ZAGREB, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Tourism cooperation between Croatia and China is improving while Croatia will attract more visitors and investment from China, Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday.
Croatia will host the 4th High-Level Meeting of Tourism Cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) from Sept. 18 to 20 in Dubrovnik.
The minister mentioned a number of promotional and educational activities on the Chinese market like creating special tourist strategies and developing tourist offer for Chinese tourists.
According to him, 200,000 Chinese tourists are expected to visit Croatia this year and next year the number will grow further.
"This is primarily about simplifying and accelerating visa procedures, opening and introducing new direct airlines with China, and adapting Croatian destinations to online payment services through Chinese mobile applications," the minister said.
He emphasized the high quality of cooperation with the Chinese Embassy in Zagreb on the joint organization of study tours for Chinese media representatives with the aim to present Croatian tourist offer.
"Croatia is also represented in China through the participation of famous Croatians who are well-known persons in China through programs broadcast on Chinese TV shows, such as football coach Miroslav Ciro Blazevic, singer Jelena Rozga, musicians Maksim Mrvica and Ana Rucner," the minister said.
He also said that a number of activities will be organized at the margins of the "China + CEECs" tourism conference in Dubrovnik with the aim to bring the Croatian offer closer to Chinese tourist agencies.
"It is a great opportunity to present all the beauties, tourism potentials, wide offerings and activities of Croatian tourism to all countries of this initiative, and to strengthen our cooperation in a better way."
Croatia has great expectations from hosting the "16+1" summit next year, and Cappelli said that it is an opportunity for all countries of this initiative to present all the beauties of the country, wide offerings and activities of Croatian tourism.
"Croatia, apart from its natural and cultural heritage, offers a range of different tourist products, and we work intensively on wellness, sports, gourmet, health, golf, eco, mountain and rural, adventure tourism and many attractions and amusement parks.
"I believe that Croatia will present in the best light all the qualities, not only the potential for better cooperation in tourism, but also in the whole economic sense," said the minister.
According to Barbara Mesic, Chief Advisor to the Tourism Ministry, Croatia expects that after the "16 + 1" summit next year, the interest of Chinese tourists will increase, because cooperation between the two countries will rise to a new level.
"It is a major step that Chinese language tour guides are working in Zagreb," said Mesic, referring to the 16 Chinese tour guides who passed exams and were certified by local tourist authorities in the Croatian capital earlier this year.
"More and more tourist spots are thinking of printing special guides and price lists in restaurants in the Chinese language," Mesic told Xinhua on Wednesday.
"Our wish is that Chinese tourists who come to this part of Europe can see the most important tourist and cultural centers in a few days and combine their stay with Austria or Italy," said Mesic.
Latest report by Croatian Bureau of Statistics shows that nearly 15.6 million foreign tourists visited the southeastern European country in 2017, increasing by 12.9 percent year on year. Among them, 159,000 tourists were from the Chinese mainland, a 55.9-percent increase from 2016.