Thursday, 18 March 2021

Opposition Slams Liberalisation of Tourist Guide Market

ZAGREB, 18 March, 2021 - The parliamentary opposition on Thursday strongly criticised the opening of the domestic labour market to tourist guides from other EU countries, saying they often did not have the required qualifications nor could they do as good a job as domestic guides.

Marin Miletić (Bridge) said a bill of amendments to the law on tourism services would allow foreign guides to present Croatia without sufficient education. "Such a presentation will be superficial and disorganised, and the tourist experience incomplete."

Hrvoje Zekanović (Sovereignists) said what guides said was important but that the way they spoke about a locality, whether it was with love, a stand and empathy, was much more important.

Katica Glamuzina (Social Democrats) said the bill did not take into accounts the remarks made by tourist guides and professionals, while her party colleague Boška Ban Vlahek said it destroyed the profession of Croatia's 5,500 guides.

Mato Franković of the ruling HDZ said that although he felt that Croatia should align with European regulations, the bill was not fully worked out regarding tourist guides.

"It's not unimportant who will guide groups in protected localities and how, nor is it enough to pass an exam in a couple of months and guide, for example, the sightseeing of Dubrovnik," he said, announcing amendments for stricter educational requirements for foreign guides.

Marijana Balić (HDZ) said it was important to prevent a potential misinterpretation of Croatian history and that special attention should be paid to localities of special respect such as Vukovar.

Only guides who pass Croatian language exam at protected localities

Tourism Ministry state secretary Tonči Glavina said only licenced guides who pass a Croatian language exam would be able to work in Croatia's 550-plus protected localities.

"That course will be available only in Croatia and the exam will be only in Croatian in front of a commission including our tourist guides," he said, defending the bill.

He said that guides coming with a group, from Germany for example, would be able to guide the group only in a general public area, talking about Split or Šibenik in general, for example, while only licenced guides would be allowed to work in protected localities.

The only change the bill brings is that foreign guides will not have to pass a special exam for Croatia's 21 counties but for regions, or another model will be used, Glavina said.

About 70 foreign guides stay in Croatia annually and they do so for two to three weeks, he said.

The law on tourism services is being amended due to two violations of EU law regarding package travel and the regulation of the profession of tourist guide.

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Saturday, 5 September 2020

Bridge MP Announces Parliamentary Debate On Right To Disconnect

ZAGREB, Sept 5, 2020 - Bridge MP Marija Selak Raspudic said on Saturday this opposition party would open debate in parliament on a law on the right to disconnect, which would separate work from private life so that it could be implemented in Croatia work environment.

"Given that amendments to the Labour Act have been announced and more and more citizens work from home, while on the other hand new technologies have made our work flexible and raised the question of how it should be regulated by law, it's necessary to talk about how to separate the public and the private when workers work from home," Selak Raspudic said at a press conference.

She announced that Bridge would be the first in Croatia to open a debate on a law on the right to disconnect.

Croatian laws should not only follow global trends, in which, she said, Croatia is lagging, but also dictate them by being the first to recognize how new technologies are changing working conditions.

Asked about Bridge's position on a protest announced for today under the name Freedom Festival, Selak Raspudic said she would not attend but that she supported any form of civic activism.

Another Bridge MP, Marin Miletic, said he would come to the rally in Zagreb to hear what people had to say.

He said it was absolutely unacceptable to bring into question the right of citizens to gather in public under all legitimate measures and express their dissatisfaction with the national COVID response team.

The team has put itself above parliament and given itself the right to adopt decisions which, according to many constitutional law experts, are very questionable, Miletic said.

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