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Power of Tourism

from my interview with Paul Bradbury for Total Croatia News


Tourism has many faces. It is a huge industry that is growing faster than the world’s overall economy. The number of people who can afford to travel is going to double by 2030, estimates suggest. It is hard to imagine anything stopping this trend other than some cataclysmic events. Reasons for this growth are numerous, from the obvious economic ones to the subtler psychological ones. Travel is one of the emotional industries, and it will grow. While the future will certainly be defined by technology, the future for humans will be nevertheless more emotional than technological. This might sound paradoxical, but I am sure of this. We have already enough evidence in the current narrative which is to a point religionizing the travel industry. 


On the receiving end of this tide of tourism are the most beautiful places in the world, which we by chance got to occupy as well. Some are unhappy on how it has been unfolding over the years, citing the deurbanization of the traditional city centers, pollution and rapid changes that come with it. There are some truths to this, but changes are happening mainly due to technology, pollution is something that can be dealt with by raising the awareness and the deurbanization is not an irreversible process. More often than not people that have sold old houses in the city centers have made for themselves more comfortable living than before. This is not a tirade in defense of all things that come with tourism, but a small reminder that the only people who can reverse these negative trends are us, people who are living here. And we can do that by promoting excellence, supporting small producers and raising the bar when it comes to experiential and transformational forms of travel and tourism. That is the new luxury.


In Dalmatia, we have seen all of these faces of tourism, and we have seen different reactions. Most of the people are waiting for someone to come up with the set of rules and bar this and prohibit that, romanticizing about days gone by and being just the passive observers to these processes. Yet, this is not the case everywhere. In Stari Grad we are seeing an increasing interest in the development of high-end hospitality establishments. Besides our project, there is much more publicized Four Seasons project as well as Valamar hotel in the place of Helios hotels. I am sure more will come with time. The local authorities with Mayor Škarpa have shown great interest in pursuing these type of projects, that are both culturally and naturally conscious and take into account local dynamics and heritage.

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