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Family micro-entrepreneurship in tourism – a matter of survival

first_imgThe Croatian Chamber of Commerce, which awarded me a special recognition for my contribution to the promotion of micro-entrepreneurship, expires in 1852 as the year of its founding, so I took a look at the history books…The first major exodus of the population”Life on the Croatian coast and islands is fading. People leave “belly for bread”, villages are left without inhabitants, the army without soldiers, the state without income, the country is exposed to every robbery at the mercy of… The year is 1890. It has been 17 years since connecting Rijeka and Vienna by rail, 46 years since the construction of the first summer house and 32 years since the construction of the first hotel in Opatija. A year ago, Opatija was officially declared a climatic health resort. Phylloxera took over, destroying viticulture – the economic basis of the coast and islands. This final blow after the collapse of the sailing ship in 1864, started a real exodus of the population of the coastal and island areas. “This was the socio – economic framework for the beginning of the development of tourism on the Adriatic in the form as we know it today.Good transport infrastructure is a prerequisite for developmentThe state (then) developed the most modern transport infrastructure of the time in order to quickly, efficiently and in large numbers bring people from the continent to “the most beautiful sea coast in the world”. In 1901, the narrow-gauge railway connecting the Dubrovnik littoral, Dubrovnik with the network of railways leading to Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Paris and even Istanbul was completed. At the beginning of the 20th century, 131 places on the Croatian coast and islands were connected by daily ferry lines that maintained more than 150 ships. Along the coastal voyage from Rijeka to Kotor lasted 26,5 hours and took place “non-stop” with two large passenger ships.Development of EntrepreneurshipIn addition to entrepreneurial ventures in shipping, entrepreneurial ventures in tourism also took place. In addition to joint stock companies in both segments, great contribution was made by enterprising individuals who, together with their families, encouraged by efficient state administration, launched entrepreneurial ventures worthy of admiration even today. For example, in 1904 the Society for the Beautification of Places in Baška (the forerunner of today’s tourist board) was founded, and in 1906 the first hotel “Zvonimir”, of the Tudor family. Until 1912, the Grandić family built the “Grandić” hotel, the Matejčić family the “Praha” hotel, the Gaistlich family the “Baška” hotel, the Volarić family, and the “Volarić” hotel. A similar development can be seen in a number of well-known tourist destinations on the Adriatic today. From the very beginning of tourism development, the first accommodation was “private”, ie family. Thus, history records the first written trace of the stay of Emperor Francis Joseph with the Gozz family in Dubrovnik in 1818. In 1910, a local newspaper recorded an unprecedented crowd in March when the city was flooded with tourists, filling all hotels and knocking on doors from house to house looking for accommodation. …Planned and guided tourism developmentTourism first developed where the railway came from, in Opatija, then in Dubrovnik. However, thanks to good transport connections by sea, it quickly spread throughout the Croatian coast and islands through excursions and then longer stays. The state (then) understood tourism as a lever for the development of an economically weak area. Strategic encouragement of tourism development had a great impact on the rest of the population in these areas, in fact, due to tourism, enterprising people from all countries of the then Austro-Hungarian monarchy came to the coast and islands and with their work, investments and knowledge transfer laid the foundations of what we call successful today. tourism.War and a new social order are suppressing entrepreneurshipUntil the Second World War, tourism in our country developed on the same basis as in Austria, Switzerland, Italy… However, after the Second World War, private entrepreneurship was banned, the market economy was abolished, hotels were nationalized. The only form of micro-entrepreneurship in tourism remained related to the then “home crafts” and catering in the segment of food and beverages. Both forms of entrepreneurship were limited in capacity, employees, and under the strict control of this “capitalist element” by the powerful state. This situation lasted from 1945 to 1991, when the socio-economic system of the sovereign Republic of Croatia changed. The disaster of the new war brought new suffering to people and property. Once private, then nationalized hotels, they suffered damage again and changed owners and appearance during the period of transformation and privatization. Most of these are renovated modern hotels owned by joint stock companies today. One part of these buildings still stands neglected and abandoned. Recovering from all the war and post-war disasters, Croatian tourism is returning to the paths of old glory only at the turn of the millennium. Micro-entrepreneurship, especially family entrepreneurship, only in a few years continues its development where it was violently stopped in 1941.Transport connection – public transportIn the past 20 years, the Croatian authorities have also built a good road transport infrastructure, and air transport is encouraged. In maritime along coastal and coastal-island traffic, progress has been made with the introduction of high-speed lines and modern ferries, although there is still considerable room for improvement. Attempts have also been