents the Croatian tourism offer at the most important Italian tourism fair BIT in Milan, which this year marks its 40th anniversary. The first day of the fair was reserved for a wide audience, while the remaining two days are focused on business audiences and meetings with key strategic partners. A special presentation of Kvarner and Rijeka ECOC 2020 was held yesterday, and the fair is attended by Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Stanicic, Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, Croatian Ambassador to Italy Jasen Mesic and Consul General in Milan Stjepan Ribic. The stand of the Croatian Tourist Board was visited by the head of the Milan Tourism Office, Roberto Guaineri, who presented to Croatian tourism leaders the direction of development of Milan tourism, as well as one of the most popular Italian football coaches of all time, Fabio Capello.
-The BIT fair in Milan is one of the most important fairs in the extremely important Italian market, from which we achieved an increase of about 3 percent in arrivals and overnight stays last year. The Italian market is characterized by later bookings, the sale of travel arrangements is most intense in early April, so our presence at this fair is an excellent opportunity to meet with key partners and further strengthen our position in Italy. Italians are the fifth most numerous guests in our country, and I am sure that numerous marketing activities we carry out in Italy will influence the continuation of positive trends, while optimism is also given to us by the good announcements of key tour operators, airlines, shipping companies - said Croatian Tourist Board Director Kristjan Stanicic.
As part of the BIT fair, the Croatian delegation met with Ivana Jelinic, president of the Italian Association of Travel Agencies FIAVET, and on that occasion signed the renewal of an agreement under which the Croatian Tourist Board Representative Office in Milan is an associate member of this association, which brings together 1,500 travel agencies and tour operators. FIAVET is also the founder of Confturismo, a large economic confederation that brings together more than 500 thousand companies.
Minister Cappelli empashized that Croatia and Italy have a long history, which is why the two countries are deeply connected through culture and customs.
-Our country is one of the most popular destinations for Italian tourists and enjoys the image of a safe and environmentally friendly close destination with a rich gastronomic offer. We are a particularly popular destination among Italian boaters and users of health tourism services. That is why year after year we are seeing an increase in arrivals of Italian tourists to Croatia, and as we could see today, the interest of Italians in spending vacations in Croatia and exploring new destinations continues to grow. In 2020, we expect good results from this market, especially because of the promotional activities undertaken as part of Croatia's EU Council Presidency, which will cause Croatia to be exposed in all European media during the first half of the year. We also hope that a rich program, as part of presenting Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture, presented today to Italian journalists and travel agencies, will encourage Italians to spend part of their annual holidays in Kvarner - said Minister Cappelli.
Possibilities for strengthening further cooperation are discussed with representatives of the Italian Tour Operators Association ASTOI, which gathers over 90 percent of the Italian tour operator market, as well as with representatives of the tour operator Solo Croazia, which specializes exclusively in Croatia, and with representatives of the Spanish airline Volotea. This airline flies to three destinations in Croatia: Pula, Split and Dubrovnik.
Director of the Croatian Tourist Board Representation in Italy Viviana Vukelic referred to the promotional activities that the Croatian Tourist Board is conducting in Italy.
-Italians especially appreciate gastronomy, natural beauty, culture, wellness and our crystal clear sea, and through our promotional activities we intensely communicate these key products. In addition to classic activities such as appearing at trade fairs, business workshops, presentations and collaborations with professional associations in the market, what the Croatian Tourist Board Representation in Italy will continue to do systematically is to strengthen the image and recognition of Croatia through advertising, PR events and nurturing relationships with to the Italian media - said Vukelic.
At the Croatian Tourist Board stand, during all the days of the fair, which is visited by more than 40 thousand people every year, the Krapina-Zagorje County Tourist Board presents its eno-gastro, cultural and musical offer, so that all visitors of the fair have the opportunity to taste local products, while the special attraction are costumed Krapina Neanderthals who animate visitors to make them want to visit Zagorje and the Museum of Krapina Neanderthals.
At this year's fair, as part of the Croatian Tourist Bord stand, ten co-exhibitors are represented, including the Kvarner, Split, Dalmatia, Zadar and Krapina-Zagorje County Tourist Boards, Zagreb and Opatija Tourist Boards and entities including Jadrolinija, Vir Tourism, Solo Croazia and Bi village from Fazana.