December 28, 2021 – Croatia has more than 300 directors of tourism offices across the country, most of them on permanent contracts. An interesting initiative from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports could change all that.
I’m not holding my breath – this is Croatia after all – but could a much needed overhaul of the outdated and inefficient tourist board system be considered?
A new law obliging all 300+ directors of Croatia tourism boards, including the director of the Croatian National Tourism Board, to participate in a tender to re-apply for their jobs. And rather than – in most cases – a lifetime job, a fixed term of just four years.
And not just that, but some crazy requirements such as successful applicants having to know at least one foreign language. I immediately think of 15 tourism office directors that I have met during my travels and who do not meet this requirement.
More details in Lauren’s translation of Poslovni Dnevnik by Marija Crnjak below, but if adopted, it could be a huge step forward for Croatian tourism.
I am often criticized for my criticism of Croatian tourism, and many assume that I am against all tourist boards. I am not at all.
Some of the best people in Croatian tourism work within the official system, and some of the local and regional tourism boards that do the best work are TCN partners, and some are not. Once we accept that the Croatian National Tourism Board in its current state and management is an irrelevant institution, a closer look at the excellence of official tourism promotion shows many examples.
The award-winning public-private partnership between Saltwater Nomads, TCN and the Zagreb and Dubrovnik Tourist Boards for Zagreb Digital Nomads Week and the Dubrovnik Digital Nomads in Residence program are two examples. But there are other heroes in much smaller destinations like Stari Grad in Hvar which is one of the big success stories in tourism transformation. And even my beloved Jelsa, where my fierce review of the tourist board in 2015 first drew national attention to TCN. Even though I have no relationship with the Jelsa Tourist Office today, I am the first to recognize the excellent work of the new manager.
These tourist office directors have nothing to fear from the new law.
But in addition to the number of tourist office managers who do not speak another language, I have met others who have been in office for 25 years and who do not yet have their tourist office website. in English. Others, who have held the position for more than 20 years, started directly at university, without any experience in tourism or the world.
There is so much life, and so much deadwood, in the official tourist board system, that such an overhaul can only be a good thing. Of course, since this is Croatia, the four-year term has the potential to be politicized, with the post given as a thank-you from the local mayor. Safeguards against this would be more than desirable. But everything is surely better than the current system.
And I like that non-tourism experts can apply as well, as long as they have double the experience. A sharp mind, experience in other fields, and the right mindset are far more important and relevant than those offered by some of today’s “qualified” directors.
Damn, I might just apply myself. If elected, my first move might be to ban the practice of SLAPP prosecutions to silence annoying big bloggers – such a judicious use of public promotion money I saw during my time in Croatia.
A great initiative, congratulations to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and something TCN will follow with interest. And now…
As Poslovni Dnevnik / Marija Crnjak writes on December 28, 2021 – As part of the implementation of the new law on tourist offices, the Ministry of Tourism took an unexpected decision – in the first days of 2022, to New tenders are to be announced for the selection of the 300 directors of the country’s tourist offices, including the director of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ).
After the resignation of those in their current positions, all directors can participate in a new call for tenders / competition if they wish. In addition to this, the employment status of new directors will change significantly. Instead of the open-ended contracts that everyone now has, fixed-term contracts will now be concluded for four years.
These are some of the details that lie in the interpretation of the part of the law that has been in force since the beginning of last year, that is, the part that regulates the work of the director of the ‘Tourist Office. All tourist offices received a document last Friday with an interpretation from the Ministry of Tourism, Poslovni Dnevnik learned.
They did not expect such a procedure, and this interpretation therefore created great confusion within the tourist office system, and some of them have already hired lawyers to investigate possible violations of Croatian work. Poslovni’s interlocutors consider this decision of the ministry harmful.
The new criteria for hiring new directors of the Tourist Board, which are proposed in the new ordinance, which was under public debate until yesterday, are also controversial, and the main news is that the directors may be people without experience. whether in the field of tourism. The Ministry of Tourism sees nothing controversial or new in this, because with these changes all tourist offices will harmonize their activities with the law, as they should have harmonized their acts and structure until now.
Poslovni’s interlocutors from the tourism industry don’t see a big problem here either. If the law mandates that warrants be introduced, which is a good tool for quality control and work results, it should be enforced one way or another. However, they do not know if the part that infringes on labor rights is skillfully executed and how people with no experience in tourism will manage to get the job done.
“There are a number of inconsistencies in the interpretation of the law relating to the election of the director of the Tourist Office, which we received at the last minute after many months of waiting. We believe we have reasons in the first place to delay the implementation of this law, and we are working on implementation changes that violate a number of labor rights. What is being done is certainly not a reorganization of the labor system. the tourist office, but the collapse of quality and further politicization Terms of employment We risk finding ourselves without the best people in the system, who will either be replaced or have no reason to apply for a job. call for tenders for a fixed-term job, ”say Poslovno’s interlocutors within the Tourist Board System.
The new law on tourist offices was passed in May 2019, with effect from January 1, 2020, while the provision relating to the establishment of four-year terms for directors should be introduced from January 1, 2022.
However, this new law does not specify the procedure and does not say anywhere when the re-election competitions are to take place. Article 22 of the law only says that the director of a tourist office is appointed by the tourism board for a period of four years, it sets out the powers of the director, including the fact that the director is the one who announces competitions and public calls for tenders for jobs in the tourist office.
“Given that the provision of article 22, which provides that the director of a tourist office is appointed by the tourism board for a period of four years, comes into force on January 1, 2022, the legal conditions for launching a competition / call for tenders for the director (s) of tourist offices were all met. All tourist offices must act in accordance with the provisions of the law, ” the ministry said in response to a request for additional information. They also noted that the former directors of tourist offices did not have a mandate, so it cannot even expire.
They also clarified that with the entry into force of this law, the post of director of a tourist office for which no mandate has been prescribed ceases to exist, which means that it is necessary to announce a competition / call for tenders for all directors.
And after the elections? Whoever is re-elected gets a fixed-term contract, and whoever is not elected will be offered another job in the office. If there is no room or if nothing is offered, cancellation is also an option. The ministry explained that the job of the director is regulated by the labor law and that the employer, in this case the tourist office, is responsible for its implementation.
As has since been discovered, in this process the termination with the offer of a modified contract of article 115 of the ZOR (Labor Law / Zakon o Radu) will be applied for the current directors. As indicated there, the provisions of the law relating to dismissal also apply in the event that the employer himself terminates a contract and at the same time offers the employee to conclude an employment contract under other modified conditions.
However, according to Article 107, an employer can terminate an employment contract if he has a valid reason for doing so, including dismissal in the event that the need to perform certain work ceases for economic, technical reasons. or organizational (a company – corresponding dismissal).
Such a scenario is realistic for small tourist offices, where there will be no room or budget for another employee. Who will be the new administrators of the Tourist Office? According to people in the system, the ordinance on the special conditions to be met by employees of tourist offices goes in the direction of a degradation of the profession.
Besides the fact that no one needs to have experience in tourism to take on this role, in addition to formal education, the criteria are knowledge of a foreign language (for regional directors, and for the CNTB , knowledge of yet another) and computer skills. Today, it is the basics of literacy and not specific skills, according to Poslovni interlocutors, who find it inconceivable that people who have nothing to do with tourism can access such important positions.
The ministry says that the special conditions of employment of directors in tourist offices have not been relaxed.
You can read more about the worthlessness of the Croatian National Tourist Board in Ever been to a party where the host is chasing you?