The growth of Croatian tourism is not accompanied by development, it is high time for change

first_imgWe remember 2017 by tourist records, more than 18,5 million tourist arrivals, 102 million tourist overnight stays and € 8,724 million in tourism revenues are large numbers that present the general public with a picture of the success of the tourism business.But this story has two sides. Behind the undoubtedly commendable indicators of tourism business is another perspective on tourism events. Croatia is experiencing undeniable growth in tourism activities, but has this growth been accompanied by development? The answer is no!Namely, growth means a shift in quantity, ie quantitative change, and is always expressed by physical indicators, while development represents a new state to which we aspire, that is, a new, better position than the one we are currently in. Croatia is growing in terms of tourism, as evidenced by physical indicators, but tourism is not developing. Croatia is still a holiday destination with a dominant product sun and sea, popular during the hectic summer months, and forgotten for the rest of the year. A well-known problem is existing, while the seasonality of business is still the most important characteristic of tourism, a phenomenon, a challenge.According to the document Tourism development strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2020 one of the basic goals of the strategic period 2013-2020 is to extend the tourist season. Figure 1 shows the state of distribution of tourist overnight stays by months in the starting year of the development strategy and the desired distribution at the end of the strategic period.Figure 1. Starting and desired distribution of tourist nights by months The goal was to intensify the development of tourism in the pre- and post-season as well as to make a significant shift in the off-season. Last year, almost every tourist step forward in the number of physical indicators, arrivals and overnight stays, was presented in the media as a way to the desired year-round tourism business. However, we are far from extending the tourist season, and year-round business is just a theoretical concept that has not and, judging by the current approach, will not be practically implemented in Croatia. According to the author’s current research on the seasonality of business in Croatia, all indicators record extreme and constant values. The explanation of the thesis begins with the distribution curve of tourist nights by months for the period 2005 to 2016 (Figure 2).Figure 2. Distribution of tourist nights by months 2005 – 2016It can be seen from the above that the curve, in the observed period of 11 years, did not significantly apply its slope. There is no progress in terms of extending the tourist season, even with the growth of tourism, the problem of seasonality has become more pronounced due to the increasing concentration of tourist demand at the peak of the tourist season, in July and August. This is confirmed by the data from Figure 3.Figure 3. Share of tourist nights by tourist seasons low, medium and high 2005-2016The four months of the high tourist season June, July, August and September account for about 86% of total annual tourist nights during the observed period from 2005 to 2016. The alarming situation is also indicated by the seasonal indicator. If August, as the month with the highest number of overnight stays, is taken as the maximum value and the other months are compared with it, we see (Figure 4) that the level of capacity utilization in July is 89,71%, while in June and September it is just over a third. available accommodation capacity used!The problem of extreme dependence on the tourism business in the two key months of the year is clearly shown!Figure 4. Seasonal indicatorCroatia is a destination with an extremely pronounced concentration of tourist demand at the peak of the tourist season, and the problem has been established without significant positive developments in the last 11 years. The new, better, condition that was supposed to result in development was absent, even the growth of tourist traffic multiplied the negative consequences that seasonal business brings with it. The economy is becoming more dependent on the peak of the tourist season, the need for seasonal labor is growing, the pressure on the ecosystem and ecological sustainability is growing, socio-cultural consequences are becoming more pronounced, and negative implications are reflected on the tourist demand. If the problem of business seasonality is not adequately addressed in the near future, the consequences will fully escalate.It is important to stress that two sets of strategies are needed to address this challenge. One aimed at solving the problems that arise and excessive concentration of demand at the peak of the tourist season and the other intended to extend the tourist season. But we need to be realistic and aware of our possibilities of action. Consequently, it is necessary to accept the extreme seasonality of business in some destinations and direct efforts to the optimal organization of business in a given environment, while destinations with identified potential to extend the tourist season need to be approached strategically with operationalization of goals and activities.Croatian tourism is growing uncontrollably, on its own initiative. It is time to start managing growth and developing tourism, taking into account that tourism cannot be viewed as an isolated phenomenon but as a relationship between many components of the socio-economic reality of a particular environment.Apart from the isolated problem of seasonality of business, there is no progress on the following points that it should have brought Tourism development strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2020. One of the strategic goals was to increase the share of hotel accommodation in the total accommodation offer from 2020% in 13,1 to 2011% by 18,1, while in 2016 the share was 12,1%, so the share decreased. In contrast, the goal was to reduce the share of family accommodation in households from 48,7% in 2011 to 43,4%, but the share in 2016 is a staggering 59%! There is no progress in terms of personnel planning, diversification of the tourist product, out-of-accommodation offer, availability outside the tourist season, promotion and branding of tourism, as well as destination management.With all the optimism, the goals set by the Tourism Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia until 2020 will not be even close to being achieved, even on many issues the position of Croatian tourism in 2020, judging by the current situation, will be less favorable than in 2013.Croatian tourism is growing uncontrollably, on its own initiative. It is time to start managing growth and developing tourism, taking into account that tourism cannot be viewed as an isolated phenomenon but as a relationship between many components of the socio-economic reality of a particular environment. Tourism is by nature heterogeneous and complex, which means that a large number of activities participate in meeting tourist needs. These needs can be met only if all these activities are structurally, temporally and spatially synchronized and balanced and if they operate in this way within the overall tourist offer. The absence and lag in the development of any bidder calls into question the efficiency of the bid as a whole.There is a need for an integrated form of tourism planning that will achieve a balance of supply and demand in which demand will optimally meet their tourism needs, and participants in the tourism offer to act efficiently and achieve optimal economic and social benefits. There is no development without systematic planning, everything else is spontaneous growth.Let’s start with the development of tourism.Author: Dr. sc. Goran Ćorluka, Head of the Department of Trade Business, Department of Professional Studies, University of Splitlast_img

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