Low-tariff airline Ryanair might resume flights to the eastern Croatian city of Osijek next year following talks between the company's representatives and Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli and National Tourism Board director Kristjan Stanicic at the World Travel Market in London earlier this week.
"Both we and Ryanair want to expand cooperation in Croatia. In today's talks with their representatives, we insisted that they expand their services to include continental Croatia, which is an opportunity for Osijek and for Ryanair. Our condition is that if they want to expand and work with us, which also implies joint investments, it can no longer be just Zadar," Cappelli said.
The minister said that talks were underway with Ryanair to introduce flights to Osijek between June and September next year. He put this in the context of plans and investment in promoting the tourism industry in the Slavonia region.
According to Stanicic, if the deal is reached, next summer Ryanair may bring about 5,000 tourists from different parts of the world to Osijek. He said that the outcome of the negotiations would be known by the end of this month, adding that "flights to Osijek are very likely."
Stanicic said that Ryanair had flown 310,000 passengers to Croatia this year and was expected to bring about 400,000 next year.
The Croatian officials also met with the world's largest tour operator TUI to discuss expanding cooperation. According to Stanicic, TUI announced 20,000 passengers to Croatia for next year, mostly to destinations where it has partners, such as Istria, Brac island and central Dalmatia.