Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Croatia Still Lacking Five to Ten Thousand Tourist Workers

August 9, 2022 - 1.2 million jobs in tourism are vacant in Europe, while in Croatia the number is surprisingly high, and there is a demand for between five and ten thousand tourist workers.

This tourist season, 1.2 million jobs in hospitality and tourism in the European Union remained unfilled, with travel agencies being the most affected, followed by the aviation industry and the accommodation sector, and Italy has the biggest problem with a lack of workers.

Croatia has somehow prepared and adapted for this season when it comes to large employers, and the most problems throughout the season are micro-entrepreneurs who do not have the capacity or means for systematic staffing. The entire sector is asking the Government for concrete solutions that would speed up all processes for next year.

Analysis by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) showed that in 2020 the travel and tourism sector across the EU suffered the loss of almost 1.7 million jobs, only to see 571,000 jobs regained last year when governments began easing travel restrictions.

This year, tourist traffic in Europe is almost reaching pre-pandemic levels, which means that Europe is above the global average, but this good trend is significantly threatened by the lack of manpower, warns the Council.

They predict that travel agencies will be the hardest hit this season with a 30% shortage of workers (almost one out of three vacancies unfilled), while the air traffic and accommodation segment will have one out of five unfilled jobs.

WTTC collected labour force data for Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, and the UK. Their data show that Italy is the most affected of all the analyzed European countries because this season there is a shortage of 250,000 workers, leaving one out of six vacancies unfilled.

Croatia imported thousands of tourism workers by June

The tourism sector in Italy employed almost 1.4 million people before the pandemic in 2019, but in 2020 more than 200,000 jobs were lost. WTTC's analysis shows that the accommodation and travel agencies segment will be the worst affected, facing more than one-third (38%) and almost half (42%) of unfilled jobs, respectively.

This is followed by Spanish tourism, which this season lacks 137,000 workers, which means that one out of 8 vacancies will remain unfilled, with the aviation sector having the most problems, followed by hotels.

In French tourism this season, 70,000 jobs remained unfilled, i.e. one out of 19 vacancies. Before the pandemic, more than 1.3 million people were employed in the sector, and in 2020, almost 175,000 of them lost their jobs. In France, the aviation industry has the most problems, not being able to fill one out of three jobs, which thousands of passengers feel on their skin every day.

Brexit is costing the UK

Portugal has the smallest problem, lacking 49,000 workers in the third quarter, that is, one out of 10 vacancies remaining unfilled. Before the pandemic, more than 485,000 people were employed in tourism in Portugal, and in 2020, more than 80,000 jobs were lost.

In the United Kingdom, Brexit has dramatically accentuated the problem which all countries are facing, and the Government is not using the flexibility of the visa system to attract workers, warned Julia Simpson, executive director of the WTTC.

“Travel and tourism contributed almost £235 billion to the UK economy and employed almost two million people, and now they are at risk of losing a large number of travellers to other countries due to a lack of workers”, says Simpson. The UK has a shortage of 128,000 workers, that is, one out of 14 jobs is vacant. The aviation industry suffers there, too.

The WTTC and the European Travel Commission (ETC) have therefore identified six measures that governments and the private sector can implement to tackle this urgent problem

In the first place, they propose facilitating labour mobility within countries and across borders and strengthening cooperation at all levels, including issuing visas and work permits. Another measure is to enable flexible telecommuting, particularly if travel restrictions continue to prevent workers from moving freely across borders.

The next measure is to ensure decent working conditions, along with social security and providing opportunities for career advancement, to strengthen the attractiveness of the sector and retain new talents. The next measure is investing in the training and education of employees so that the workforce acquires new skills.

The promotion of education and practice with effective policies and public-private cooperation that supports educational programs and practice-based training is also sought. The last measure is the adoption of innovative technological and digital solutions to improve business.

By the end of June, Croatia had imported around 22,000 workers in tourism, and it is estimated that the sector lacks between 5,000 and 10,000 workers. Micro-entrepreneurs, caterers who only need a few workers each have the most problems but do not have the money and capacity to engage in finding workers, like the big ones.

