Students from Mostar and Philippines to be Hired for Upcoming Croatian Tourist Season

Daniela Rogulj

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This Croatian tourist season, catering establishments could see employees from other countries, reports Splitski Dnevnik on February 26, 2019. 

However, not even Croatia’s neighbors are thrilled with working conditions in the country, which raises the question of precisely what kind of working conditions Croatia provides. This topic of employment and importing foreign workers in the tourist season was discussed on Tuesday in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

“The fact is that we had a shortage of workers already last season, and the quotas have not been utilized, because many were not interested in working in our area. That is why the Government and our Chamber of Commerce have turned to some other markets. They include the Far East, the Philippines, and in two weeks, we will visit Mostar University along with representatives from Dubrovnik. There are about 10,000 students there, and half of them have the right to work through a student service in Croatia, so that’s a solution. This season begins in a month, and we have to solve this and do it perfectly,” says Jozo Tomaš, president of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

The panel pointed out that Filipinos have already taken over many Croatian positions in maritime affairs, so why not in the hospitality industry? They added that Filipinos are hired because they are much cheaper than Europeans, and they rarely wonder how long their job lasts. 

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the boat with them and can say that they are very loyal and quality. At this stage when there is such a shortage of people, the point is not that they are cheap, but that they are high quality. Everywhere in the world, Filipinos are very much sought after,” says Ino Munitić, the owner of the Pasat maritime agency, which is involved in the employment of seafarers.

Croatia is very interesting, mystical and attractive for Filipinos, and although the country is unknown to them, they are still ready to leap. Some 10,000 of them may already come to work this season.

Although the advantage would be that employees in Croatian tourism speak Croatian, the fact is that they are still working with mostly foreigners, so English is the primary language. This is precisely why businesspeople assume there will be no language barriers.

“It is on the initiative of the tourist community and HGK that we organized this panel, because the question is whether our locals are the ones who are the best promoters of Croatian tourism and whether they need to invest in their knowledge and education and whether they need to secure jobs or bring in the foreign workforce. I consider that our people, the local population and authentic events and authentic destinations are still a priority. However, at this time, the shortage of labor will have to be addressed by other measures, but we hope that they will be short-term,” says the director of the Split Tourist Board, Alijana Vukšić, who believes that Croatians should provide better working conditions in order to motivate locals to work in the tourist season.

Large hotels in Split are investing in their human resources and insisting on education, says human resources manager of Radisson Blu, Sandra Čanić.

“Unfortunately, a lot of organizations, although we are in the 21st century, do not recognize the importance of systematic human resource management. Our story about this does not start now in preparation for the season, but it needs to be prepared continuously, working on motivating and retaining the existing staff, and not necessarily through an indefinite contract, but using a measure like the permanent season. We currently employ around 130 employees and 150 more during the season. Of this, one significant part belongs to the permanent season, but we also cooperate with schools and colleges, and we receive a large number of trainees. We also participate in various training programs through the Employment Service, to get quality staff,” said Čanić.

This year, Croatia should give up the quota-based labor force imports, which was set at 65,100 people in 2019, said Davorko Vidovic, Labor Policy and Employment Advisor of HGK.

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