Just when we thought that the pandemic was coming to an end and that we could finally return to everyday life and hope for a record tourist season, inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered the race. Reservations have slowed down and are currently about 20 percent less than they were at this time in 2019. This season, one of the biggest problems could again be a workforce shortage, reports HRT.
In the spring, tourism job fairs begin, where seasonal workers are sought. The search took hoteliers and caterers from Split and Dubrovnik to Mostar.
“A student is studying in college for where they may or may not work later, but if you go to work for a season like this you can earn money that helps you to study, and you can gain experience in other jobs and see if you like something else,” says Josip Pehar, a computer science student from Mostar.
“In these uncertain times, we need young and talented people who have the enthusiasm and want to learn and progress,” says Zorica Dujić, Hilton Imperial’s Human Resources Department in Dubrovnik.
Hoteliers estimate that between 30,000 and 35,000 seasonal workers will be missing this season as well.
“Of course, if there is no escalation. It is a priority to animate the domestic labor market, i.e., enable all who want to work. First of all, I mean students,” said Veljko Ostojić, the Croatian Tourism Association director.
“The idea is to enable a higher tax threshold for students. We are talking about that, and I think we will reach an agreement before the start of the season,” said Josip Aladrović, Minister of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy.
Cleaners, maids, waiters, kitchen helpers, and cooks are most in-demand, and one of the reasons the market fails to find enough workers for these occupations is low wages.
“The price of labor has not changed drastically. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we reduced wages in the last two seasons,” says Dolores Lujic, commissioner of the Croatian Trade Union of Tourism and Hospitality, Dubrovnik Regional Office.
Despite the uncertainty over the war in Ukraine, preparations for the pre-season are proceeding normally.
“I think that Easter, no matter how much it was an indicator of the season in those stable years, this year will really show how much Germans, i.e., our most important market, wants to travel,” says Ostojić.
And that Croatia has a good chance of a successful pre-season is also shown by the recently published data from the German Research Institute for last year. Namely, Croatia comes in fourth place for the first time as the most desirable destination for German guests.
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