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Chinese market extremely important for Croatian tourism: minister

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ZAGREB, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese market is extremely important for Croatia's tourism given the huge numbers of China's annual outbound travelers, Croatian Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin has said.

In China, "there is huge number of tourists and they travel not only in top season," he said in a written interview with Xinhua, noting "a constant growth" in Chinese market for Croatia's tourism sector.

To promote Croatia as an all-year-round destination among Chinese travelers, Croatian tourism authorities recently organized a week-long study tour across the southeastern European country for China's tourist operators.

Shao Yiheng, general manager of China Classical Holiday, a tourist agency, was optimistic that Croatia will become a new destination for Chinese tourists.

In Split, the second largest city of Croatia, Deputy mayor Aida Aatarelo said a sister-city memorandum had been signed between Split and southeastern Chinese city of Hangzhou this month and it would be a new platform to further cooperation, not only between the two cities but between the two countries.

She said split, a historical city with a number of cultural heritages, saw a 6 percent growth in term of Chinese travelers last year. She expressed hope that Chinese companies would invest in the city's education and tourist sectors.

Zeljko Anicic, manager of Ati tourist agency of Croatia, said he had received an increasing number of Chinese tourists annually since 2010, "but not enough, compared with the number of the Chinese outbound tourists of nearly 100 million in 2013."

Chinese tourists spent 120 billion U.S. dollars abroad last year, and "these are figures we cannot ignore," he said.

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