Croatia Has Everything for 12-Month Tourism, Can Be Mediterranean Tourist Leader

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The annual 3T conference was held with a number of experts and conclusions: AI cannot replace humans, Croatia can still be a leader in realizing the maximum sustainability of tourism in the Mediterranean, and the offer for year-round tourism is not at all questionable.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, the 3T – Tourism, Travel & Tech conference was held. On that chilly morning at the dawn of another spring, conference visitors came to Zagreb’s Kaptol Center for a solid dose of optimism.

The conference that combines tourism and technology, without which tourism in its modern scale would not exist, brought together experts from various areas of the tourism and IT sectors and delivered current views on trends and forecasts in business to those gathered at its 6th physical and online edition.

The 3T conference was announced as a discussion on the possibilities of using AI in tourism, and this motif ran through almost all the presentations, with a common conclusion – AI will never replace humans

The response of Zoran Pejović, a consultant from Lošinj, made us think about how reliable artificial intelligence (AI) is.

Igor Marušić, product manager of Hrvatski Telekom, established that artificial intelligence can be a significant factor in solving the problem of labor shortage, in his presentation on Chatbots in the hotel industry.

Marušić emphasizes that the point is not the implementation of AI in business, which would result in the dismissal of workers, but that such technology can be programmed to solve simpler tasks and inquiries of guests, whereby people can focus and concentrate on solving more complex problems in business

This is precisely why Marušić sees the development of artificial intelligence as a great opportunity to fill unpopular jobs, which no one wants, along with the growth of the quality of tourist products.

Total sustainability is impossible
Sustainable tourism in Croatia is far from being fully realized, but it is still more than empty talk, is the conclusion of the presentation by Robert Sedlar, an expert whose company Interzero deals with the issue of waste disposal.

Transport is the biggest polluter in tourism – Robert Sedlar

Sustainability is the thread that connected almost all the presentations. There was more talk about the hotel’s sustainable business than family accommodation, which accounts for over 50% of overnight stays. That is why we now know that Croatia has 1199 hotels, of which only 26 are green.

We also know that luxury tourism is no longer characterized only by the consumption of expensive and exclusive material goods, but today’s luxury is the enjoyment of the unique features that abound in Croatia, like every tourist country. This type of offer is in the best position to fulfill almost all sustainable principles and achieve what we want from tourism – fewer guests and burden on local communities, with maximum income.

The participants of the panel discussion on the sustainability of luxury, moderated by the conference director Oleg Maštruko, concluded that 100% sustainability is an impossible mission, but that does not mean that we should not even try to achieve the goals of complete sustainability of tourism. The morning part of the conference ended with an interesting question by tourist journalist and blogger Anja Mutić from the audience: “Why is there so much talk about sustainable tourism, isn’t it time to focus on regenerative tourism?”.

From motoring to the potential of year-round tourism
The afternoon part of the conference was less about theory and more about practical examples.

No one in Croatia had previously done an expert study of the socio-economic impacts of a tourist event on local communities. The first such analysis “Socio-economic impacts of WRC Rally Croatia 2022 on the area of Central Croatia”, prepared in cooperation with the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, was presented by Marin Frčko, one of the key people from the WRC Rally Croatia organization.

Marin Frčko on the impact of WRC Rally Croatia on the quality of life of locals

In 2022, this world-renowned sports event brought Croatian tourism an income of 105 million euros. Its full potential could be unlocked only this year, because last year’s result was largely influenced by the release of pandemic measures and the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian war. This year’s edition, without a doubt, we expect great results from April 20 to 23.

“The question is why Croatia has too few such global events, especially in the pre- and post-season, although I don’t like those terms, I prefer to think about the year-round offer of domestic tourism,” Frčko pointed out, noting that such events are followed by millions of fans around the world.

The WRC is among the TOP 20 sports events in the world. Unlike others, such as the world football championship, this and similar manifestations do not need the construction of a stadium, the existing infrastructure is used, so their organization should be among the projects of national interest in terms of the development of year-round tourism.

Did you know that, in addition to Croatia Airlines, we have another airline? Few visitors knew this, until they met Stjepan Bedić, pilot and director of ETF (Enjoy Your Flight) Airways. Launching an airplane startup during a pandemic is more than a challenge, but today ETF flies and covers the logistical problems of numerous partners with its planes.

One of the most convincing ambassadors of Croatian tourism – Paul Bradbury probably knows the cultural heritage of Croatia’s gastronomy better than the average Croat. He will convince everyone that Croatia has everything a tourist could want for an unforgettable stay at any time of the year, but it’s best if he tells you about it himself…



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