Island News

A Simple Question for People Who Say We Should Stop Criticising the Jelsa Tourist Board

By paul 10 July 2015

When a foreigner dares to criticise a local in a small community in Dalmatia, the results are interesting...

It is almost two months since I wrote a blog about 2014 bus timetables, out-of-date opening times and a blank events page from the Jelsa Tourist Board. An hour later, and without my knowledge that it was about to happen, the story was on the front page of Croatia's leading portal. It ended up being the third most read story of the day in all Croatia.

The bus and ferry timetables changed the next day, as did the opening times.

I have travelled a lot around Croatia since, and it seems that the story is remembered and talked about. There was nothing personal - then or since - about my writing on the incompetent performance of the Jelsa Tourist Board director, and I had hoped that, after the mayor arranged a meeting with the tourist board director, things would improve.

Sadly not.

The reaction in Jelsa to our mini-campaign to get a well-paid official to do his job has been interesting indeed. Several public messages of support, MANY private ones (but please understand that we cannot be seen to support you, as this is a small community, but bravo - please carry on), and inevitably - and sadly - people I have known for years who now turn the other way when I walk down the street. I have yet to meet anyone who actually disagrees with me on the points raised, but an attack on a local official is an attack on a local. 

'Attack' is the wrong word, I am simply highlighting the fact that the director is not doing his job and should resign. 

I have a simple question for the people of Jelsa who do not agree with me.

Today is July 10, 2015, and the director, with a reported salary of 8,900 kuna a month, is now more than 100,000 kuna richer since taking the job a year ago. Jelsa tourism was down 20% again last month, after only 33 arrivals a day for Jelsa, Ivan Dolac, Zavala etc. in May. Tourist information for the highest profile event - the Klapa festival - was once again only released in Croatian, and STILL the events page in English on the official website is a bright shade of telepathy white, despite all the media attention. The tourist board pays hundreds of kuna a month in 'maintainence' for the website. Uploading an event brochure takes two minutes (and the Jelsa Tourist Board managed to do it in Croatian), but even if there is no technical know-how in house, is it really so hard to ask the website 'maintainance' team to do it for you? Maximum cost would be 50 kuna, at least from my webmaster?

So here is my question for those who do not agree with me:

After 1 year in office and a reported salary of more than 100,000 kuna, this is the current English-language page for events in English from the Jelsa Tourist Board.

Do you think this is an effective marketing of Jelsa as a tourist destination after a year in the job, and if yes, why? And if you do not agree, at what point should a director of a tourist board become accountable and/or do the honourable thing and resign?