Editor’s note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CIDRAP News on May 4 that the total number of laboratories that received test kits containing H2N2 virus samples from Meridian Bioscience Inc. was 4,614, rather than more than 6,000, as stated in this story.May 3, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – All samples of a potentially dangerous influenza virus that were sent to thousands of laboratories in 18 countries in recent months have been accounted for and destroyed, federal health officials announced today.Samples of the influenza A(H2N2) virus, which caused the flu pandemic of 1957-58, were sent to more than 6,000 labs for use in testing the labs’ ability to identify flu viruses. Most of the labs were in the United States.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the organizations that administer proficiency testing reported that all the samples had been destroyed. No reports of illness have been linked with possible exposure to the samples, the CDC said. The virus has not circulated since 1968, which means that most people now would have little or no immunity to it.”Certification of the destruction of the H2N2 samples contained in the proficiency testing kits effectively ends the immediate risk associated with distribution of these kits, but it is only the first step of the public health response,” the CDC said. A multiagency task force will investigate what caused the inclusion of H2N2 in the test kits, the statement added.Also today, the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended that labs use stricter safety precautions when handling H2N2 virus samples. The agencies released a recommendation that labs use Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) instead of BSL-2 precautions when working with the virus. A similar recommendation was made for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses and for reverse-genetics research on the 1918 pandemic flu virus.Starting last fall, samples of the H2N2 virus were sent to labs in 18 countries for routine testing that usually involves more benign flu strains. Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cleveland sent the kits on behalf of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and three other US organizations that administer lab proficiency testing. Why the H2N2 virus was used has not been fully explained. But the virus was classified as BSL-2 at the time, which meant it could legally be used in the kits, CAP officials have said.In the testing, labs have to determine if a virus is influenza and whether it is type A or B, without identifying the subtype. But Canadian government researchers discovered in March that the virus they had been sent was H2N2, which led the World Health Organization on Apr 12 to urge labs to destroy all the samples. Most laboratories quickly did so, but a few samples were missing, which triggered an urgent search.CDC officials reported on Apr 21 that 99% of the samples had already been destroyed. News reports on Apr 25 said the last samples outside the United States had been destroyed at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, after they were found at the Beirut airport.Earlier reports said H2N2 samples were sent to 3,747 labs under CAP auspices and to about another 2,700 labs certified by other organizations. All but about 75 labs that received the CAP samples were in the United States, reports said. How many of the other labs were in the United States has not been made clear.The biosafety recommendations released today are part of a new edition of guidelines for biomedical labs that will be published in full this fall, the CDC said. In BSL-3 labs, agents are handled with equipment designed to prevent any airborne contamination and resulting respiratory exposure for lab workers and others.With regard to the 1918 pandemic virus, the recommendations state, “Any research involving reverse genetics of the 1918 influenza strain should proceed with extreme caution. The risk to laboratory workers is unknown at the present time but the pandemic potential is thought to be significant.”In recent studies, researchers have engineered viruses similar to the 1918 pandemic strain, H1N1, and exposed mice to them in an effort to learn what made the virus so deadly. The 1918 pandemic is estimated to have killed between 50 million and 100 million people around the world.See also:CDC update on H2N2 virus situationhttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/han050305.htmCDC’s interim safety recommendations for laboratories working with H2N2 and certain other influenza viruseshttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/h2n2bsl3.htmNov 24, 2004, CIDRAP News story, “Recreated gene sheds light on lethality of 1918 flu virus”
Jun 21, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – More human and poultry cases of H5N1 influenza are coming to light in Southeast Asia, with reports of two new human illnesses in Vietnam and a second poultry outbreak in China.Two people from northern Vietnam were admitted to Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi over the weekend and later tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to hospital director Tran Quy, who was quoted in the China Daily newspaper and other media reports.The spate of confirmed cases in northern Vietnam in June brings CIDRAP’s unofficial tally of Vietnamese cases since December 2004 to 63, of which 18 were fatal. The Thanh Nien Daily newspaper in Vietnam reported yesterday that 23 suspected cases of avian flu had been reported nationwide in the past week.China reported that a second H5N1 outbreak has occurred among domestic birds in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. The outbreak killed 63 geese and ducks and infected at least 128, AFP said, citing new data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Authorities culled 1,490 birds on that farm and in nearby Changji city.The earlier outbreak in that province occurred the first week of June and led to the deaths from illness or culling of more than 13,000 geese. In early May, China announced its first avian flu outbreak in 2005, which killed more than 1,000 migratory birds of five different species in Qinghai province, to the east of Xinjiang.More information about the migratory bird outbreak may be forthcoming, as teams of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and FAO arrived in Qinghai province yesterday to inspect the outbreak area, according to Bloomberg news service. The teams obtained permission for the trip last week, but China rejected their request to travel to Xinjiang province.
