OCTOBER 2 2012 22:32h
ZAGREB, Oct 2 (Hina) - The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) has approved slightly over HRK 1 billion in loans to the country's tourist trade in the first nine months of 2012, which is an 80% increase from 2011, and the bank plans to increase its lending to this sector by between 7% and 10% in 2013, retaining the existing interest rates of 1%, 3% and 5%.
This and other measures being prepared by the Tourism Ministry and the government are expected to increase the investment attractiveness and competitiveness of the Croatian tourism sector, Tourism Minister Veljko Ostojic and HBOR board chairman Anton Kovacev said on Tuesday.
We expect 2.5-3 billion kuna of investments in tourism next year, which will be twice as high as this year, the minister said.
These plans should be facilitated by a 10% Value Added Tax rate in tourism as of the new year, and the zero rate on the re-invested profit as well as comprehensive amendments to legislation concerning the restaurant and hotel trade, he added.
Recalling that in the first eight months of 2012 revenues from tourism increased by 3.5%, Ostojic called on this sector to take advantage of the good terms and conditions for borrowing from HBOR.
Speaking of favourable terms and conditions in the bank's lending, Kovacev said that the time frames for servicing the loans in tourism were expanded to 17 years this year with grace periods of four years and interest rates of 1%, 3% and 5%.
HBOR recognised the importance of tourism and investment in this sector, which is why out of a total of 6 billion kuna of lending in the first eight months this year, a rise of 27% year on year, one billion kuna was earmarked for tourism, Kovacev added.
The bank's total lending to tourism so far has reached HRK 11 billion.
(EUR 1 = HRK 7.4)