Electric scooters will quickly outgrow only a short-term trend, and thus become an imperative for any tourist destination.
Already this year, tourist destinations, at least the proactive ones, should implement the e-car system as a supplement to public transport, as well as the public bicycle system, as the basic offer of each destination. In addition, cities must turn to electric buses, developing bike trails and signs, both in the city itself and through the development of cycling tourism. Croatia should be a leader in sustainability or at least electric vehicles (Tesla, Rimac ..). We need to redefine public transport in cities, more greenery, fewer cars, and more space for citizens.
One of the challenges in tourism, ie our destinations, is the awareness and the need to provide guests with parking. We know that most of our guests come by car, and some travel all day, just to come to Croatia on vacation.
A logical and banal, but again so neglected problem. Why is there still a chronic lack of parking in our tourist destinations. When we already invite guests to leave their Euros in our destinations, I wonder: Can't we provide them with the most basic thing - parking?
Unfortunately, there has been no strategic development of our tourist destinations, the only thing that has grown in the past 20 years are accommodation capacities. The entire infrastructure did not follow this development, from sewerage, parking to the electricity network, so HEP sends us notifications every season not to turn on the air conditioning because the whole system is overloaded. Also, the beaches have remained the same, parking is decreasing, and the number of destinations is suddenly rapidly increasing due to the arrival of tourists. In destinations in Croatia during the summer due to the arrival of tourists there is an increase in population due to almost five and a half times. All this is a huge burden on the entire infrastructure of the tourist destination and there is a crackdown.
If we care about our guests, shouldn't we care where they will park their vehicles, ie will they be able to park in the destination at all? We are still primarily a destination where in most cases tourists come by car, even if guests come by plane they should use transport to the accommodation, whether public transport, taxi or rent a car, ie car rental during the year. Now, if someone travels five to ten hours to our destination, especially if we’re talking about families where the kids are in the car, and knows it’s going to be hard to find parking at the start we have a big problem. Before dipping his feet into the sea, he already has a negative perception and stress in his head.
If we talk about destinations that develop primarily through tourism - live from tourism, especially those in Dalmatia whose space is further cramped due to the highway, why none of these destinations such as Vodice, Trogir, Biograd na Moru, etc.… are not bought land above the highway and provided tourists with parking? If we are talking about destinations that have money, live from tourism and tourists, shouldn't that be in their interest?
First: They would solve the problem of incredible congestion, and thus rapidly reduce pollution as well as noise in cities
Secured parking would solve a big problem for tourists because they would know that they do not have to look for parking after "ten" hours of driving to the destination, which is extremely frustrating. It is clear to you that tourists when they finally come to the destination, all they want is to settle down and refresh themselves in the sea, especially if you are traveling with children, and not again looking for hours for parking. Here I immediately ask the hosts in the family accommodation: Do you greet them with a cold welcome drink and some indigenous snack?
Secured parking would show that you care about tourists, would reduce the crowds in the city / destination, guests would go down to the destination electric vehicles, and would therefore encourage environmental and sustainable development combined with electric benches, smart city, ice lighting, environmentally friendly products, etc.… Also, there comes efficient public transport, as well as various forms of integrated transport such as public bicycle system, car sharing services, rickshaws, segway… the story only spreads in another direction.
Speaking of which, why don't we have a fast and efficient "boat" line, ie electric boats, which connect destinations by sea, so as not to burden the roads. We have boats, we have an electric motor, it's just a matter of implementation. Again, not to go on big ships, but on small boats which are our tradition and which would employ a lot more people. Boats as a synonym for small ships, which can connect the islands with the mainland, at least those that are not very far from the coast. Such as, for example, the island of Ugljan, Rab, Pag, etc.…
Islands as the emperor of the free zone
Then we can talk about the islands as the emperor of the free zone. If of course we arrange public transport on the islands to be efficient and networked. Again, from bicycles, scooters, taxis… when we are already opening this topic, wouldn't it be great if every island has its own solar power plant? We brag about the islands that they have the most sunny hours in Croatia, great climate almost all year round… Here's the opportunity. We are late, but it is never too late to move forward.
Last year, HEP put into operation the Solar Power Plant Vis, the largest solar power plant in Croatia. With the construction of the solar power plant, the island of Vis got its own source of renewable energy and greater security of electricity supply, especially in periods of increased consumption during the tourist season.
