May 22, 2020 – A tale of two realities – what are Greece and Croatia telling the world about restarting tourism? Jebote!
Back in 2014, I wrote an article for a Canadian news portal comparing the progress of two Nikki Beach resorts, one in Greece and one in Croatia. The Greek resort, whose investors purchase the real estate in 2006, were due to open on August 1, 2014. Which they did. Investors for the Croatian resort bought the land in 2007, and at time of writing (July 29, 2014), they still not own the land 100%, some 7 years after purchase. At time of writing today, May 22, 2020, they still do not won the land, some 13 years later. You can read the original article here.
My article became the top news story in Croatia’s leading newspaper, Jutarnji List, the following day. Their two-page feature included a quote from the then Minister of Tourism, Darko Lorencin.
I invite the Croatian media to take a look at the comparison between Greece and Croatia once more, but this time for another topic – the official response to restarting tourism, a key part of the economy for both countries (20% of GDP in Croatia’s case).
Firstly, Go Greece! The news is everywhere (here in The Guardian, for example): Greece has a coherent plan for its tourism restart.
And here is Greece again, on the homepage of the BBC.
Not only a plan, but a really good plan – marvel at the transparency, communication and level of detail in this.
Well done, Greece – may you have a successful salvage of the rest of the season.
So coherent is the Greek message that it made it onto this VERY useful timeframe of international travel reopening.
Of Croatia, there was not a mention. Both countries are in the EU, so must adhere to the same rules.
Meanwhile, over in the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism, I do encourage you to check out the Ministry of Tourism website in English, for it really is a quite sensational read at the moment. Here was the homepage yesterday morning (small background reminder – we are in the middle of the COVID-19 era):
Yes, you read that right. In the middle of a global pandemic, with shares of Zoom going through the roof at a time when people are questioning whether the concept of conference tourism will even exist, the Kings of Accidental Tourism are less concerned with restarting tourism and doing what they can to help those thousands of tourism businesses which depend on tourism, and more concerned with self-congratulation. Click on the article, because it gets better:
“After various world associations held 114 conventions in Croatia in 2018, even more conventions were held in 2019, 123, and Croatia went up four places in the ICCA rankings, to the 34th place globally by the number of conventions held. That is the highest position Croatia has taken to date, which also confirms its status as the leading conference destination in the region,” said HTZ director Kristjan Stancic.
He thinks this is great news for Croatia’s conference tourism, which is on an upward trajectory, as well as for Zagreb, which has taken the 48th place in the ICCA rankings for conference cities, jumping up by 20 places compared to 2018.
I would be really interested to see the official projections for the 2020 ‘upward trajectory’ for conference tourism in the corona era.
And what is the current top story of the day at the Ministry of Tourism, as Greece grabs all the global headlines in the travel industry?
I kid you not.
But this really is great progress.
Croatian Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli, owner of perhaps the finest tourism slogan in a pandemic ever – Croatia Breathes Tourism – has been in the job four years.
And he has certainly been busy preparing for the restart of tourism.
After an article from Croatia’s leading news portal, Index.hr made the headlines 2 weeks ago, within two hours, he had managed to abolish the fax machine from the Ministry of Tourism website altogether.
In the same article, it came to light that according to the Ministry of Tourism, not only was there no COVID-19 information on its website, but there was seemingly no corona information at all.
This is how the homepage looked on May 6, 2020.
I got some hope when a dedicated COVID-19 section appeared, about the same time that the fax machine disappeared.
With no useful travel info.
My hopes were raised once more when the Deputy Minister of Tourism asked me to send questions to create a dedicated info page for the ministry and also to be shared by TCN.
10 days later – no information page, no answer to my questions from the Ministry of Tourism. Thankfully, the Ministry of the Interior was a lot more forthcoming, and you can find some useful info here.
So there you have it. Croatia v Greece – who wants your tourist dollar more?
And if you are planning a large conference, come to the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism. Our conference tourism is on an upward trajectory, baby. Hop on board before you miss out on the ride.
For more on the brilliance within the corridors of power in the Mighty State of Uhljebistan, check out our dedicated section.