Half of the seasonal workers return

“To relieve the administration and speed up the issuance of work permits, the idea is to maximally simplify the procedure for obtaining a work permit for foreign workers who are now working in Croatia, if they remain with the same employer.

Since about 50% of seasonal workers return, this would be a significant step forward, which would relieve the Ministry of Interior, and it is also important to know the estimate that about 30% of foreign workers give up engagement in Croatia precisely because of slow procedures.

At the same time, it is important that, if such a practice is introduced, it is communicated to the workers now, so that people have security for next year”, says the director of the Croatian Tourism Association Veljko Ostojić.

For more, make sure to check out our Business section.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

State Secretary: Epidemiological Situation Can Affect Preparations for Tourist Season

ZAGREB, 4 Nov 2021 - This year, Croatia's tourist industry has achieved excellent results, however, the fact that Croatia is currently red on the ECDC map could adversely affect preparations for the next season, Tourism Ministry State Secretary Tonči Glavina told the parliament on Thursday.

"This year's tourist turnover has reached about 75% of the turnover in the record-high year 2019. We are preparing for the next tourist season, however, the fact that we are red on the ECDC epidemiological map causes concern," Glavina said during a discussion on amending legislation regulating the hospitality industry.

He explained that preparations and bookings for organized tourism are made in winter and that therefore all should do their best to improve Croatia's epidemiological situation.

Concerning the draft amendments, he said that they would extend the validity of temporary permits for the legalization of properties and premises for hospitality businesses until 31 December 2024.

 For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

We Have Struck a Balance Between Health, Financial Security, PM Tells CNN

ZAGREB, 12 June, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in an interview with CNN on Friday that during the coronavirus crisis Croatia had combined public health protection measures and measures designed to help the business sector and financial system well, and that in that sense it had been successful. 

We have struck a balance between health and economic, that is, financial security, Plenković said in a programme called Quest Means Business.

Asked if in preparing for the tourist season Croatia had possibly relaxed epidemiological measures too much, given that tourism accounts for a significant portion of its economy and its experience from 2020, when tourism results were significantly lower than in 2019, Plenković said that Croatia had a stable economic growth before the coronavirus crisis, with a drop in the share of public debt in GDP and budget deficit.

We have supported workers and employers during the pandemic, spending more than HRK 10 billion for aid schemes intended for some 700,000 workers and that has been crucial, he said.

In the current stable political situation, the economy is crucial, he said, adding that Croatia's prospects of recovery were good because in the next seven years it could count on a total of €25 billion from European funds.

As for tourism, he said that it accounted for around one-fifth of GDP and that this year Croatia wanted to achieve results that were better than last year's.

"If we achieve 60-70% of the 2019 results, it will be very good," he said, adding that that was why extensive preparations, epidemiological and those related to security, had been undertaken in cooperation with airports, airlines, restaurants and others.

"Safe stay in Croatia is our main motto this summer," he said.

In response to the interviewer's remark that there have been a lot of objections in Europe about vaccination against COVID-19 being poorly coordinated and asked if he was satisfied with how the opening-up after lockdown and recovery were being coordinated, he said that he was absolutely satisfied with the coordination of recovery efforts, mentioning in that context the €750 billion secured by the EU for its member-states for that purpose.

He also noted that the coordination of the vaccination process in Europe was "very good, with a lot of solidarity" and that there was a sufficient quantity of vaccines.

As for the interviewer's remark that that was not so and that coordination was terrible and a fiasco, Plenković said that that was not true and that at first there had been delays in the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine but that nobody could have known that the company would be late with it.

Vaccination in Croatia now is running smoothly and anyone who wants to get vaccinated can do so, he said.

For more on politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Thursday, 22 April 2021

Rural Tourism in Croatia: Another Ace For the Season

April 22, 2021 - While this year's season is still leaving the country in suspense, another advantage for successful results can be seen in the development of rural tourism in Croatia.

Numerous experts and scientists participated earlier this month in an online panel „Quality and Sustainability in Rural Tourism“, reports Klubselo.hr, an official website of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development. This is just one part of the Quality and Sustainability in Rural Tourism project backed by the Ministry of Tourism. The project concluded on April 15, and it saw panels, education, and a concluded study of management in rural tourism to help the development of the field.  

