Croatian tourism is on track for a record-breaking year, with an eight percent increase in visitors since January, the tourism minister said Wednesday.

"If we talk about numbers of visits and overnight stays, this is certainly the most successful year in Croatia's tourism," a key segment of the Adriatic country's recession-hit economy, Tourism Minister Damir Bajs told national TV.

During the January-July period 6.2 million tourists visited Croatia, ministry figures showed, an eight percent increase on the same period in 2010, or an extra 450,000 tourists.

In July alone, some three million tourists were recorded in Croatia, 4.8 percent more than the same month last year.

Tourists accounted for 19.8 million overnight stays, a 3-percent increase compared with the same period in 2010.

Last year 10.6 million tourists visited Croatia, mainly enjoying the Adriatic coast in July and August, while tourism-generated income stood at 6.24 billion euros ($8.9 billion).

The tourism industry makes up around 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

After a continuous rise in tourist numbers since the end of the 1991-1995 war, Croatia registered a fall of 2.5 percent in 2009 when the country fought a recession.

Despite improvements last year, it has since then only seen quarterly growth once - 0.3 percent in the third quarter of 2010.

The former Yugoslav republic is set to join the European Union in mid-2013.

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