Perhaps on an island as part of an entrepreneurial incubator or technology park (form is less important) they will specialize in IT companies, creatives, innovators who will work on improving technology or inventing new ones related to getting electricity from the Sun. We know that this is an old technology that is relatively inefficient, ie it requires large areas and a lot of sun, and for a small amount of energy. It is necessary to significantly increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.
Also, then the islands can deal with sustainable development in every respect or self-sustainable concepts. Why don't we follow the trends, but create them through such incubators or hubs. Here we then come to attract students and professionals from these areas, to come all year round to our islands, not just for the sun and the sea. Then we would develop the latest concepts of sustainability and ecology, both through tourism and through solutions for urban cities. The story just gets wider and wider… and then come the digital nomads, who then make sense and who merge with the proactive whole ecosystem on the island.
Interesting how everything is connected and how they just add up layers through various extensions. And everything makes sense and some natural and logical sequence. These are the elements of the strategy and vision of the development of a country, city, destination…. But let’s get back to the topic of the article.
Second: We will encourage guests to move and explore the whole region / destination
If there was no problem with parking, guests would use their cars more often without fear of having to look for parking again, and would free them up and encourage them to move by car to visit and experience the surrounding destinations. By doing so, they would have a much better experience of the whole region. Certainly how guests want to experience as much as possible, and one destination cannot provide them with all seven days. In the end, the only thing that matters is how the guest feels at the end of their vacation, ie whether they are satisfied with the destination or not, and whether they will come back and recommend it. We have to care, that’s a key element. And that is why Zadar must promote Šibenik and Split, and vice versa. We must care about the overall guest experience of our destination.
Did we live up to expectations? Or maybe surpassed? What is good and what is not good in the destination? What do guests want? Ask them, they are with you, this is your best free research. My first encounter with tourism was through animation in tourism. As an animator, I communicated with the guests every day and I knew everything that was good and what was good in the hotel, camp, destination, and what bothered the guests. Unfortunately, then, and as far as I can see today, the management still has no ear to listen to its guests, of course honoring the positive exceptions. We have to start dealing with tourism, and not live on rent, so we sell forms without content.
Third: Increasing tourist spending
Also, if we would provide parking to our tourists, it would further encourage tourist spending, precisely through increased guest mobility. It is certainly necessary to count overnight stays and arrivals, but I wonder why no one counts tourist spending, ie non-board consumption, which is more important than the numbers of overnight stays. On the contrary, it is crucial for understanding tourism, because the goal of tourism is to increase the quality of life of the local population and that spending as much and as many local participants is dispersed to the local economy, not just some and that ultimately earnings from tourism ours or to encourage imports through tourism, while our economy is collapsing.
Win-win, right? But first we must care about tourists and the strategic development of tourism.
Green highway - electric charging stations
The most beautiful and quietest rally in the world "Nikola Tesla EV Rally Croatia" has been held in Croatia for years. Just one example of how we can and must be the first in the World. The whole car industry is turning to electric cars, it is now clear to everyone. Why not use that potential? Green highway or the whole of Croatia networked with electric charging stations. We have domestic manufacturers of filling stations, even cars and scooters, Tesla / Rimac as the best brands and promotions.
Why shouldn't it be the best country in terms of the number of electric charging stations (cars, bicycles, scooters)? Why haven't we already networked the whole of Croatia? bottling plants? It’s an opportunity we didn’t take, and we had to. We still can. This again opens up a totally new industry and new perspectives, as in the example of the car free island.
As in chaos theory, where one swing of a butterfly’s wings, on the other hand the world is caused by a hurricane. So the focus on these topics, just one bold step forward will cause a hurricane of new positive tourism, social, economic and other perspectives.
We know that sustainable development and a green economy have become imperative. Especially in the postcovid era. Not to mention global warming etc…
Tourism is extremely dynamic, complex, heterogeneous, multidisciplinary and connects various industries vertically and horizontally. That is why it is complex and must not be developed by inertia or accident, but only strategically and sustainably. Tourism is our opportunity for development and added value.
As mentioned in the introduction, electric scooters have come and will stay and we can get more and more news on our streets day by day. They are relatively cheap, and extremely efficient and practical. Let's seize this moment. And yes, the more electric scooters in traffic, the fewer cars on the roads.
Let's start from the beginning and start thinking about providing parking for our guests or introducing electric scooters in our destination. It is the trigger for a strong "butterfly wing swing", a better future and a change of mindset.
Photo: Eric Anada, Dominika Roseclay - pexels.com / illustration: hrturizam