Jasmina Kanaš: The latest measures are the last nail in the coffin of congress tourism

Unexpectedly good results of the tourist season in July and August do not apply to congress organizers and travel agencies. They realize their income almost exclusively in the pre- and post-season, which ...

Unexpectedly good results of the tourist season in July and August do not apply to congress organizers and travel agencies. They realize their income almost exclusively in the pre- and post-season, which means that in the most intensive period for this industry, the spring months, work would be completely banned, and given the latest measures, the same follows in the autumn.

"Yesterday's decision of the Headquarters, sent to all health care institutions, which postpones the holding of congresses, symposia, workshops, lectures and other forms of professional training of health care workers, is actually the final nail in the coffin for business tourism.", warns Jasmina Kanaš, President of the Business Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. 

He says that gatherings in medicine make up the majority of all gatherings in Croatia. "In our organization, health protocols can be fully respected, and the participants are precisely those who are accustomed to applying much stricter anti-epidemiological measures because their job depends on it. They cannot be compared to similar public gatherings because they are educations with a special emphasis on professional development and knowledge exchange where there is no place for entertainment. This is especially true for medical gatherings which, according to strict codes of ethics, are not allowed to have entertainment or have it in a very limited scope.”Explains Kanash.

However, the HGK Association points out that they do not blame anyone and that everyone understands the current epidemiological situation and measures. "We are aware that various events are the first target when measures are taken. But we hope that there will be equal understanding on the part of the Government, given that our revenues this year are zero kuna as a direct result of these anti-epidemiological measures. So, this year we are not allowed to earn on our own and get away from the burden of the state, and we are not used to living on help ", Kanaš continues and believes that they cannot have the same treatment as others who have managed to do something in this difficult year for the entire economy on a global level. "We will feel it for years to come because employee education, team building programs, incentives and business travel are the first cuts companies make in a recession and without health risks", Says Kanaš and emphasizes that after the recession in 2008, the recovery of congress tourism took almost five years

In addition to the measures for jobs that they expect in the same amount of HRK 4000, which have so far "kept their heads above water", the Community of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce is proposing additional grants in the amount of 10% of traffic turnover in 2019, as Denmark did to compensated its organizers.

The uncertainty posed by the inability to determine when the pandemic will end is exacerbated by the fact that measures to support job preservation are defined from month to month, making it impossible to plan a long-term strategy to overcome the crisis. Therefore, they hope that the next decisions of the Government will go in the direction of adopting CES measures by April 2021. 

The congress industry and all business travel in general are an important segment of tourism, but also of the overall Croatian economy because its consumption and long-term stability is a significant generator of inflows to domestic hotels, congress centers, restaurants and transport companies most affected by this pandemic. The average delegate spends significantly more on professional training than holiday tourists, even up to 5 times, so the loss for the national income from tourism due to not holding the congress will be all the greater. 

Photo: Eduardo Romero, Pexels.com

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