It's established that introducing quality standards and a special law on rural tourism is needed. 

„The Croatian wine scene has strongly developed. We can't compete with quantity, but we can with quality and richness of wine sorts, particularly native sorts which the world craves for more and more“, said faculty professor in Zagreb, Edi Maletić, for Klubselo.hr Agronomy.

Quality over quantity can, of course, be applied to rural tourism in general. That particular field saw raised interest with the novel coronavirus pandemic as tourists are now more interested in loneliness, peace, and authenticity.

Božo Skoko, an expert on PR and marketing and a professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, says that traveling limitations encourage exploration of rural areas and consumption of local products. 

„Crisis is an opportunity for further touristic development. New norms and behavior rules appeared. We have more free time for family, contemplating, hobbies, meditation… social responsibility and ecological consciousness arise, and these factors have a more and more significant role in choosing destinations“, said Skoko to Klubselo.hr.

Dijana Katica, president of the Croatian Association for Tourism and Rural Development, says that there is a lot to learn from Italy, France, and Austria who have a long tradition of rural tourism.  

„Big attention is given to quality standards that aim at the diverse offer, specialization of services and to guarantee quality to users which are measured by elaborated standards“, describes Katica of the practice of the three mentioned countries. 

vacation_house_Slavonka_-c-Hrvatska_udruga_za_turizam_i_ruralni_razvoj_Klub_članova_Selo.jpg

Vacation House "Slavonka" © Hrvatska udruga za turizam i ruralni razvoj "Klub članova Selo"

Hard work for season preparation already done

Croatia is trying to secure the uncertain season of 2021. While destinations as Vir seems to hold quite good, the overall strategy of vaccination and testing points by the Croatian Tourist Board is seen as a good way to make people safe while visiting Croatia. Apart from that, as TCN already reported, a lot is investing in health tourism, nautical tourism sees the digitalization of its system for easier arrival, and local initiatives in Novalja are also committed to expanding its offer further from party tourism of Zrće beach.

No doubt that further development of rural tourism can only be a hidden ace for the 2021 season rescue. And the still relevant Touch of Baranja photo exhibition in Zagreb is the first step of a specific action. 

As Croatian wine is one of the more developed parts of the rural offer, learn more about Croatia's wine on our TC page

For more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Half of Last Year's Overnight Stays in Croatia Recorded in First 2 Months of 2021

March 2, 2021 – Half of last year's overnight stays in Croatia were recorded in the first two months of this year, and most of the guests were domestic tourists.

As Hina finds out from the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNTB), in the first two months of 2021, there were slightly more than 205,000 tourists and 678,000 overnight stays in Croatia, which is about 50 percent from the same period in 2020. Most overnight stays were realized by the domestic tourists, who make up about 85 percent of last year's result.

About 30 percent of foreign tourists compared to 2020

January and February 2020 were the only months that year in which there was no (significant) impact of the pandemic on tourist traffic. Therefore, a better tourist result was achieved than in the same months of record 2019, so the results for the first two months of this year were good, especially since catering, sports, and recreational facilities were mostly closed, except for accommodation.

Travel restrictions and coronavirus measures in foreign countries have affected that the number of foreign tourists and overnight stays in Croatia in the first two months of this year, as well as at the end of last year, was less than that of domestic tourists. With a little more than 250,000 realized overnight stays, there were about 30 percent foreign tourists compared to last year.

Most overnight stays in the first two months of this year were realized in hotels (275,000), then in household facilities (234,000), and camps (24,000).

By counties, most overnight stays – about half of the total, were realized in three regions/counties – in Istria (135,000), in Kvarner (116,000), and the Split-Dalmatia County (75,000). Among foreigners, most overnight stays were realized by tourists from BiH, Slovenia, Germany, and Italy.

The destinations with the most overnight stays were Zagreb, Rovinj, Split, Zadar, and Opatija.

