The “post-COVID syndrome” of the tourism industry – namely the lack of staff – threatens to lead to the collapse of the Croatian tourism industry. While tourists began to actively flock to the country – hotels, restaurants and other objects of the tourism industry are forced to look for workers for themselves not only within Croatia and even the EU, but throughout the world, right up to the Philippines – and this situation seems extremely alarming to the tourism industry. If it is not urgently corrected, then tourists should wish to return home.
Other leading tourist destinations in Europe, such as France, Spain and Greece, are also facing this problem in one way or another. In addition, the shortage of personnel paralyzes the aviation industry and the delivery of tourists throughout Europe. There are already pessimistic forecasts – according to them, we recall that chaos at airports with large-scale cancellations and delays may last another 18 months, i.е. in fact, until the beginning of 2024, and capturing the next summer tourist season. In the summer season of the current year, the expert, apparently, has already put an end to it. “The long queues and dissatisfied passengers seen in recent weeks at airports in Germany, England, the Netherlands, Ireland and Spain could continue beyond 2023,” said John Holland-Kay, chief executive of London Heathrow Airport, Britain’s largest air harbor. According to pessimistic forecasts by experts, many air carriers and tour operators are not destined to survive this time – read the details in the TURPROM material at the link.
But back to Croatia, official estimates alone suggest that the tourism industry may be short of 10,000 workers this year. “The situation is alarming,” Stanislav Briskoski, a restaurant owner in the tourist destination of Rovinj, in the north of the Istrian peninsula, and head of the Istrian catering and tourism guild, told local media. While almost 3 million tourists have already arrived in the country and the “peak” season is expected in July-August, there are desperately not enough workers. At the same time, it is tourism that is the main source of income for Croatia, which accounts for one fifth of its economy…
However, there are serious problems with servicing tourists. The lockdown, as in other countries, has “thinned out” the catering and tourism sectors – our workers have a place for themselves in other sectors, where they eventually stayed, having better wages and better working hours. As a result, last year Croatia abolished quotas for foreign workers, mainly from its non-EU neighbors in the Balkans, as well as workers from Asia.
By this June, more than 50,000 work permits for foreigners have already been issued, with tourism in second place, after the construction sector. Overall, about 100,000 permits are expected to be issued this year. Workers are recruited everywhere – the main thing is that they are attracted by the “unique opportunity to work in Europe” as a gardener in a local hotel by James Pepito, originally from the Philippines. He worked in Oman and Qatar before arriving in Croatia two years ago, but he hopes to stay for another year and establish himself in Europe. According to local media, over 2,000 Filipinos have found or are planning to find jobs in Croatia through the agency that hired this gardener alone.
But in the long run, this is fraught with additional problems – while foreign workers fill some jobs, insiders the tourism industry says efforts should be made to attract Croatians. “The government should promote vocational schools, which have fewer students than in the past, to train young people for skilled trades such as chefs. Employers must also adapt to the situation by providing better working conditions,” Croatian experts assure.
For those who value a healthy lifestyle, we recommend reading: “New opportunities for agritourism: organic farms in Uglich begin to receive guests.”