May 11, 2020 – Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said that a message had been sent to the surrounding countries that Croatia began functioning in tourism again, regardless of all the existing measures.
“It is very clear – you can come to a hotel, camp, private accommodation, you can eat in restaurants, inside and outside. You can rent a boat and go sailing; marinas are open. Croatia from today breathes tourism,” said the minister as a guest on HRT’s show Together for Health, as reported by Index.hr.
He added that this week is a trial, which will determine how everything works.
The HGK hoteliers’ association predicts that larger hotel companies will open approximately one to two of the possible ten hotels, while the rest are waiting for a complete suspension of operations.
Agencies and hotels took reservations before the coronavirus pandemic – and the money that comes with them. That money was partly spent to prepare for the season and should now be returned. It is about 200-220 million euro.
Minister Cappelli says that we always like to compare ourselves with others, and cites the example of Germany, which rejected the voucher system. They said, “You have to return the money.”
In Croatia, amendments to the Law on the Provision of Tourism Services enabled travel agencies to issue value vouchers instead of refunds to passengers for package deals, for 180 days.
“We practically reacted immediately after 15 days. On the one hand, we protected consumers, but also agencies, that in 180 days, they can agree. Now we are talking about vouchers for hoteliers,” he said.
When asked who will guarantee this refund and what if the companies themselves will not be able to return it, he answered:
“We did not go to the stage of responsibility as a state and guarantee the return of these funds. These are agencies that have their share of insurance, so I hope that they are covered,” the minister replied.
Speaking about the cancellation of reservations, the minister says that May is “completely lost”, and for the most part, so is June.
“We calculate revenues between 25 and 30 percent. Last year, with the domestic market, we made somewhere around 20 billion euro. We did all the surveys, i.e., estimates. We did an estimate of 60-90 percent of losses. I think we could do somewhere between 25 and 30 percent. The first three months are not all lost, but a larger part is lost. Although it is only 5 percent of the turnover, it is somewhere around 480 million euro in the first three months. Somewhere around 2.25 billion euros in April, May and June. That part will be practically completely lost. We estimate that in the first six months we lost about 2.2 to 2.4 billion euro. The most important for us are July, August, and September, where 63 percent of the turnover is realized,” the minister said.
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