Could Next Month Mark the End of Croatian Tourism’s Grey Market?

Lauren Simmonds

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Croatian tourism continues to boom throughout the warm summer months, with visitors from across the globe descending not only on some of the country’s most popular coastal destinations like Dubrovnik and Split, but further afield to hidden gems located in the rolling hills of the continental parts of the country, including but not limited to Zagreb, but gradually stretching all the way over to overlooked Eastern Croatia.

The more money a sector generates, the more loopholes can be found. The more complicated an industry becomes, the more clauses can be discovered by those who perhaps don’t intend to use the system, but rather attempt to cheat it. 

From not registering guests staying in your privately owned accommodation facilities, to not registering said facilities with the appropriate authorities and the tax office, all the way to playing taxi and raking in thousands, there have always been those wanting to get as much as possible out of Croatian tourism and the hustle and bustle of the summer season, without having to jump through any of the burdensome hoops licensed entities have to. Could a new law on its way next month put a stop to that ”tradition”? Maybe.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 8th of March, 2019, the purpose of the upcoming legal changes, as was argued in the competent ministry, is not aimed at punishing people but rather at attempting to raise the overall quality of the tourist services provided. Unregistered activity, or work in so-called grey zone – is considered to be Croatian tourism’s very personal plague. However, the new law, which comes into force on April the 1st, should change that.

All contained in one unified service, as it once used to be, there are seventeen types of inspections which have been operating within eight different ministries so far. Come April, any inspector will be able to record so called ”rad na crno” (working on the black/unregistered) and issue an oral ban on the spot right there and then.

The Croatian Government considers that the consolidation of such types of inspections, or perhaps more correctly the re-establishing of an independent state inspectorate, will be much more efficient and functional. When it comes to Croatian tourism, it will enable a clearer and more concrete fight against the apparent ”plague” of the black and grey economy.

”Now, aside from tourist inspectors, all inspectors have the right not only to deal with unregistered facilities but also those who are suspected of being unregistered,” explained Tonči Glavina, State Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism, for HTV.

As stated, the government has claimed that the new law is not aimed purely at seeking out people to make examples of and punish, but rather to create a better environment in Croatian tourism for all. They claim that many people involved in this business need to be educated. They are not well acquainted with the laws, regulations, procedures, and therefore it is education that is missing, and not just control.

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