Nearly €1 billion is expected to be invested in the Croatian tourism industry this year, and most of the investment will go towards 4- and 5-star hotels, said the Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli, in the coastal town of Opatija on Thursday.
Cappelli was speaking at the start of the 24th international "Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2018: Trends and Challenges" conference, organised by the Opatija Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The planned investment for 2018 marks a 15 percent increase compared to last year, and 40 percent compared to 2016.
The minister said that 2017 was a record tourist year and that 2018 got off to a good start with double-digit increases in the numbers of tourist arrivals and overnight stays.
"A considerable portion of the government's objectives in tourism have been realised. Croatia is a hit destination, but it needs to strengthen its position in global tourism," Cappelli said.
He added that the strategy for tourism development by 2020 will involve further investment of some 2 billion kuna (almost €270 million) in the construction of new hotels and hotel facilities.
Hotels generate 24 percent of all overnight stays, and, according to the latest surveys, visitors stay in hotels six to seven days on average, with daily spending 55 percent higher than that by visitors staying in other accommodation facilities.
Speaking of a labour shortage in the tourist industry, Cappelli said that one of the goals was to adapt the national education system to fit the needs of the tourism and hospitality industry, adding that his ministry had earmarked 500 million kuna (some €67 million) for the development of regional centres of competence.
(€1 = 7.42 kuna)