- Published: 17.01.2022.
Minister Grlić Radman meets with Croatian-Russian Business Club
Croatia expects a record number of Russian tourists this year, and last year saw a record volume of commodity trade in the past few years, it was said on Monday at the start of an official visit to Russia by Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman.
Grlić Radman is on a reciprocal visit to Moscow where he will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov after Lavrov visited Zagreb in December 2020.
"The fact that the visit has begun with this segment clearly shows what Croatian-Russian relations mean for the economy," Croatia's Ambassador to Russia, Tomislav Car, said at the meeting attended by representatives of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Croatian Tourist Board and about a dozen Croatian and Russian companies.
Grlić Radman said that Croatia's exports to Russia had increased by 16.2% in 2020 compared with 2019, amounting to US$201.7 million. Additional growth of about 25% is expected for 2021.
"Our data and statistics regarding the first ten months of 2021 indicate that that will be a year with the greatest commodity trade in the past few years," said Grlić Radman, announcing a Croatian economic forum in several Russian cities this year. Croatia has a trade deficit with Russia, "which is inevitable with a country rich in energy resources like Russia, not just for us but for almost all the countries in the world," said Grlić Radman. He expressed his satisfaction that 145,000 Russian tourists had visited Croatia last year and generated 800,000 bed nights.
The director of the Croatian Tourist Board Office in Russia, Rajko Ružička, said that this was because Croatia had opened up to Russian tourists and started issuing visas as early as April "which is something none of the competitors in the European Union did." The key also lies in the fact that Croatia was one of the first to recognise Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, he added. "This year we expect further growth and I hope that it will be a record year with about 200,000 Russian visitors," said Ružička.
Later in the day, Grlić Radman is scheduled to meet with Lavrov and the Metropolitan Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Hilarion. After that, he is due to attend an informal meeting of the Russian-Croatian Friendship Association.