Domestic tourists travel around the country for weekends

Data from the eVisitor system show that in the first two months, domestic tourists realized more overnight stays during the weekend compared to the days of the week. Most of them (by days) were in Croatian destinations on Valentine's weekend, on 13 February. Out of the total of 20,000 tourists in the country on that day, there were 17,000 domestic tourists, which is the most in one day in the first two months.

During January and February this year, locals spent most nights in Zagreb, Rovinj, Opatija, Zadar, Tuhelj, Split, Poreč, and Plitvice Lakes.

More traffic possible only around Pentecost

"Although we are in a period of the year when realizing international tourist traffic is still difficult, the results achieved so far, and announcements from the market still give some optimism. We do not expect a large influx of guests during March and April. However, we expect some tourist traffic from domestic and nearest markets such as Slovenia, Italy or Austria, whose citizens, among other things, own real estate and vessels in Croatia," said CNTB director Kristjan Staničić. This year, Easter and the spring school holidays in Croatia are at the beginning of April.

From other markets, they expect a significant increase in tourist traffic in the main summer months. Also, they expect known and uniform protocols for international tourist travel by then.

Staničić also says that tourist facilities in Croatia will be ready to receive guests for the Easter holidays. However, tourist flows during these holidays and throughout April will still depend primarily on the epidemiological situation and current travel restrictions.

They expect a slightly higher intensity of tourist traffic for the holiday of Pentecost, which this year comes in the second half of May. Staničić also emphasizes that all relevant research shows that the whole of 2021 will be marked by last-minute bookings and that it is challenging to make long-term and accurate predictions.

"Safe stay in Croatia" campaigns for digital nomads as well

In these circumstances, it is important to remain visible in the market and communicate safety, adequate destination preparation, and epidemiological measures. That is why the "Stay safe in Croatia" campaign is underway in ten key markets – Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, France, and the Netherlands.

To position Croatia as an attractive destination for digital nomads, the CNTB will soon launch a separate promotional campaign in the markets of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and Ireland. After that, they will launch the main ones, the so-called call campaigns, depending on each market's epidemiological situation.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Adhering To Health Measures Could Secure 2 More Months Of Tourism Turnover

ZAGREB, Aug 26, 2020- There are now some 500,000 tourists in Croatia and if the epidemiological situation remains stable and everyone complies with recommendations, we can certainly expect another two months of tourism turnover this year, the National Tourist Board (HTZ) director, Kristjan Stanicic, said on Wednesday.

Stanicic met with representatives of Lika-Senj and Karlovac county tourist board representatives at Plitvice Lakes.

Lika-Senj county tourism board director Ivan Radosevic assesses that tourist trade in that county is very good compared to initial forecasts, saying that "August has brought an excellent 67% of last August's results, and year to date we have stood at 54% of last year's levels."

Currently, there are visitors in that county from Germany, Croatia, and Poland and the situation is similar in Karlovac County with the local tourist board's director Dina Begic saying that currently, the county is generating about 30% of last year's turnover.

They both underscored that this year the number of local guests has increased and account for 30% of tourism turnover.

Stanicic recalled measures from May until now which enabled tourism turnover, including a focus on marketing and information campaigns conducted on key European markets where the majority of holidaymakers come from.

Considering everything, Stanicic is exceptionally satisfied with the summer part of the tourism year and with that in August alone when 67% of last year's August turnover was achieved.

He announced a campaign for the shoulder season with emphasis on continental tourism, nautical and gastronomic tourism focusing on the closest markets.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Saturday, 15 June 2019

After Promising Pre-Season, Poreč Ready for Excellent Tourist Season

As Glas Istre/Davor Sisovic writes on the 14th of June, 2019, a good pre-season is a cause for the expectation that the main tourist season in Poreč will be excellent, said Poreč Tourist Board's Nenad Velenik, announcing that next season, in summer 2020, will be prepared for and run more differently than ever before.

As the post-Easter Catholic holidays during which tourists typically come to Istria in a larger number decreased back in May 2018, falling similarly once again this year in June, the results of tourist traffic in most Croatian tourist destinations for the first five months of this year have been worse than they were during the same period last year. Poreč has recorded 130,000 tourist arrivals and half a million overnight stays from January to the end of May, which is 17,000 overnight stays less than were recorded during the first five months of last year.