Jun 28, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today banned importation of five types of farmed Chinese seafood because of contamination with outlawed antimicrobial drugs, including one that can spawn antibiotic resistance.The FDA banned farm-raised catfish, shrimp, eel, dace (a carp-like fish), and basa (similar to catfish) from China after testing over an 8-month period revealed many cases of contamination with drug residues, according to an agency news release.The contaminants include nitrofuran, malachite green, gentian violet, and fluoroquinolone, the agency said. The first three cause cancer in lab animals with prolonged exposure, while fluoroquinolones are a class of antibiotics whose use in food animals has been known to promote resistant bacteria. All four are banned in farmed seafood in the United States.China outlaws the use of nitrofurans and malachite green in fish farming but allows fluoroquinolones, the FDA said. It did not say whether China allows gentian violet use.”We’ve now reached a point where between October 2006 and May 2007 over 15% of samples we tested were positive,” David Acheson, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for food protection, said at a teleconference today. “That basically reaches a point where we need to set up controls that are broader than company by company. The best way to protect public health in America is to broaden it to country-wide.”The drug residues have been at low levels, and there is no imminent threat to public health, he said. “However, the substances could cause serious problems if consumed over a long period of time.”The FDA said it is not seeking a recall of the Chinese products already in the United States or advising consumers to return or destroy products on hand. “FDA is concerned about long term exposure as well as the possible development of antibiotic resistance,” the agency said.Imported seafood is not required to be labeled with the country of origin, though some products have such labels, FDA officials said.Officials said individual companies will be allowed to resume exporting the affected products to the United States if they can demonstrate that they are free of the contaminants and were processed in accord with FDA and Chinese government requirements.China accounts for 70% of the global supply of farmed fish and is the third largest exporter of farmed fish to the United States, said Acheson. However, he said he couldn’t estimate the economic effects of the ban on China, commenting. “FDA does not track those sorts of economic issues.”The FDA’s concern about Chinese seafood dates back several years. “We began to see these problems in farmed fish from China predating 2001,” said Margaret O’ K. Glavin, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs.The agency began barring some seafood products from certain Chinese companies in 2001. Last year the FDA barred all Chinese farmed eel because of malachite green, Glavin said. She said the agency inspects about 5% of Chinese seafood, a larger share than for seafood from other countries.Officials said the FDA has been working extensively with Chinese authorities on the problem but still finds it necessary to take action to protect US consumers.In the past the FDA allowed the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry, but in 2000 the agency proposed to ban such use because it was linked with antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter in poultry meat. The concern was that human Campylobacter infections associated with raw or undercooked poultry would become harder to treat.When the FDA first proposed its ban on fluoroquinolones in poultry, one of two drug companies that made such drugs for poultry voluntarily withdrew its drug from the market. But another company appealed the decision, which led to a series of hearings. The FDA finally made the ban official in 2005.See also:Jun 28 FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm108941.htmJuly 29, 2005, CIDRAP News story “FDA to ban enrofloxacin use in poultry”http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/july2905baytril.htmlJul 28, 2005, FDA news release about the ban on fluoroquinolone use in poultryhttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108467.htm
So far, multiple tests on the other patients have been negative for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, and Rift Valley fever viruses, according to the NICD. Serologic tests have excluded hantaviruses. “The final results for viral culture in animal and cell cultures are pending,” the statement said. The WHO said the victims so far have tested negative for several VHFs and other infectious diseases, and no new cases have emerged since the latest death on Oct 5. A fourth case was linked to the three reported by the WHO, but that patient was found to have “an alternative diagnosis,” which was not named, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said in a bulletin. The statement gave no details about that patient. Oct 10, 2008 (CIDRAP News) The World Health Organization (WHO) today said a mysterious febrile disease that bears some resemblance to a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) has killed three people in Johannesburg, South Africa. See also: The first victim was a woman from