At the recently held Summit 100
Business Forum in Sarajevo, many topics of contemporary relevance
for the region of Southeast Europe were expectedly touched upon. Be
it the supply of sustainable energy, the position of women in
business, or the issues related to infrastructure & transport
conditions, it was an opportunity for a number of prominent experts
and government officials to weigh in with their opinions on how to
improve the overall business situation in our region. However, one
of the greatest impressions from the conference have been the
discussions on the mobility of goods and people within our region,
as well as the respective implications. Having in mind the
beginning of summer being just a few days away, perhaps the most
illustrative example in this regard can be the tourism industry and
the ways in which it has been – or potentially can be –
affected by such regulatory frameworks of SEE countries.
If we were to take a macro perspective on the issue, there are
many specific aspects of the tourism industry that should be
outlined. A front-running one, in this sense, being the fact that
it is currently the world's fastest growing industry, thus
showing its undisputed potential on a global scale. Moreover,
taking into account tourism's inherent multi-disciplinary
qualities – the fact that it currently offers every
11th job opening in the world – as well as the way
in which it contributes to other spheres of a country or
region's economy through transportation, hospitality, and even
national branding, the said potential only proves itself to be
further grounded in the tangible factors of contemporary life.
However, if we were to look into the state of affairs in our
region in this regard, one must pause and question the seemingly
shallow depth of involvement with this matter. Even though Slovenia
and Croatia have managed to capitalise on their natural resources
and had their tourism industry thrive in a national context, such
activities haven't been conducted on a regional level. The
question here is why, considering the wide-reaching potentials that
organised and regulated cooperation could bring to everyone
involved. Looking at numbers, Croatia and Montenegro lead the way
in terms of offering seasonal employment to people in the region,
but rather through convenience than through intentional regulation.
The issue of regulation in this regard can further be illustrated
by the fact that in Macedonia – another country with
significant tourism potentials – the employment regulations
make no distinction between candidates from neighbouring and remote
countries. Furthermore, another factor that should be taken into
consideration when advocating for a regional based offer of tourism
services is the aspect of seasonality. Despite each of the
countries being undoubtedly rich with natural resources, none of
them – barring Slovenia to a certain extent – have such
a complete offer that can span across a calendar year through a
fusion of beaches and seaside, as well as spas, mountain resorts
and skiing. A region-wide effort to complement each other is
something worth exploring further, en route to reaching a unique
region wide non-seasonal tourism offer , giving each country a
chance to participate with their own offer for the sake of greater
benefit, while at the same time allowing for seemingly needed
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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