August 1, 2017 — Zadar’s embattled Tourism Board Director Ante Rados resigned, ending a two-year stint marred by criticism from the town’s tourism industry.
“The reasons I’ve taken this step are of a personal nature,” Rados wrote in his public resignation letter. He later contradicted the stated reason by adding, “From my desire to make sure our City gets — from this position — better and more, I think it’s time for a change.”
His departure leaves the board scrambling to find a new leader during the busiest chunk of the tourism season.
Rados faced a steady drumbeat of criticism over the last few months after the gulf between expectations for the tourism season and a sobering reality grew too wide for many of the industry. Murmurs about Rados’s ouster grew, capped by today’s resignation. His letter, at times, seemed aimed at his critics.
“I’d like to point out that I took on this position respecting its importance and demands, and in doing so, I gave the most of myself,” he wrote.
Expectations were high. Yet the remainder of Rados’ tenure saw little progress for a town with such potential.
Odd controversies emerged, many surrounding Rados’ other career as Klapa Kaleta’s baritone singer. The group drew unwanted attention for Rados when it attended a cultural exchange event in Japan — an alleged conflict of interest Rados later denied via his attorneys.
The appearance of Klapa Kaleta at events even tangentially related to tourism became an cudgel used gleefully by Rados’ critics, even though the group claims it was not paid by the tourism board for its appearances.
This summer season began with rental owners complaining about the Tourism Board’s lack of support and vision, leading to a steep drop in overnight stays. Eventually, complaints reached the public via angry local business owners wonder how the Tourism Board was spending its funds.
The situation became dire enough for the town of Petrčane to demand it be lopped off from the Zadar Tourism Board’s jurisdiction.
In an interview earlier this year, Rados said he was taken aback by all the criticism and negativity.
“Sometimes I don’t know where it’s coming from,” he said. “I guess that’s the way it is.”
Rados said all projects and activities in motion will be finished on deadline while the board is in a leadership transition.