made by seaplane connectivity, experimenting with the concession of small lines, but it seems that we have not yet reached the required level of line frequency and reasonable prices to be able to establish significant progress from the situation at the time of this text. On land in public local and intercity transport, the situation is perhaps the worst. If you do not live in the center of a larger city, without your own car you become immobile, in fact, your life returns to the level of mobility two centuries ago. This traffic disconnection is also one of the main reasons why some destinations are bypassed by tourists in the off-season.History repeats itselfToday, Croatia is reliving long-ago difficult moments. The population is in an accelerated exodus. Modern Phylloxera – the Croatian model of transformation and privatization and partnership capitalism have again destroyed the economic basis of a large part of the country. Tens of thousands of jobs have been cut. Small shipyards, agricultural cooperatives, factories, textile industry plants, petrochemical, metal processing plants, hotel complexes were closed… You will surely remember the examples of once well-established companies from their immediate surroundings that were strangely shut down… The wrong model of economic development comes into this time to charge. In addition to “Phylloxere”, there is a new “steam engine” – digital technology. The steam engine once destroyed sailing ships and the entire industry related to these ships, the digital era is slowly closing an increasing number of business premises, offices, shops, retail chains – all places of purchase of products and services that are increasingly ordered and bought “online”. History repeats itself but not quite literally, unfortunately. During the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the efficient state bureaucracy revived the Croatian coast and islands in twenty years. Today’s bureaucratic apparatus, by accumulating legal and sub-legal obstacles, fiscal and parafiscal levies, achieves the effect of suppressing any desire for independent business. “Rolling” into the public sector has become a national sport in which “excellents”, individuals with a political “pedigree”, win. Others, disappointed and discouraged, buy non-refundable tickets for the future in a different environment.Micro entrepreneur – super heroBeing a family micro-entrepreneur in any business and in any form of registration, today, here, is tantamount to a heroic endeavor. Only a man with superhero traits can fight laws, levies, financing, business development at the same time. For such a working day has 16 hours, a week 7 days, a year 364 sleepless nights…All Croatian authorities, however many they have been to this day, have not understood the lesson of the past – the state consists of three equally important basic elements: a certain territory, a sovereign government and a permanent population. Tourism is now understood as an industry for making extra profits of desirable owners of privatized hotels, good “chargers” of the budget at all levels of public government, using the work of fluctuating seasonal workers. At the same time, modern economic planners have completely neglected the “third element” of statehood – permanent residents.Family micro-entrepreneurship in tourism is a model, a means of staying and survival of the permanent population in areas endangered by depopulation. By tying families to the land, to the home while ensuring their existence, the survival of small towns, rural areas, in fact most of Croatia, is achieved. The micro-entrepreneur first employs his family, then relatives, neighbors and other neighbors and, if necessary, additional employees in the high employment season. One small family hotel provides 15 permanent jobs and another 15 seasonal ones. 2.000 such hotels would revive the Croatian coast and islands, employ 30.000 people directly and permanently, and as many more occasionally. Behind each employee stands a family that would have a settled basic existence and a reason to stay in the place they love the most. We would have satisfied and professional employees in tourism. Earnings would be “overflowed” from tourism into additional facilities in the place, it would be invested in agricultural production because this model of development is slower, generational but more stable. This development is not only family development but also community development. Our coastal towns would look like Austrian villages. Croatia would no longer be full of life only when it is “full of tourism”, but the autochthonous rhythm of life in small towns would take place continuously throughout the year.Tourism is not an end in itself, it is a means to a better lifeIn order to achieve all the positive effects, tourism must be understood as a means to an end. The goal is a good life for the local community and primarily the permanent population. Happy and content, well-off individual = happy, content and well-off society. If we develop thousands of micro-entrepreneurs, some will fail, some will re-emerge, but development will not stop because of the “thousand little wheels”, most of them will always be in operation.Croatia needs a completely new paradigm of social and economic development. It must all start with the family as the basic economic and social unit of society. Entrepreneurial ideas emerge in the family that need to be supported and guided. Tourism as a means of achieving the survival of Croatia must be especially encouraged, stimulated, even privileged. Can political elites understand and accept this today? Judging by the increase in VAT on catering from 10 to 13% and then in just two months from 13 to 25%, it is difficult.Published by: Nedo Pinezić<br />
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