FOOD, WATER, ENERGY – BASIC LIVING RESOURCES Wondering what this has to do with tourism? For years, tourism has provided a balanced socio-economic picture of the country with sufficient income for a minimum of social rights for every citizen of the Republic of Croatia. Tourism is carried by thousands of small “invisible” participants at all levels of service. These people worked for themselves and for the community for as long as they could. We’re talking about decades. Now is the time to think about those people as well. Author: Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.com “Renters”, as it is called by the citizens of the Republic of Croatia and EU countries, as well as EEPs that provide accommodation services to tourists in their real estate have not been perceived as a population in need of assistance. According to the records of the Croatian National Tourist Board, this service is provided by slightly more than 100.000 work permit holders who have slightly more than 600.000 beds and make up about 50% of all overnight stays in the Republic of Croatia. It is not uncommon to “not see a forest from a tree”, so in recent years all the force of the media supported by members of the academic community has “pointed the finger” at these “kulaks” who are outrageously rich with “miserable tax obligations”. THOSE WHO HAVE TAKEN CARE OF THEMSELVES SO FAR WILL NEED HELP Usually people who make lump sum grades find examples of their claims in their immediate environment. Probably knowing individuals who have invested a lot of money in fashionable villas, without actually being permanent residents of tourist places, they used this example of “attackers on renters” as the main motive for a completely failed theory. The vast majority of modest but important “renters” remained invisible. LACK OF TOURISM INCOME AT LEAST 50.000 HOUSEHOLDS ENTER POVERTY As the coronary virus pandemic does not subside, so do economic problems. The first recorded problems were caused by supply chain disruptions in many industries and the passenger transport sector stopped almost completely. Tourist trips were the first to face the abyss of crisis. Hoteliers and caterers too. There are also travel agencies and many others…. These phenomena were promptly pointed out and reacted to fairly quickly. According to a survey published on 30.3. in a sample of 2.200 respondents, 90% of “renters” already feel the consequences of the “crown of the crisis”, 60% of them estimate the damage at HRK 50.000. This coincides with the average annual income of households providing accommodation to tourists. 42% of respondents own only one accommodation unit, and 20% of them have categorized 4 permanent beds. Again close to the Croatian average of 6 beds per solution. What we have written about several times and what we have warned about, was shown in the results of this survey. As many as 47% of all respondents are retired, and 40% of respondents stated that without the stated income they will not be able to “make ends meet”. MOST LESSORS ESTIMATE FINANCIAL DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF HRK 50.000 DUE TO THE CONSEQUENCES OF CORONAVIRUS POVERTY BORDER CROSSING In retirement households, even when two members receive an average pension, that income is also lower than the average “consumer basket” and one average net salary. This is a devastating fact that is already well known. So far, however, the fact that about 50.000 retirement households and almost 100.000 retirees have been self-sustaining thanks to tourism revenues has been ignored. That’s not all. Numerous seasonal workers, those in disability and early retirement, and even those without any other income, were “helped” by “renting”. These people with no income from tourism will need help to survive. COUNTRY ON EXAM Thanks to the persistence of Martina Nimac Kalcin, president of the Family Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce conducted a more serious survey of the structure of “renters” and the impact of the “crown of the crisis” on their lives. “INVISIBLE” PEOPLE – INVISIBLE PROBLEM While 1/3 of the respondents state, apart from “renting”, business and through crafts or companies, also related to tourism, so they can use the adopted special measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, pensioners- “renters have nothing to hope for. They have been “invisible” so far. THE CRISIS REVEALS THE TRUTH Will basic foodstuffs, energy, drinking water be available to everyone? With what will it pay? How to ensure self-sufficiency? Can Croatia employ everything at its disposal to provide basic resources to each of its inhabitants in the coming difficult period? Does Croatia have to import 50% of food? Who manages water sources? Is the “smoldering idea” of privatization of the Croatian electricity industry a smart idea? These are the basic questions that arise these days. So far, it is the retirees on the Adriatic, but also all those in the cities and on the continent who in recent years have begun to engage in “renting”, “fixing” their pensions with income from tourism. Why is that so ? According to the data for 2018, the average pension amounted to HRK 2.500,00, but as many as 50% of pensioners have a pension of up to HRK 2.000,00. If we take the value of the average pension of HRK 2.500,00 multiplied by 12 months, we will receive an annual income of HRK 30.000. If we add to that the average annual income from “renting” in the amount of HRK 45.000,00, we will get the total income of pensioners of HRK 75.000,00 for a year. This is a monthly income of HRK 6.250,00, which is slightly less than the average net salary in the Republic of Croatia (HRK 6.448,00). Basic social resources will have to be provided for all socially vulnerable sections of the population in the coming period. Energy, water and food are of strategic importance for the survival of the population. These are resources that must be controlled by the people of the elected government. These resources should be made available to every inhabitant of the Republic of Croatia in times of crisis. No one should be hungry, thirsty and without energy. That is why we have state monopolies, state reserves, in times of crisis and a system of vouchers to “pay” for these resources. These resources must be provided on time, on their own and in sufficient quantities. Their availability must not depend on imports or on the will and price of the private sector. CARING FOR THE “INVISIBLE” The first goal is to preserve jobs with a measure of compensation for the minimum wage for those who are disabled in business. In addition, there are measures of deferral, ie forgiveness of tax payments, salary payments. The flat-rate tourist tax was reduced by 50%, and the one on extra beds was abolished. The “Gordian knot” with the income tax is still being resolved and relief measures by local self-government units are awaited. When we compare the price of the basic monthly “consumer basket”, which in 2018 amounted to HRK 7.533,31, we see that with these incomes we should get used to sacrifices for survival. But what happens when the monthly income remains at the level of HRK 2.500,00 or less? The threshold for “entering the poverty zone” in 2018 was an annual income of HRK 29.820,00. This means that pensioners who receive a pension of HRK 2.500,00 or less live at the border or in poverty. RELATED NEWS: In times of crisis, special measures are taken. We feel them on a daily basis through the living conditions prescribed by the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the lower levels. For now, that refers to the fight against the corona virus epidemic. A similar thing can be expected in a few months when there is a fierce struggle with the economic consequences of the epidemic. Every responsible government is already considering this problem. A large percentage of 19% of people living in poverty in Croatia are likely to be joined by “invisible renters”.