Tourism is a synergy and cooperation of people and the whole community with the maximum use of local resources through the telling of authentic, unique and unforgettable stories and experiences.
Logically, because the meaning of tourism is to discover new ways and culture of living, and thus tourism in itself is not an end or purpose if it does not increase the quality of the local population, is not self-sustainable and does not tell and sell indigenous stories. Simple, isn't it? Not in Croatia, where tourism did not happen yesterday, in fact it happened in the mid-1880s in Opatija, and unfortunately it still happens today. Why does tourism just happen to us? Because we do not strategically deal with the development of tourism as well as tourist destinations. First strategy, then hotels (infrastructure), not the other way around.
Regardless of the positive examples, we still sell the sun, the sea and the beach, which is why we have a problem with seasonality, and when that is the case, then when there is no sun, there is no tourism. The solution to seasonality is to sell quality and diverse authentic content and a complete tourist product. When we look at how the Ministry of Tourism, the Croatian National Tourist Board, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the system of tourist boards, both county and local, work, we can't help but think that for years everyone tells their story without much needed synergy and joint action. . Also, the whole system unfortunately served the political games more than the profession and professionalism. Instead of synergy, we have dispersion.
Crazy and counter productive. It all comes down to form, not content.
I recently had the honor of talking about the importance of telling stories in tourism to tourism entrepreneurs as part of a conference on the Adriatic. After the conference, a local entrepreneur approached me to ask for advice. Namely, as the entrepreneur himself points out, he has about ten buggies as additional tourist content as part of active tourism, the entire infrastructure, invests in marketing, has an elaborate tourist product with several themed tours, stories with the tourist community and hosts in family accommodation, but still he struggles, ie no matter what he has to do, he can never achieve continuity of guests. He asked me what to do. The answer is simple - to talk to the local and county tourist board, the hosts in the family accommodation and all other tourist participants in order to fit into the rounded tourist product.
But there is a problem, there is no complete tourist product. Everyone is looking at themselves, without mutual cooperation and much needed synergy. We have dispersion, not synergy. Unfortunately, this is a classic pattern of our tourism that takes place in tourist destinations. A problem at all levels that I am constantly complained about by various tourism professionals across the coast as well as the continent.
Insane and counter productive in the very sense of tourism. We look at short-term profits, ourselves instead of all coming together through sustainable and long-term tourism development. The goal today is not to sell something and make short-term profit, but to sell tomorrow as well, and we can only do that with sustainable tourism and a complete tourist product. In tourism, the only thing that matters is the final conclusion of the guest - was he well and will he be back next year?
And he can be satisfied only if his vacation is fulfilled in accordance with his expectations, and for that, the sun and the sea alone are not enough, but quality, diverse and authentic content. Therefore, every host in family accommodation, hotelier and all tourist participants should be interested in having quality partners, facilities, attractions, products in a tourist destination to guide their guests to experience them. Even without a commission to recommend and promote all other contents to their guests because everyone has an interest and it is a win-win combination - the guest is satisfied, fulfilled, we have turned him into a free ambassador of Croatian tourism and most importantly he will return.
That's it - that's tourism. Not resorts, uniformity, mass, quantity but authenticity, self-sustainability and quality. This in itself raises the question of what is our tourist product and which tourists do we want at all? The answer certainly cannot be anything and everything. That is why Zadar must promote one Nin for free, just as Dubrovnik must sell Pelješac, Mljet and Korčula. Why? Because of the diverse, quality and authentic content it can offer guests in seven days, not one day. Here we are again tied to the story about branding the region, because no tour destination can offer content for more than a day or two, but as a region, everyone can.
Do you notice the sequence of how everything ties together?
Of course this is a broad topic, the implications are great and very important, and as I write this article only various ideas and examples come to me. Tourism is not one industry, but horizontally and vertically connects all other industries. That is why tourism is so complex and has such an impact on the local economy, and we certainly have to deal with tourism strategically and in the long run, and not by inertia and accident.
Connect, tell common stories, complete a tourist product or to be even clearer - tourism is not an individual, but a team sport.
Synergy and cooperation, not dispersion.