Zambia who fell ill while on a safari and died in a Johannesburg hospital on Sep 14, the WHO said. Subsequently, a paramedic who cared for the woman during her evacuation got sick on Sep 27 and died Oct 2, and a nurse who cared for the first patient in South Africa died Oct 5. The index patient had close contact with horses and a history of a possible tick bite, and was given a diagnosis of “tick bite fever,” the NICD said. But she died shortly after arriving in South Africa, and no samples were available for testing, the agency said. Oct 10 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2008_10_10/en/index.html There is no indication of a need for restrictions on travel to or from South Africa or Zambia, and no special measures are needed for passengers arriving from the two countries, the WHO said. The WHO said epidemiologists from the agency’s African Regional Office have gone to South Africa and Zambia to support the investigations. With no other cases identified so far, the NICD said, “It seems likely that this is an isolated case with secondary transmission in the nosocomial setting. Given the high mortality, nosocomial transmission, and clinical presentation, a viral haemorrhagic fever remains possible.” “Clinical features common to the three patients initially include fever, headache, diarrhoea, and myalgia developing into rash and hepatic dysfunction, followed by rapid deterioration and death,” the WHO said. “Bleeding was not a marked clinical feature.” The negative findings so far could be explained by the fact that samples were taken late in the illness (day 10)or by the presence of virus variants not detectable with current molecular and serologic tests, the NICD said.
Tauxe said a second case-control study looking into a wider array of products will be conducted over the next few weeks, and preliminary results are expected next week. “This appears to be an ingredient-driven outbreak,” said Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Bacterial, and Mycotic Diseases. He said the first case-control studies suggested that about two thirds of the patients consumed peanut butter, but not national retail brands. Infection from the outbreak strain may have played a role in five deaths, he said. The last illness onset date was Dec 31, which indicates that the outbreak is ongoing. Investigators have determined that the source of the outbreak strain, Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, might be bulk peanut butter from the Peanut Corporation of America’s (PCA’s) plant in Blakely, Ga. Jan 16, 2009 (CIDRAP News) Federal officials today said investigators have found Salmonella in the Blakely, Ga., plant that has been implicated in a multistate outbreak, though testing hasn’t yet revealed if it is the same subtype and if it genetically matches the outbreak strain. FDA background on Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak So far, the only pathogen that matches the outbreak strain was found in an open 5-lb container of peanut butter at a Minnesota nursing home. The peanut butter was produced by PCA and distributed by King Nut Company. However, the fact that the peanut butter tub was open means cross-contamination could have occurred. Experts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also told reporters that the probe into the potentially contaminated peanut butter is also focusing on other products such as cookies, crackers, and ice creams that might contain tainted peanut butter or peanut paste. Tauxe said so far 453 cases from 43 states have been linked to the outbreak. One of the patients is from Canada. For patients with available information, 22% were hospitalized. Sundlof and Tauxe said until more information is known about possible contamination in other peanut butter food items, federal agencies aren’t yet advising consumers to avoid specific products. See also: The company has 85 direct accounts, some of which are distributors and some of which are food manufacturers, Sundlof said, adding that the FDA is exploring the distribution chain for the products. Stephen Sundlof, DVM, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said despite the lack of a definitive link, investigators are focusing on the peanut butter connection. He urged food manufacturers to check their supply chains and determine if any of their peanut butter or peanut paste ingredients came from PCA. Sundlof said companies that used any of PCA’s recalled peanut butter should follow the lead of Kellogg Company and remove their products from distribution. On Jan 14, Kellogg placed a product hold on its Austin and Keebler peanut butter cracker varieties and urged consumers to avoid eating the products and asked stores to pull the products from shelves. CDC Salmonella update Jan 15 CIDRAP News story “Kellogg pulls peanut butter crackers as Salmonella probe widens”
