Major Changes Coming to Croatian Tourism Industry

Total Croatia News

The sojourn tax, paid by all tourists coming to Croatia, will no longer be centrally decided.

The laws are very complex and for their drafting it is necessary to have a high-quality dialogue with all stakeholders, said Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli last year talking about three new tourist laws which the tourism industry has been waiting for a long time, reports Večernji List on September 21, 2018.

All three new laws, on tourist boards, on sojourn tax and on membership fees in tourist boards, have been released to public consultation this week. It remains to be seen whether the comments will confirm the minister’s statements on “complex drafting and high-quality dialogue.”

The Tourism Ministry has released the proposals for the three new laws to public consultation without much fanfare. The e-counselling is open until October 18, and it is still not certain when the new regulations will come into effect. Although the contents of the laws have so far been the subject of only speculations, most of the guidelines Minister Cappelli discussed in his statements are indeed present in the proposals.

For example, the sojourn tax level would no longer be centrally decided by the government. The tourism minister would issue a rule on the highest and lowest possible amount, and county assemblies would determine the exact amount for municipalities and towns in their areas.

The current figure of 310 tourist boards will not survive the new rules. The system will be reformed into a model of destination management boards and will have local and regional boards, as well as county boards, the Zagreb City Tourist Board, and the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ). There will be fewer local tourist board directors. The smallest among the current boards will face a choice: be discontinued or merge with their neighbours. The law insists on the principle of destination management, as well as rationalization.

There will also be a new distribution system for sojourn tax revenue, which should financially strengthen local tourist boards. In the future, presidents of tourist boards will be selected from the ranks of politicians (minister, town and municipal mayors), while the HTZ Main Office will delegate some of the activities to the local level and focus more on international promotion.

It is certain there will be more than a few comments and objections to the proposed laws. If most ideas in the current proposals come true, this will be the first serious redesign of the tourist board system which was established by the first director of the Croatian National Tourist Board Niko Bulić.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Radmila Kovačević).


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