Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli took part in a conference on tourism and economic growth organized in Sofia on the occasion of Bulgaria’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which brought together high-level tourism ministers and accompanying delegations from 28 EU member states.At the summit of all EU tourism ministers, Minister Cappelli, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, proposed a unique initiative in the field of European tourism. He presented a proposal for the establishment of a special EU Tourism Fund which would facilitate the use of EU funds to finance investment and sustainable development in tourism, reduce the impact of climate change, education and other areas important for the development of tourism in Europe. He also introduced the idea of founding Working groups for tourism within the EU institutions within which to discuss how to address the many challenges facing the tourism sector.Minister Cappelli pointed out that tourism is one of the fastest growing economic activities in the EU with a great impact on growth, society, development and employment, and that as such it deserves a better position within the institutions of the European Union. “The main goal of the European Union’s tourism policy must be to keep Europe as the world’s leading tourist destination. However, in previous EU documents, tourism is not considered a priority, but a tool for raising the competitiveness of the overall European economy. Tourism does not have its own Working Body within the European Commission and in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 there is no special position or possibility of direct financing of its activities, which we believe should be corrected in the new budget framework. Direct financing of the tourism sector would make it easier to respond to increasing challenges, while at the same time facilitating investments in tourism, which are also in the focus of the European Commission.” Cappelli pointed out.According to the Ministry of Tourism, the initiative presented by Minister Cappelli received the support of a large number of EU members, and was especially supported by the European Commissioner for Tourism. Elzbieta Bienkowska and Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili Cappelli met, and the initiative will soon be presented to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with a view to reaching an agreement on the entry of a special EU tourism fund into the EU budget and the establishment of a Tourism Working Group. . “I hope that together we will be able to fight for tourism to get its Fund within the EU budget for the first time”, Cappelli concluded.