Feb 6, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Today we are launching a new daily News Scan to help our readers keep up with the full range of current and noteworthy developments in emerging infectious diseases, biosecurity, foodborne diseases, influenza, other public health threats, and relevant policy issues. To create this feature, our CIDRAP science staff and editorial team will carefully cull the day’s most significant stories from a wide variety of reputable sources and distill them into short summaries with links to the original sources. While adding this new service, we will continue to explore significant news developments with our own, more detailed staff-written stories.Avian flu closes Hong Kong bird parkAfter a dead heron tested positive for an H5 avian influenza virus, officials in Hong Kong closed the Mai Po bird sanctuary in the northwestern part of the region for 3 weeks as a precautionary measure, according to a report today from Agence France-Presse (AFP). Further tests are under way to determine if the virus is the deadly H5N1 strain.H5N1 hits another Vietnam provinceAgriculture officials in Vietnam today reported an H5N1 outbreak in another province, Nghe An, in the central part of the country. The disease struck 200 ducks at a local farm. Earlier this week authorities confirmed H5N1 outbreaks in two other provinces, Ca Mau and Soc Trang, both in southern Vietnam.[Feb 6 Xinhua story]More support for bacterial role in 1918 pandemicResearchers compared the time course of illness in patients who died of influenza-related pneumonia during the 1918 pandemic with that of patients who died of pneumococcal pneumonia in the 1920s and 1930s. They found that the time courses were similar, adding more evidence that pneumonia deaths during the 1918 pandemic were mainly from pneumococcal organisms, the group wrote in a letter published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.[Feb EID report]US flu activity increasesThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that five states reported widespread flu activity last week, up from two states the previous week. The states are Colorado, Delaware, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Almost all (97.4%) influenza A/H1N1 samples that have been tested showed resistance to oseltamivir. New York City reported one flu-related pediatric death.[CDC influenza surveillance report for Jan 25-31]Salmonella outbreak developmentsThe Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said yesterday that victims of recent Arkansas storms were not served meals that contained peanut butter recalled in the national Salmonella outbreak, but as a safeguard, they urged people to remove and discard any peanut butter items they receive in their emergency meals. Meanwhile, the Associated Press (AP) reported today that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said potentially contaminated peanut butter and other foods were shipped in 2007 to free school-lunch programs in three states: California, Minnesota, and Idaho.[Feb 5 FEMA press release]E coli and norovirus outbreaksPublic health officials in Colorado are investigating an Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak involving 20 people, including 17 children, that appears to be connected to a large stock show that was held in Denver, according to a report yesterday from a Denver television station. Meanwhile, a norovirus outbreak involving 35 women at the University of Florida closed a sorority house for a week, a student newspaper reported. A Wisconsin company, Jack & The Green Sprouts, recalled its alfalfa sprouts from Minnesota and Wisconsin stores after routine testing by Minnesota officials found Salmonella in a package, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (WDATCP). No illnesses were reported.[Feb 5 TheDenverChannel.com story]
Mar 30, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Public health officials in four states are investigating a Salmonella outbreak associated with spices made by a California company that has so far sickened 42 people, 33 of them in California.Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), said in a Mar 28 press release that consumers should avoid eating spices produces by Union International Food Company, though only white and black pepper products have been linked to the illnesses.The company recalled its pepper and other spice products, which were primarily sold to distributors and restaurants in California and Oregon under the Lian How brand name. The products, which include the wording “Packed by Union International Foods” or “Union National Foods,” were packed in various-sized containers, from 2.2-lb foil bags to 15-lb cardboard boxes with plastic liners.Besides pepper, other seasonings subject to the recall include cayenne pepper, paprika, chopped onion, onion powder, garlic, curry powder, mustard powder, and wasabi powder.William Keene, senior epidemiologist in the Public Health Division of the Oregon Department of Human Services, told CIDRAP News that the outbreak strain is Salmonella enterica serotype Rissen, which has so far sickened four Oregon residents. He said the strain is also linked to cases in Washington and Nevada.California officials said no deaths have been attributed to the outbreak and the latest known illness onset is Mar 13. Cases were reported from 15 counties in the central and northern part of the state.Salmonellosis is marked by diarrhea, fever, and cramps that start between 12 and 72 hours after infection, with symptoms that last from 4 to 7 days, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people recover without treatment, but severe cases can occur in infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immunity.
