Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Tomislav Fain: Private Renters Not Registering Around 40% of Tourists

August the 3rd, 2022 - Tomislav Fain, the president of the Croatian Association of Travel Agencies, has claimed that private accommodation renters/landlords renting out their properties to tourists during the summer season aren't bothering to register as many as 40 percent of their guests via the eVisitor system at all.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the problem being currently faced by the wider area of Zadar County is illegal accommodation renters and illegal work/earning in this sector. The president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies, Tomislav Fain, has recently stated that up to forty percent of guests are staying in the country undeclared, pointing out that it is necessary to strengthen inspection supervision to curb this trend.

Tomislav Fain told HRT that a large number of landlords who have a categorisation on their properties for renting them out to foreign visitors during the summer for some quick and easy cash, do not register their guests via the eVisitor system or even attempt to do it in the ''old way'' with MUP.

"It's very simple, we have a certain number of capacities in a particular place, and when we look at the application that goes through eVisitor, we arrive to some very simple data, that forty percent of guests are simply not being registered at all.

We also need to be aware of the fact that in addition to those renters that aren't registering their guests, but have a categorisation, we also have a certain number of accommodation facilities which don't have a categorisation, and yet they still continue to receive guests and still advertise their apartments for rent on platforms,'' he said.

Tomislav Fain emphasised the fact that this figure is even higher, and creates various problems, from communal ones to the development of a specific destination. Therefore, incorrect data is obtained, and the preparation of upcoming tourist seasons cannot be carried out with quality or accuracy in mind.

''Some individuals who don't register guests don't bother issuing an invoice for the guest either, so they're not in the VAT system, and therefore they're paying less to the state. Some individuals are careless, they simply forget to register their guests and don't do it with any underhand motives in mind. They should be appealed to, to not be so careless,'' he said.

For those who deliberately avoid their obligations, inspection supervision should be strengthened and the proper punishments should be doled out, Fain believes.

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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Record Summer Season is Possible, But It's Too Early to Be Certain

February 15, 2022 - It is reasonable to believe in a possible record summer season in 2022 due to the number of reservations. However, low vaccination rates, rising energy prices, and other factors may still interfere, warns Tomislav Fain, head of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

All EU countries are still on the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in dark red, but most of them with higher vaccination rates are expected to drop more over time than expected in Croatia. Our tourism workers hope that despite low vaccination, rising energy prices and other things, all previous efforts to invest in the season will not "melt", but due to many open questions they do not dare to predict whether we'll have a good start to this season, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

Booking is better than for 2019, but there is no guarantee that part of these reservations will not be canceled.

''From the current perspective, the view of this year's tourist season seems quite optimistic, especially when it comes to peak season, July and August. Demand is high, reservations are constantly arriving, but we must be very careful because they are all made with the possibility of cancellation and no advance payment'', says Tomislav Fain, owner of the Zadar travel agency "Terra Travel" and president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

He reminds that the situation with COVID has greatly changed the previous way of doing business and everyone must be flexible, so reservations are accepted without payment.

''We had to adapt to this pandemic. We don’t know what could happen tomorrow, whether there will be an increase in contagion and some new measures again and we had to allow people to cancel their reservations. So we still have to be careful with optimistic announcements, but I say that if everything remains as it is now, there could be a record summer season'', Fain says.

The pre-season is filling up a bit less but he emphasizes that it is a good signal that most airlines left their flights at the beginning of April, which is an indicator that their seats are filling up.

''Our guests are accustomed to having enough capacity and there will probably be a lot of "last minute" reservations'', said the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies.

Vaccination is holding us back

Along with COVID, the rattling of weapons on the border between Russia and Ukraine is not in favor of more frequent trips.

''At the moment, we do not know how the situation will unfold there by the summer or how and how much it can affect the arrivals. We, like everyone else, follow what is happening there'', Fain points out.

The interest of the population in vaccination in Croatia is miserable; those who wanted to get vaccinated did so a long time ago, and in the persuasion of those who do not want to do so, the announcement of the ECDC, which will include the parameters of vaccination of the population in the map of European countries, does not help.

''In terms of vaccination, we are the worst of all countries that are our strongest tourist competition. These are "landmines" that can reduce the possibility of a record summer season because even if we do not have a lot of infected people, data on poor vaccination can significantly affect the arrival of guests. If we stay in the red because of that, we will close the door to some markets for ourselves. It is enough for Germany to mark us as undesirable, and here we are in trouble'', concluded Fain.

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Friday, 26 February 2021

Association of Croatian Travel Agencies Urges Croatian Government for Help

February 26, 2021 – The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has brought travel agencies to the brink of collapse. The Association of Croatian Travel Agencies has asked the Croatian Government to make an urgent decision on extending measures to preserve their jobs and reimburse fixed costs.

With the entire tourism sector struggling with unprecedented losses for nearly a year, travel agencies are among the biggest losers in this crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Cancellations of travel and various events and restrictions on people's movement due to special epidemiological measures have left a significant mark on the travel agencies' business.

Tomislav Fain, the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA), has previously sent numerous requests to the Government to help and support travel agencies. They recently even asked the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters to close them formally so they can withdraw much-needed financial resources for survival. However, unsuccessfully. This time, like all the times before, their demand has only one goal: the survival of travel agencies.

"Countless times we have been called upon to understand the situation and with uncertainty found out at the last minute whether we will be able to keep employees for the next month or two or we will have to thank them for their cooperation. As our understanding did not lead to a boomerang effect and came back to us in the same way, we were put in a situation where the survival of most travel agencies in the Republic of Croatia is extremely endangered," Fain points out in the UHPA statement.

According to the Tax Administration and the Central Bureau of Statistics data, the average decline in the travel agencies' activity in 2020 was continuously above 85 percent. These truly devastating results carry even more weight if we take into account the fact that these are mostly small and medium-sized family businesses that, to ensure the liquidity of the business, among other things, sold their own assets.

"In a country that depends so much on tourism, it is unacceptable that on the threshold of the tourist season on which we have high expectations, the tourism industry survives day by day and hopes for a miracle. As if this is not more than enough, the situation is further aggravated by the lack of understanding of service providers, especially public institutions, which, despite the recommendations of relevant ministries, increase their services' prices at the last minute.

It is high time that all relevant stakeholders understand the seriousness of the situation and provide us with the key prerequisites so that we can dedicate ourselves to what we know best – creating tourist products for a memorable holiday. Otherwise, all promotional campaigns and slogans will go to waste because we will not protect the most important thing – a man – who, as we like to be proud of, is the key to success in tourism," concludes Fain.

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