Nedo Pinezić: Turismophobia

first_imgWhen Tim Clancy, an expert on mountain tourism and sustainable and responsible tourism development, sent me a short video report from Spain about the new emergence of demonstrations against tourism and tourists, I first encountered the term “tourismphobia”.I have to admit that the work seems a bit intimidating. The main epicenters of hostility towards tourism and tourists are Barcelona and Mallorca. The protests are led by the extreme left-wing organization Arran. In addition to demonstrations shouting slogans and carrying banners against tourists and tourism, several incidents were reported: throwing smoke bombs at a restaurant, raiding a tourist bus, intimidating tourists by masked protesters, cutting tires on tourists’ bicycles… Uncomfortable, uncomfortable and combined with the recent terrorist attacks in Spain may be detrimental to the tourism future of some destinations like Barcelona.HUGE HOTEL CAPACITIESSome media hastened to blame Airbnb for everything, because it has multiplied the offer of capacity for rent in private apartments, houses. Interestingly, of the many OTA platforms, only Airbnb is named. However, the spokesman of the protesters, Pau Pico, stated another reason for creating “tourism phobia”: “We want to stop the destruction of space and the exploitation of the working class by the hotel industry“. In Barcelona, ​​which has a population of 1,5 million, Booking.com alone offers accommodation in 303 hotels. The same portal offers accommodation in Mallorca in 382 hotels, 20 resorts, 12 hostels, 90 apartments, 6 villas, etc. Mallorca and Barcelona together have more hotel capacity than our entire country. The whole of Croatia has about 600 hotels.HIGH RATE OF UNEMPLOYED YOUNG PEOPLEIt sounds paradoxical that one of the most developed tourist countries in Europe has one of the highest rates of unemployed young people under the age of 25. A large number of young Spaniards in search of a better life are leaving Spain, before Brexit primarily to the UK, and now Germany is the number one destination. The reason is simple – the tourism industry usually offers only the possibility of seasonal employment. Even if you work in tourism, salaries are low with a lot of overtime in difficult conditions. The bad impacts of tourism on the lives of the local population accumulate over years, decades and once they exceed the limit of endurance – reports “tourism phobia”.LIMITATIONS, GROWTH ZONE GROWTH AND NEW DISSATISFACTIONSBarcelona has already introduced a moratorium on issuing permits for the construction of new hotels, but in the absence of capacity and investment opportunities, investors are renting and buying apartments and offering them, illegally, to the tourist market. Usurped residential neighborhoods, residential areas occupied by noisy tourists, are a new reason for the dissatisfaction of the local population. The mayor is threatening draconian penalties, they have filed a lawsuit against Airbnb, issued ordinances banning the rental of apartments to tourists, but nothing has affected the reduction of traffic to terrorist attacks and demonstrations against tourists. Barcelona is simply too popular, everyone wants to experience it, for years it was among the top 10 destinations in the world. Finally, “tourism phobia” and terrorism result in declining demand and falling prices in all types of accommodation. If this negative process continues, it could provoke new dissatisfaction of all those who have focused their work on services related to the mass arrival of tourists.Tourism should not be a goal but a means to achieve a goal – a better standard of living for the local population – Nedo Pinezić”TOURISMOPHOBIA” IN CROATIAAt the peak of this tourist season, some media in Croatia, encouraged by the news from Spain, started a story about the excessive impact of tourists on our coast, which creates unwanted crowds, problems with infrastructure and blamed everything – family accommodation. Family accommodation in Croatia, as well as Airbnb in Spain, have allegedly escaped control and are the main reason for the excessive number of tourists who disrupt the normal course of life in our tourist destinations. The media spins call for an end to capacity growth in family accommodation, a moratorium on new categorization solutions and similar moves until hotel capacity becomes the predominant type of accommodation.According to such a proposal, 200.000 beds should be built in about 200 hotel resorts and at the same time the same number of beds in households should be “removed from the market”. Just over 30.000 households should stop hosting guests. Camps that can accommodate up to 10.000 tourists in one day, for now, are not the subject of media “questioning” the justification of existence. Efforts to turn the Croatian coast into a Spanish one are nothing new. Joint domestic and foreign consultants have been advocating for this for a long time, by chance from Spain and from Barcelona.IF YOU DON’T HAVE A CLEAR GOAL – IT’S GOOD EVERY TIMEPlacing tourism in the place of an independent industry that is viewed solely through profit glasses is the most common mistake made by economic planners. Tourism should not be a goal but a means to an end – a better standard of living for the local population. It seems that even in the time of dictator Franco in Spain, the foundation was laid for this first way of developing tourism, which flourished and eroded itself for years. “Big traffic – low earnings”, others would say, and the local population, reduced to seasonal workers and extras, pressed by numerous communal problems, will say that there is no benefit from such tourism, which was exemplary for us in Croatia until yesterday.It is becoming increasingly clear that the centers of power see Croatia as an ideal position for building all kinds of residences for spending free time. Big money is fleeing politically unstable and undemocratic countries and seeking refuge in an area where it would quickly wash away and even make a profit. The bill is disturbed by the “natives” who dared to receive tourists in their homes in a legal way, so the construction of new accommodation facilities does not fit very well into the planning tables. The goal of a policy that would plan to introduce a higher real estate tax rate for legally rented apartments and houses and that would “recategorize” tens of thousands of households through “recategorization” would certainly not be demographic renewal, raising the living standards of the local population, staying young people in Croatia in the homes of their ancestors.Such a policy could be said to have missed the main goals of the survival of a nation that is disappearing at an ever-increasing pace. Or would the goal be to accelerate the liberation of Croatia from its citizens? I hope that such a policy will not take root and that Croatia will not be brought into a state of real “tourism phobia” in the Spanish way.Published by: Nedo Pinezićlast_img read more