With the entire tourism sector struggling with unprecedented losses for nearly a year, travel agencies are among the biggest losers in this crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Cancellations of travel and various events and restrictions on people’s movement due to special epidemiological measures have left a significant mark on the travel agencies’ business.
Tomislav Fain, the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA), has previously sent numerous requests to the Government to help and support travel agencies. They recently even asked the Croatian Civil Protection Headquarters to close them formally so they can withdraw much-needed financial resources for survival. However, unsuccessfully. This time, like all the times before, their demand has only one goal: the survival of travel agencies.
“Countless times we have been called upon to understand the situation and with uncertainty found out at the last minute whether we will be able to keep employees for the next month or two or we will have to thank them for their cooperation. As our understanding did not lead to a boomerang effect and came back to us in the same way, we were put in a situation where the survival of most travel agencies in the Republic of Croatia is extremely endangered,” Fain points out in the UHPA statement.
According to the Tax Administration and the Central Bureau of Statistics data, the average decline in the travel agencies’ activity in 2020 was continuously above 85 percent. These truly devastating results carry even more weight if we take into account the fact that these are mostly small and medium-sized family businesses that, to ensure the liquidity of the business, among other things, sold their own assets.
“In a country that depends so much on tourism, it is unacceptable that on the threshold of the tourist season on which we have high expectations, the tourism industry survives day by day and hopes for a miracle. As if this is not more than enough, the situation is further aggravated by the lack of understanding of service providers, especially public institutions, which, despite the recommendations of relevant ministries, increase their services’ prices at the last minute.
It is high time that all relevant stakeholders understand the seriousness of the situation and provide us with the key prerequisites so that we can dedicate ourselves to what we know best – creating tourist products for a memorable holiday. Otherwise, all promotional campaigns and slogans will go to waste because we will not protect the most important thing – a man – who, as we like to be proud of, is the key to success in tourism,” concludes Fain.