Without Tourists, What Use is Croatian Sojourn Tax Payment Delay?

Lauren Simmonds

Many are asking just what a measure allowing for a delay in payment of Croatian sojourn tax is supposed to result in, considering the fact that there are no tourists to pay it owing to the coronavirus outbreak.

As Dora Koretic/Novac writes on the 19th of March, 2020, for days, the entire tourism sector had been anxiously waiting for the government to finally present measures to help the vulnerable businesses (which can be read here), but when they finally arrived on Tuesday night, the real sector was once again convinced of how poor the state apparatus’ grasp of the domestic economy really is.

The first targets were the measures proposed by the Ministry of Tourism, which, to the surprise of many tourism professionals, decided to help the sector by delaying the payment of Croatian sojourn tax and various tourism membership fees for businesses and renters, limiting working hours, delaying the payment of land concession fees, and some other things.

”What’s the point of delaying the payment of Croatian sojourn tax? If there are no guests, then there’s no fee to be paid anyway, so it isn’t clear what they wanted to achieve with this measure. The whole of Croatia is laughing at this, we expected that our ministry would take this situation seriously and put some measures in place that would help the sector when it’s on its knees,” stated a tourism expert was angry who wanted to remain anonymous.

What most disappointed the entire tourism and hospitality sector was the fact that the measures that offered the most hope for businessmen – those regarding job preservation – weren’t sufficiently elaborated on after Wednesday’s presentation to make businessmen understand their criteria and the options available to them, not to mention the fact that they will obviously still have to wait around.

”Tourism employers need a measure of support for job preservation right away, and it’s obvious that we’ll have to wait for the end of the week to see any elaboration on this measure. Many other European countries, such as Denmark, have immediately come up with concrete measures to help preserve their workforce, and it’s equally important that this be a priority for the Croatian Government.

It’s absolutely essential for them to respond immediately and to assist companies that need to decide how to regulate employment in these circumstances straight away, because they employ workers and have no income to finance their salaries. It’s especially important to take into account the specificity of tourism when defining the criteria for the implementation of this measure,” said the director of the Association of Hospitality and Tourism at HUP, Natali Komen Bujas.

Examples that the state could follow from across the European continent were numerous: Austria has prepared 20 billion euros for part-time work, the German Government has announced that it will cover up to 60 percent of net wages in part-time work, the Netherlands also extended the short-term rules of employment, and the United Kingdom has announced the possibility of a refund to small and medium-sized companies/enterprises and employers.

Although the Croatian Tourism Association said that they welcomed in principle all measures that are aimed at maintaining the liquidity of the country’s companies, its president, Veljko Ostojic, said that the sector needs these measures to be put into function immediately.

”They must come into force immediately, they need to be clear and concrete, and now after they’ve finally been presented, it’s clear that it will take everyone a week to understand them and to know the criteria of who can use them and just how they can be used,” warned Ostojic.

One of the controversial points in the package of measures is the many delays that are foreseen, which is causing some skepticism in the sector. The issue of the payment delays for Croatian sojourn tax is just one confusing and seemingly senseless measure.

”We’re taking these measures about delays solely as temporary measures, because it’s quite clear that the sector will fall to its knees and that some concrete money will need to be injected into it. We need concrete measures, we want explanations of how they can be used and by who. I expected that we’d know all this by today, and now it turns out that concrete moves are still yet to be done,” said Ostojic.

Make sure to follow our dedicated section for rolling information in English about coronavirus in Croatia.


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