Monday, August 02, 2004

August Bounce

In the same way they had presented Blaškić's (Blaskic's) 9-year prison sentence for war crimes as triumph of an innocent man, Croatian media gave another positive spin to otherwise bad or prosaic news. In late July and early August Croatian tourist officials reported that 5% increase in number of foreign tourists compared with the same period of the last year. This increase is supposed to be excellent news, yet again fuelling the hopes of tourism-based prosperity that had eluded Croatia since independence.

This August bounce is good news, but it shouldn't be overplayed. 5% increase in early August in most likelihood won't mean 5% increase for the whole tourist season. Due to exceptionally cold, rainy and wet weather, June and July were utterly disappointing. It is too early to tell whether this relatively small gain in the season's peak could compensate for the earlier losses. In most likelihood, all those who work in tourist industry aren't going to have fond memories of this summer.

Bad weather in June and July of 2004 is going to be just another in the long series of convenient excuses – Kosovo War, WTC attacks, Iraq War - for the failure of Croatia's tourist miracle.

If Croatia really wants to make some money of tourism, this should require more effort than simply expecting legions of foreigners to spend all their time at the beaches and all their money on accommodation.


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