According to the eVisitor system, which includes tourist traffic generated in commercial and non-commercial facilities and nautical charter (eCrew system), 4.4 million arrivals (+6 percent) and 31.8 million overnight stays (+6 percent) were realized in Croatia in August, while from January to August, 14.8 million arrivals (+14 percent) and 85 million overnight stays (+13 percent) were realized.These are the results presented today at the Ministry of Tourism by the Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli and the Director of the CNTB Head Office Kristjan Staničić. “The tourist traffic records that have been following us since the beginning of the year confirm and justify the quality management of the tourist system, well-done promotional activities, strong investment in the quality of the offer and service, and the diversity of content in destinations. The announcements for the post-season are excellent and this strong double-digit growth in tourist traffic brings us, for the first time in Croatian history, to the figure of 100 million overnight stays. Also, at the level of the whole year, we expect higher tourist growth than the European average. This is the direction in which we want to go further, because only with dedicated and quality work of all stakeholders in tourism can Croatia become an even more competitive tourist destination.”, said Minister Cappelli.Director Staničić also agreed with the minister, adding that positive trends are expected in the coming months, especially in September. “The main part of this tourist year really met our expectations because Croatian tourism grew at high rates and during the main summer months when our capacities are traditionally the most filled. These days, more than 500 thousand tourists stay in Croatia, so we expect very good results during the month of September, which is becoming more and more important for our overall results. The goal is to bring this year to a successful end and to be ready to enter 2018, for which we have already started with certain preparations.”, concluded director Staničić.Record AugustOf the total number of arrivals and overnight stays in August, foreign tourists realized 4.1 million arrivals (+6 percent) and 28.2 million overnight stays (+6 percent), and domestic tourists also increased with a growth of 1.4 percent in arrivals and 8 percent in overnight stays. Thus, in August, the highest number of overnight stays was realized in Istria (8.6 million overnight stays), Kvarner (6.1 million overnight stays) and in the Split-Dalmatia County (6 million overnight stays). They are followed by Zadar County with 4.7 million overnight stays, Šibenik-Knin County with 2.4 million overnight stays, Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 2.2 million overnight stays, Lika-Senj County with 1.5 million overnight stays and Zagreb with 250 thousand overnight stays. In August, not counting the city of Zagreb, a total of 316 thousand overnight stays were realized on the continent (an increase of 12 percent), and most overnight stays were realized in Karlovac (150 thousand overnight stays), Krapina-Zagorje (43 thousand overnight stays) and Međimurje County. overnight stays). Looking at the destinations, most overnight stays in August were realized in Rovinj, Medulin, Poreč, Dubrovnik, Umag and Crikvenica.During August, most overnight stays were realized by tourists from Germany (6.8 million overnight stays), Slovenia (3 million overnight stays), Italy (2.8 million overnight stays), Poland (2.2 million overnight stays) and Austria (2 million overnight stays). Out of the total number of overnight stays, most of them were realized in household facilities (13 million overnight stays), camps (6.2 million overnight stays) and hotels (5 million overnight stays), while more than 720 thousand overnight stays (+13 percent) were realized in nautical charter.At the annual level, 85 million realized overnight staysLooking at the period from January to August, foreign tourists made 13.3 million arrivals (+14 percent) and 75.3 million overnight stays (+13 percent), while domestic tourists also recorded increases of 9 percent in arrivals and 13 percent in overnight stays. In the period from January to August, most overnight stays were realized in Istria (23.4 million overnight stays), Kvarner (15.8 million overnight stays) and Split-Dalmatia County (15.7 million overnight stays). They are followed by Zadar County with 11.6 million overnight stays, Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 6.7 million overnight stays, Šibenik-Knin County with 6 million overnight stays, Lika-Senj County with 2.8 million overnight stays and Zagreb with 1.5 million overnight stays. 1.4 million overnight stays were realized on the continent (+18 percent), and the highest number of overnight stays was realized in Karlovac County (470 thousand overnight stays), Krapina-Zagorje County (221 thousand overnight stays) and Osijek-Baranja County (118 thousand overnight stays).During the first eight months, most overnight stays were realized by tourists from Germany (16.6 million overnight stays), Slovenia (8.9 million overnight stays), Austria (6.2 million overnight stays), Poland (5.6 million overnight stays) and Italy (4.7 million overnight stays). overnight stays are Rovinj, Dubrovnik, Poreč, Medulin, Umag, Split, Mali Lošinj, Crikvenica, Pula and Novalja. Out of the total number of overnight stays, most of them were realized in household facilities (10 million overnight stays), hotels (31 million overnight stays) and camps (19 million overnight stays), while 16.3 million overnight stays (+2.4 percent) were realized in nautical charter.Attachment: RESULTS OF TOURIST TRAFFIC IN THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS
The first group of eco-tourism experts will arrive in Croatia this Saturday to try out the future eco-tourism package of the Lastovo Nature Park. This is the first of seven pilot tests to be held this autumn in protected areas in six Mediterranean countries covered by the DestiMED project, which is being implemented in Croatia by WWF Adria and funded by the EU Interreg Mediterranean Program.The project brings together a network of 13 protected areas that, in collaboration with local communities living in or around these areas, jointly develop eco-standards, eco-tourism offerings and tools to monitor its success. The promotion of people’s lives in accordance with nature and positive traditions is what this project will seek to achieve our protected areas Lastovo Islands Nature Park and Kornati National Park, which will later this year test its program “Adventure of sailing on the Kornati”.The experts will stay on Lastovo for six days, trying out the “Lastovo – positively wild” package. He will spend time with nature conservationists and the local community, housed in a farm, making souvenirs, talking to the last builder of wooden boats and enjoying under the most starry skies with a taste of local specialties. After researching all the spells of the island, he will give his assessment of the quality and sustainability of the package and suggest improvements. The package was designed for the needs of the established project Local cluster in ecotourism with the help of WWF Adria. Experts will also help collect data for an innovative approach to measuring and reducing the impact of tourism on natural resources maintained by protected area communities. This new tool is based on the environmental footprint, and as part of the DestiMED project, it was developed by the IUCN in collaboration with the globally recognized environmental footprint research organization Global Footprint Network.DestiMED is based on the success of the MEET (Mediterranean Ecotourism Experience) network, a non-profit destination management organization, aimed at further developing and promoting a high-quality portfolio of ecotourism experiences in the region’s protected areas. Seven pilot areas to be tested this fall, along with our Kornati and Lastovo, include: Colline Metallifere Mining Park and Torre del Cerrano Marine Park in Italy, Menorca and Terres De L´Ebre Biosphere Reserves in Spain, and Greece’s Samaria National Park.Only with strategic development and sustainable development can we develop quality and long-term tourism.
The first conference on year-round tourism was held in the packed hall of the Sheraton Hotel. Can Croatian Tourism 365 ?. Along with numerous foreign and domestic experts, the topic of year-round tourism in Croatia and all the challenges that tourism faces, especially after the increase in the number of arrivals and guests. Croatian tourism must be better!High seasonality of tourism and reaching infrastructural and other maximums in the summer months and low tourist representation in the continental part of Croatia is a realistic picture of Croatian tourism, which worries us. The main topics of the conference discussed were, above all, how to extend the season and how to start continental Croatia.The conference was opened by Robert Pende, Deputy Minister of Tourism, who said that Croatia has a relatively good infrastructure, but that the capacities are not used well enough. It is necessary to show inventiveness and prudence. Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economy of Slovenia, pointed out several important facts that have led Slovenia to the recognizability of the destination and gave recommendations for the development of tourism: “The challenge that many destinations face today is over-tourism. Low prices are part of the problem, and destinations are becoming more accessible. Tourism is the largest industry in expansion, but we do not act responsibly towards people or the environment. Clear support is needed at the state level, and without a shared vision it does not work. In tourism, it is important every day of the year! “.The conference was concluded by the conference organizer, Ms. Ivana Kolar, who pointed out: ” At the end of this conference, it became clear that we do not lack desire, but that initiative and activity are needed. Only if we work actively can change happen. The overall efficiency of our work must be higher. At the state level, it is necessary to create a strategy for year-round tourism and stronger promotion, and to include continental Croatia in the whole story of tourism. Incentives for new projects, education of the population, provision of favorable financial resources from EU funds, easing of obstacles and provision of necessary infrastructure would also be welcome.. “Croatia can develop tourism 365 using models from other successful countries such as Austria, Slovenia and Hungary. But all this is part of a long-term process that can be realized overnight, nor is it the task of the state alone. This is the task of all of us who are still insufficiently connected, we still divide Croatia into continental and sea, we divide it by counties and individual places. “The point of this conference is to connect and collaborate and think outside the local community. Croatia must be one destination. We have 2 tasks ahead of us – to extend the season where we are good and to develop an attractive year-round offer on the continent where possible. Let’s connect our goals, our activities, our products and experiences and finally – our common results.- pointed out Kolar.