Is tourism "good, bad or evil" for the Croatian economy?
Estimates and views of our economic experts vary between two extremes, from the fact that Croatia would be like Switzerland without it, or like some of our eastern neighbors (no offense, we are talking exclusively about the economy).
The fact is that we can’t really know what it would be like, it’s all speculation. At the same time, it is realistically meaningless to think what it would be like if there was nothing that has been there since we know about ourselves.
It is also economically indisputable that tourism is a logical strategic commitment for Croatia due to the comparative advantages we have.
However, tourism is considered at the highest levels, as many second-year economics students do, ie let the market determine and regulate it, guided by the motto that more is better in principle than less, without a holistic view of the economy.
It’s naive, dangerous, thinking.
The real question we need to ask ourselves (ie we should have asked ourselves a long time ago) is, what do we really want from tourism (but also from other sectors)?
And we never gave an answer to that question. For example, is more revenue from international tourism more valuable to the economy as a whole than more quality jobs? Can tourism as we know it survive in the long run without quality jobs and adequate compensation?
Because we never even asked ourselves that question, today, convinced that everything is actually good as it grows, we are plunging deeper and deeper into market imbalances where the interest of “shareholders” was above all else. And the shareholders themselves were not aware that they were only part of a larger system in which they depended on everyone else being “good” to make the system sustainable. I would say, a lack of general economic knowledge on the part of resourceful but short-sighted traders who sniffed out the opportunity.
It is unfortunate in all this that Croatia is essentially the size of a large international corporation that, with the resources we have, could function like a Swiss watch (again, the Swiss).
Author: Prof. dr. sc. Josip Mikulić
Photo: Vitalii Dobrianskyi, Pexels.com / Illustration: HrTurizam.hr