While this doesn't necessarily sound very promising, this is in fact very good, as a worse outcome was actually expected.

''We expected a worse result given the fact that last year, Poreč enjoyed a record 3.4 million overnight stays. Easter and May the 1st were excellent, and the beginning of June has also been very good, better than it was last year, said the director of the Poreč Tourist Board, Nenad Velenik. The total registered accommodation capacity in Poreč is 32,000 beds, of which 17,000 beds per day are full during the pre-season.

Although half a year ago, warnings about a lack of seasonal workers was being warned of as an acute and serious problem, the Istrian town's numerous tourism companies haven't been complaining about their lack of a workforce in recent weeks. Velenik believes, therefore, that the area's hoteliers were properly prepared for the tourist season and brought in their workforce from other countries on time.

''We're a multicultural environment and everyone who wants to work here is welcome to,'' said Velenik.

On the ''eve'' of 2019's main tourist season, a major public tourist investment was completed in Poreč: Materada beach was renovated and restored to its full glory, a project worth 5.7 million kuna, out of which 1.5 million kuna was settled by the town's local tourist board.

There are plans for several more investments in Poreč's overall tourist infrastructure, which will not be completed this season, because no major works can be completed during the main season. By the end of this year, the plans to have an adrenaline bike park in Poreč's bathing area worth 750,000 kuna, in the future the plan is to build an outdoor playground for children, also located in the same area with a price tag of 300,000 kuna, and the Poreč façade will continue to be renovated this year, with an investment of 250,000 kuna, which also contributes positively to the public image of Poreč as a tourist destination.

In addition to all of the above, 5.2 million kuna has been allocated for various manifestations due to take place in Poreč.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel page for much more.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Croatia's Renters not Registered on eVisitor System Could Face Issues

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 24th of May, 2019, Croatia's private accommodation renters who advertise their premises on platforms such as Booking.com and Airbnb should make sure they are properly registered on the eVisitor system in order to avoid potentially serious consequences. A visit from an inspector could occur at any time.

Along with the beginning of the summer tourist season, the strengthening of the supervision of the properties rented out privately to tourists from landlords and owners, as well as other types of hospitality facilities, is on the cards. State inspectors will be out in full force this season, and they will, among carrying out numerous other tasks, "comb" through potential unregistered listings and punish Croatia's many illegal renters.

This ''action'' will be assisted by the central eVisitor information system that applies to all categorised facilities, and uncategorised apartments and houses will also be searched out on booking and reservation platforms such as Booking.com and Airbnb, as has been confirmed by the state inspectorate.

There are numerous types of categorisation in place for private accommodation, and each and every facility that rents its space to tourists must be correctly registered on Croatia's eVisitor system in order for those guests to be registered with the police and/or tourist office upon their arrival (although this is something many choose not to adhere to, and which, in all honesty, isn't enforced well), and more importantly, for the host to be able to pay the correct taxes. In addition, a tax number must be highlighted for such tourist services carried out within the European Union.

A total of 136 jobs have been systemised ready for these types of inspection during the tourist season, and, together with the employees of the Customs Administration of the Croatian Ministry of Finance, a total of 97 jobs for tourist inspectors to carry out the work have now been filled.

At the moment, 52 inspectors are working to cover Croatia's coast, where the majority of illegal renting takes place, through offices in Rijeka and Split, as well as sixteen other associated offices. In addition to that, during the very height of the tourist season, inspectors from Croatia's continental counties will also be there to help out their coastal colleages. They all have access to the eVisitor system, which will help them to detect illegal renters.

The mechanism for locating Croatia's illegal renters is very simple, if the accommodation advertised on online platforms such as those listed above is not registered on eVisitor, this acts as a sign to inspectors that they can take the appropriate action. It has since been found out from private renters that nobody is asking for categorisation certification on those platforms anymore.

Booking.com and Expedia were asking for categorisation certification until the powerful Airbnb entered the Croatian market just a few years ago. Anamarija Cicarelli, head of the Split family accommodation advice centre, says most rental platforms have lost their legitimacy because they simply go off trusting the advertiser without any actual evidence.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik

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