Croatian National Tourist Board on Coronavirus: “We Will Adjust”

Daniela Rogulj

March 1, 2020 – The Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and its representative offices around the world are actively monitoring the coronavirus situation and adjusting promotional activities in German and other markets, said HTZ Director Kristjan Stanicic after the world’s largest tourism conference ITB Berlin was canceled.

T.portal ITB Berlin was supposed to take place from March 4-8, 2020, but was canceled on Friday night for the first time in 54 years due to the spread of coronavirus.

This canceled the appearance of around 10,000 exhibitors from more than 180 countries, including Croatia.

The stock exchange also expected more than 160,000 business visitors from the world, more than 5,000 journalists, as well as negotiations of concrete deals for the whole world worth over 5 billion euro.

“We are sorry that ITB was canceled, which is the largest and most important trade fair for tourism in the world, at which the Croatian National Tourist Board had to present its entire Croatian tourism offer with about 30 co-exhibitors. The plan was also intended to be used for meetings with key German and international partners, tour operators, agencies, tourism organizations, airlines, etc. However, it is quite clear that with the new coronavirus situation, preventive actions, health, and safety of many participants and visitors is the primary goal,” said Stanicic.

He points out that the Croatian National Tourist Board continues its activities in the German and other markets, in cooperation with numerous partners, also following the possibilities and outcome of this situation, which is equally challenging for tourism in other countries and destinations.

The World Tourism Organization-UNWTO assessed that the continuation of tourism and its unique transformative potential depends on stability and international solidarity.

“The tourism sector must always put people and their well-being first, as evidenced by the decision to cancel ITB Berlin for public health reasons,” UNWTO pointed out, recalling that tourism is one of the world’s leading economic sectors with millions of resources across the globe.

This weekend, the organization also called on everyone in tourism for close cooperation and responsibility, stressing that the UNWTO stands ready to support its members in plans and harnessing the power of tourism to drive economic and social recovery.

Despite these messages and the realization that the lives and health of people are paramount, the global tourism sector is also worried about the results this year, as travel reservations are increasingly canceled and individual reservations in hotels and air travel are reducing.

With the cancellation of several major world congresses, stock exchanges, fairs, exhibitions and other business meetings across Europe and the world in February and March this year, the business tourism segment in the world will remain without nearly $30 billion in revenue, and similarly estimated damages in aviation transport and total tourist traffic.

Hotel owners across Europe and around the world are also registering cancellations, which, according to analysts, has no impact or reduced prices, given the current fear and uncertainty of travel.

But from the sector, both globally and domestically, according to information from associations, groups, and company representatives, many believe that the situation will stabilize in a month or two, with the awareness that it is tough to predict what will happen next and how to develop the situation, especially if the spread of the virus continues.

For example, Italian hoteliers have already warned that the coronavirus has hit the national tourism industry, especially after US authorities urged their citizens to reconsider traveling to Italy, while other major countries issued warnings only in northern Italy.

Because of this situation, the tourism industry is demanding urgent measures from all levels of government in Italy to guarantee cash flow to tourism operators to protect jobs and avoid the ‘collapse’ of an industry of 300,000 businesses and 1.5 million people.

In other countries, hotel and professional associations of agencies, airlines (such as IATA), and other segments have already warned that they are expecting weaker business results due to the epidemic, which has caused a fall in bookings and frequent cancellation of travel.

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