Istraturist’s Main Man Highlights Croatia’s Biggest Tourism ”Curse”

Lauren Simmonds

The curse of Croatia’s tourism could see it see much weaker seasons, much sooner than expected…

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of November, 2017, Istraturist’s main man, Ronald Korotaj, spoke about various issues that the Croatian tourism sector faces.

VAT of up to 25% on catering services is a tough topic for tourism, did you expect the Deputy PM to give such a decisive ”no” to any possibility of lowering it?

Why do you think Spain and Italy have 10% VAT? It certainly isn’t by chance. I’m convinced that the benefit of raising VAT for the budget will be much smaller than the projections would have us think. We know that many people devised new ways to avoid so much tax. We can’t be satisfied with the situation. And not only because our problems remain unsolved, but because we don’t use the opportunities that our tourism can provide to the economy. The benefits can be [have the possibility to be] much more/better than they are today. Tourism, especially the hotel industry, can be [act as] much stronger leverage for the development of agriculture and other branches…

Do the records come as a sweet curse?

Haha, somehow … Although our biggest curse, seeing as we’re already using that word, is that we have a Ministry of Tourism that has no lever to address key issues. We need it, but the Minister of Tourism should also be Vice Prime Minister because many of the key issues for tourism are solved in other areas.

This year’s record hasn’t blinded you personally…

We didn’t capitalise on investments. If, with big investments, and this year they’ve reportedly reached up to 800 million euros, and the number of overnight stays and tourism revenues have grown at the same pace, it means that these investments were actually cast into the wind. Those who invested into rooms, for which they charged 100 euros last year, may have charged 200 euros this season. But someone at one and the same time sold their capacities under the price [sold themselves short]. Overall, the investments didn’t bring about an increase in revenue.

The government will go to the Christmas period with a package of incentive measures relating to the season, are you optimistic?

I’d like to be, but such a package is needed today. On the other hand, better in time for Christmas than in May… There are a lot of problems, and the golden part of our tourism is already coming to an end.

Analysts talk about ten good seasons as the maximum…

Optimists. In my view, we can count on another two or three such good, stable seasons. Cycles of ups and downs are natural in tourism. You can’t be a discovery and a hit ten years in a row. The competition doesn’t stand, Turkey is already returning [to what it was]. It isn’t related to EU regulations, it doesn’t matter if there is any incentive or support, the state stands ready and profusely behind tourism in order to keep tourists coming back. And they do come back. Every day, ten new hotels are opened across the world and we have to prepare to be able to deal with weaker seasons more painlessly.


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