Croatia puts safety at heart of 2021 tourism campaign

ZAGREB, March 22 (Reuters) - Croatia is putting safety at the heart of its campaign to lure back tourists this year, offering testing at resorts and other preventive measures to combat the coronavirus, Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said on Monday.

The government has launched a “Safe Stay in Croatia” campaign intended to guarantee high safety standards and procedures against COVID-19, she said.

“All tourist facilities, as well as transport companies and facilities like airports, seaports, train and bus stations, can get a ‘Safe Stay in Croatia’ sticker provided they guarantee to implement the necessary health and safety measures,” Brnjac said in an interview.

Visitors can find information online about destinations and tourist services which comply with safety measures such as customer numbers, social distancing, hygiene and mask requirements.

Tourists can monitor safety themselves. “The guests will be able to report any irregularities on the web page ‘’,” Brnjac said.

Tourism accounts for about one fifth of Croatia’s economy and last year tourist arrivals were about 40% of pre-pandemic 2019. This year Croatia is projecting economic growth of 5%, with tourism playing a major role.

Brnjac declined to comment on the number of visitors expected this year.

Like elsewhere in Europe, this month Croatia has recorded an increase in the number of infections, at around 1,100 daily.

This summer’s tourist season in Europe is threatened by a surge in cases in many holiday destinations.

Brnjac said Croatia would organise testing in tourist resorts, offering PCR and fast antigen tests as well as detailed information on what people should do if they experience symptoms.

“We want to make a stay in Croatia safe and pleasant,” Brnjac said.

Visitors to Croatia currently need a negative PCR test. Brnjac welcomed last week’s proposal from the European Commission for digital certificate for EU travellers but said they must not be discriminatory. (Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Giles Elgood)