As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the euphoria of a remarkably successful summer season this year has lasted for just a short time, after the pandemic, the next crisis looks set to hit tourism and is equally uncertain. Global increases in prices and the shortages of energy, goods, materials and products now pose new and very serious threats to the tourism business, and the consequences are only just beginning. The Croatian 2022 tourist season could now be more problematic than we thought.
So far, the rent a car business has been hardest hit, and it isn’t much easier for agencies and the hospitality and catering sector, which not only cannot plan any of their prices, but also don’t know whether they’ll be able to deliver their services at all to a market in high demand by the time spring rolls around. If tourists manage to stay in hotels, eat dinner in a restaurant and rent a vehicle, in 2022 they could be paying very dearly for it.
“In normal years, this would be a period when deals are contracted with suppliers and customers, between large travel organisers, agencies, hotels and camps, package deals are defined, the need for transportation services are looked into, cars are procured for rent. The coronavirus pandemic shook up these processes, so there was no demand and it all came down to survival and cutting costs, and now we have a situation where we suddenly received demand, but it’s very difficult to put together an offer,” Boris Zgomba, the CEO of Uniline, the largest Croatian agency, warned.
Tourism across all segments will be equally affected by rising prices and delays in deliveries, ie shortages. As tourism is activity that unites a number of other industries, everything from food and beverages to transfers, charters, buses, hygiene products, packaging, furniture, and even basic things like towels will be called into question.
Since the winter is on its way to Croatia, for some these issues won’t manifest themselves before the spring, and it’s difficult to plan what the situation will be like by then for a multitude of reasons, epidemiological ones included. The primary issue here is that planning is precisely the key word for this sector, mostly in the pricing policy segment.
Service sellers are currently having the biggest problems because they have a situation where prices are changing on a daily basis, which means that the contracted prices, which was defined in normal times, is no longer realistic. They have no input for pricing, and if they try to protect themselves and set a price too high, they’re at great risk of not being competitive. And if we want our guests to come on April the 1st and start with the pre-season, we should now have a calculation for our partners, so that they can form their own prices,” explained Zgomba.
At the same time, from conversations with major travel organisers, it is learned that the demand for the Croatian 2022 tourist season will be high. Transport is a particularly important and very questionable thing for tourism in the coming period, either in terms of public transport or vehicle rental. At the moment, it’s uncertain how the offer and prices of airlines, from scheduled flights to charters, as well as buses and transfer organisers, will move in the weeks and months ahead of us.
Kresimir Dobrilovic, the founder and director of Carwiz, revealed that due to the supply crisis across the entire European market, prices are now not being negotiated at all. Winter will pass in relative peace due to reduced demand, but spring is already very close.
“Vehicle importers don’t have concrete information for next year, and those who will have cars are already announcing higher prices, which entails higher prices for all other vehicle purchase costs. News like this about the closure of the Skoda plant in the Czech Republic worries us even more. The prices of car rental services have skyrocketed and this is not good for a market where there’s now demand. Many car rental companies are turning to the alternative of using more used cars in the fleet, but this won’t help us much because there aren’t enough of these vehicles either. The same is true throughout Europe,” Dobrilovic said.
“Now we have a situation where prices change three to four times in one day. That’s why it’s very difficult to say what the rental prices will be in 2022, but we can expect them to be much different than they were before the pandemic,” said the owner of Carwiz.
For more on the Croatian 2022 tourist season, check out our dedicated travel section.