Croatia, whose tourism-oriented economy has been in recession for most of the time since 2009, expects to see its earnings from visitors grow by up to five percent this year, a minister said Monday.
"Our expectations for 2012 are to repeat the results from the last year as far as it concerns the number of tourists and overnight stays and increase financial earnings between three and five percent," Tourism Minister Veljko Ostojic told journalists.
Last year the Adriatic country's earnings from tourism amounted to some 6.7 billion euros ($8.2 billion). Tourism represents some 15 percent of Croatia's gross domestic product.
During the first six months of the year Croatia hosted more than 3.5 million tourists, an increase of more than five percent compared with the same period last year, the minister said.
During the same period, the country registered more than 14 million overnight stays, mostly on its stunning Adriatic coast. That was also a more than five percent hike compared to the January-June period in 2011.
Tourists come mainly from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Italy.
Croatia's tourism industry has gradually recovered since the country's 1991-1995 war of independence from the former Yugoslavia. In 2011, more than 11.4 million tourists visited the country of 4.2 million.
Set to join the European Union in July next year, Croatia has been in recession for most of the time since 2009, while last year the economy stagnated.
International financial institutions and the central bank forecast a 1.0 percent drop in GDP for this year.