Croatia makes comeback in U.S. tourism

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Croatia is making a comeback in U.S. tourism, with almost all major cruise lines calling at ports and nine U.S. Tour Operators Association operators scheduled to operate programs in 1999, Croatian tourism officials told the press at the USTOA conference here.

Some 60,000 U.S. citizens visited Croatia in 1998, most of them business people and citizens of Croatian descent, with 6,000 pleasure travelers on land programs and 8,000 cruise ship passengers, according to Pave Zupoan Ruskovic, president of Atlas Travel in Dubrovnik. "I put Croatia on almost the same level as Italy in terms of beauty, nature and art," he said.

Giving Croatia a big push in 1999 will be the addition of many new tours and packages by USTOA members, the result of a workshop that Croatian tourism officials held for USTOA in June.

The nine operators that will offer Croatia packages in 1999 are Educational Travel Services, Abercrombie & Kent, Central Holidays, Collette Tours, Gate 1, Homeric Tours, Maupintour, Sunnyland and Trafalgar.

Central Holidays is discussing with Air Europe the possibility of offering a summer charter program to Croatia, with weekly flights from the east coast. Central Holidays is releasing a 20-page color brochure on Croatia, also including tours to Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany.

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