Expectations from the tourist season are more optimistic than last year, but the key is the epidemiological situation and the readiness of destinations to provide the highest level of service and convince tourists that they are safe, commented the director of Rixos Premium Dubrovnik Ayhan Basci, for HINA.
"More tourist arrivals and hotel reservations in Dubrovnik can be expected from the end of June and in July, when we could see the first results of the opening of new airlines from the USA, Moscow, Poland, Ukraine, Israel, Paris, Lyon, Luxembourg and others,” said Basci.
Basci noted that countries such as Spain, Greece, Portugal and others have undertaken numerous promotional and other activities for the summer to attract tourists, while when asked about the offer and prices he says that in Dubrovnik, as elsewhere, prices are higher than last year.
High hotel prices an indication of higher demand
"This is not uncommon given the circumstances. Higher prices are an indicator of an expected higher demand this summer. Other Rixos hotels in the United Arab Emirates or Turkey, have similar prices. However, this season will be more specific in terms of what security and safety destinations can provide guests, not at the cost of accommodation,” Basci added.
Regarding tourist demand he believes that countries that have approached the vaccination process seriously and where it is taking place without delay should not have problems with the number of reservations and tourist arrivals.
"It is extremely important for each of us today that travel is safe. Tourism and hospitality workers should provide their guests with added value, offering the highest quality, from top gastronomy to entertainment, nature tours and more, and destinations that offer selective forms of tourism will be more successful and competitive even after a pandemic,” he added.
Shortcomings of Croatian tourism
He pointed out that the biggest advantage of Croatia is its beauty with untouched Mediterranean nature, recognizable history, heritage and culture, which is why it is regularly placed on the lists of the world's most desirable destinations, and is a member of the EU.
"I see certain shortcomings of Croatian tourism in the limited number of high-quality tourist and catering staff, which is the result of a large number of young people leaving the country for economic reasons. Therefore, Croatia should be more open to foreign workers," Basci said.
He added that in the offer of luxury tourism, high-paying guests must be provided with added value not only through services but also continuous review and improvement of their own capacities in order to provide the best to guests.
Stronger synergy between private and public sector needed
Therefore, according to him, a stronger synergy of the private and public sectors is needed, which should cooperate more in the management of the destination and agreeing on minimum standards for all levels of services, which everyone then follows and implements.
“This would lead to year-round tourism that Croatia can have, so for example Dubrovnik and other famous destinations should be open all year round and provide services continuously,” says Basci.
"For example, Dubrovnik currently differs from the Cote d'Azur in that this French destination can be reached by airline at any time of the year, and hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping and more are available in winter. If this level of service availability was ensured in Dubrovnik, we would certainly have guests in the winter as well, which would result in a number of benefits for the local population and the economy as a whole,” said the hotelier.
Luxury tourism for the destination has many advantages
Noting that the Rixos group has been present in Dubrovnik with one hotel for more than 16 years, and that 150 million Kuna was invested in its renovation last year, which was the highest for Dubrovnik tourism last year, Basci added that they are ready to receive guests looking for luxury a five-star lifestyle hotel.
"The challenges posed to the tourism sector by the coronavirus pandemic have adversely affected the business of the Rixos Group, as well as other businesses operating in the field of tourism. However, I am proud that none of the 180 full-time employees at Rixos Premium Dubrovnik were released, despite the fact that the hotel was empty,” Basci pointed out.
"The public and private sectors should join forces and through destination management strengthen the move towards the development of the luxury segment of the market, in which there is no place for mass tourism. Luxury tourism for the destination has many advantages, especially in the context of sustainability and minimizing environmental and community impact,” said the Dubrovnik hotel director.
Asked whether Rixos is considering or planning a new acquisition or investment in Croatia, Basci said he is always analysing market opportunities, but also that it would make it easier for entrepreneurs who want to do business in Croatia, including the hotel industry, to simplify the entire investment system and related administrative steps.