Croatia’s minister of tourism, Pave Zupan, and Croatian ambassador in Washington, Ivan Grdesic, visited Atlanta recently to meet with Delta Air Lines Inc. to discuss the potential for direct flights from here to Croatia.
Ivan Dezelic, director of interline and industry affairs for Delta, hosted the Croatians here.
Delta currently has codeshare agreements with Croatian Airlines and Lufthansa AG for flights from New York to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital city, via Frankfurt, London or Paris. Delta also has seasonal service to Split, another Croatian city, through Delta’s SkyTeam Alliance partner CSA Czech Airlines.
Any direct flight from Atlanta would ease business or pleasure travel to Croatia, helping to boost the tourism industry there, Marko Polic, vice president of the newly formed Croatian American Chamber of Commerce here, told GlobalFax.
Some 100,000 passengers fly annually between the United States and Croatia, or roughly 15 passengers per day each way, to and from the cities of Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik. New York airports capture 23% of the total air traffic between the U.S. and Croatia.
An increasing number of travelers to Croatia are en route to the island of Hvar, a new vacation hotspot in the Adriatic Sea, Mr. Polic said.
“Croatia has traditionally drawn tourists from weaker economies in Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic,” he said. “But we hope to disseminate more information about Croatia as a tourist destination for Americans. The U.S., and especially the Southeast, is a relatively untapped market for Croatia,” he added.
Mr. Polic said the Croatian chamber is launching a new website www.go-croatia.org in the next couple weeks provide information on Croatia to a broad audience.
The chamber is also starting to identify other Croatian industries besides tourism that would be of interest to Southeastern investors, including fishing, metal working, oil refining, shipbuilding and software development, Mr. Polic said.
He added that the chamber will be hosting a Croatian delegation here at the end of September.
The Croatian community in Atlanta is estimated to be 200-300 people. Contact Mr. Polic, sales director for Brightpath Wireless Inc., at (678) 478-2122 or Croatian chamber president Igor Silvestar at (404) 255-9414.