Croatian National Tourist Board Discusses Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic

Daniela Rogulj

April 15, 2020 – The 65th session of the Croatian National Tourist Board was held yesterday through a video conference.

The 65th session of the Croatian National Tourist Board discussed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tourism and repealing the Annual Work Program and Financial Plan for this year. Adjustments to previous council decisions were also addressed to more effectively overcome the current situation and to minimize the impact of the coronavirus on the continued operations of the Croatian National Tourist Board.

“In the context of the hitherto unprecedented crisis of the tourism sector, which has plagued Croatia, but also the whole world, it is important to jointly and severally accept the responsibility to cut all costs that are not essential and put the health of citizens and tourists first. It is also our task to prepare the tourism system for a more agile restart as soon as the restriction is introduced so that Croatia can regain its position as one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world as soon as possible. The Croatian Government has in two waves passed packages of economic aid measures. It is still considering introducing new measures if this proves necessary to preserve the stability of the entire Croatian economy, and of course, the tourism sector, which accounts for almost a fifth of total revenues in Croatia,” said the Minister of Tourism and Croatian National Tourist Board President Gari Cappelli addressing the Tourism Council.

“The consequences of the global coronavirus pandemic have a profound adverse impact on both Croatian and world tourism. Business tourism processes are almost completely stopped. For this reason, we outlaw key strategic documents such as the Annual Work Program and the Financial Plan for 2020, which are simply unenforceable in these market conditions. All previous decisions of the Tourist Board, which derive from HTZ’s financial obligations, have also been out of force. We unanimously adopted our decision to reduce the salaries of HTZ employees in Zagreb and representative offices by up to 30 percent, while the compensation for the members of the Tourist Board was suspended. We are fully aware of the current situation and the fact that we can only overcome this crisis by jointly having solidarity, understanding and continuous work in these very challenging times,” said HTZ Director Kristjan Stanicic, adding that the development of the situation in key markets is further intensively monitored and the promotion strategies and activities, as well as the timing of their implementation, are defined accordingly.

It was determined at the session that the coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on the economic activity in Croatia, and thus on financing the entire system of tourist boards. Also, the Croatian National Tourist Board will not be able to fully implement the Annual Work Program for 2020, which is why it was decided, to act swiftly to overcome the financial difficulties and normal functioning of the Croatian Tourist Board in special circumstances, it was decided that all decisions of the Tourist Board from which the financial obligations derive would be repealed. These are decisions related to the implementation of public calls: joint advertising, strategic projects, Sports Croatia, DMK 2020, TOP events, as well as a call for expressions of interest for the implementation of special promotional projects and advertising activities in the key markets in 2020. Furthermore, during the online session, the Tourism Council adopted a decision proposing the HTZ Assembly repeal the Annual Work Program for 2020, except related to activities carried out so far.

Also, the councilors adopted a measure to reduce the salaries of HTZ employees in the amount of up to 30 percent of the base until full liquidity is established or by the end of the current year. At the same time, the monthly compensation for the members of the Tourist Council will be temporarily terminated. The measure above was adopted to preserve jobs given the loss of source revenues (tourist memberships and fees) caused by the reduction of economic activities of members of tourist boards and the immediate cessation of tourist movements around the world. The same percentage reduction in salaries as employees in the Zagreb office will apply to directors/heads of representative offices abroad.

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