Croatian Travel Agency Association Finally Succeeds, State Aid Arriving

March the 4th, 2021 - Croatian travel agencies have been by far the hardest hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as travel for tourism and leisure remains almost impossible. Luckily, but following many appeals, the Croatian Travel Agency Association has finally been heard by the government and state aid is on the way.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian Travel Agency Association (UHPA) has welcomed the recently announced decision of the Croatian Government to include tourist agencies in the measures for state aid/compensation for endangered economic activities. Although better late than never, it is difficult to understand how those representing Croatia´s most lucrative economic branch were not taken care of far earlier.

"I´m going to say just one word - finally. Finally, the requests and appeals we´ve been sending out to the relevant ministry and the Croatian Government for months, warning of the difficult situation in which the tourism industry, and especially travel agencies find themselves find themselves, have borne fruit,¨ said Tomislav Fain, President of the Croatian Travel Agency Association.

According to the data of the Tax Administration and the Central Bureau of Statistics (CES), the average decline in the economic activities undertaken by Croatian travel agencies during 2020 was continuously above 85 percent. These utterly devastating results carry even more weight if we take into account the fact that these are mostly small and medium-sized family businesses that, in order to ensure the liquidity of the business, among other things, were forced to sell off their own assets.

The Croatian Travel Agency Association has therefore persistently sent out proposals for assistance and compensation models to the competent state institutions, following the example of other EU member states, which have adopted measures aimed exclusively at travel agencies and tour operators, aware of the gravity of the problem and the possible consequences of their illiquidity.

"None of us are happy with the helplessness we´ve found ourselves in, nor with the uncertainty from month to month as to whether the subsidies for preserving jobs will be extended, but we can't do this. Instead of planning spring trips across Europe and looking forward to the arrival of the first guests for the Easter holidays, we find ourselves in a situation where state measures are our only means of salvation. As, unfortunately, the end of the pandemic is not yet in sight, we´re faced with the problem of unrealised trips and we´re as such highlighting the need for changes in the legislation and the announced state aid programme, as it is extremely important in order to restore the damaged trust of our customers,¨ added Fain.

"Tourism as we knew it before the pandemic is now a thing of the past. While we´re dealing with our multiple existential problems and fighting for survival, the battle for each guest is well underway. It is high time that we all move from words to deeds and everyone in their segment needs to give their all and we need to justify the title we have given ourselves as the best destination in the Mediterranean,¨ concluded the President of the Croatian Travel Agency Association.

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