Academic journal article UTMS Journal of Economics

Croatian Tourism and Hospitality Industry: Current State and Future Developmental Perspectives

Academic journal article UTMS Journal of Economics

Croatian Tourism and Hospitality Industry: Current State and Future Developmental Perspectives

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Tourism is the most important industry in the world in terms of the numbers of employees and its effect on the social and economical development of a region or country. It is an industry that will help developing countries solve their problems of unemployment and poverty by turning the potentials of these countries-i.e. natural and cultural heritage-into a profit. It is a clean industry, which will coincide with the "green trend" of the future that aims to preserve and conserve nature for future generations. This will be the great return to nature-the "green wave" (Avelini Holjevac 2003).

Today, strategic orientation of tourist companies and tourist destinations is focused on developing relationships with potential travelers. Globalization of markets and increased competition in international tourism is the reason why the quality of product is becoming increasingly present category (Authorsadaptation according to Gr zinic 2014). Monitoring socio-economic trends, respectively, interpreting recorded changes in a form of a demographic picture of the society, better education and higher life standard, change in structure of demand for products and services is noticed. It comes to transition from the economics of services to the economics of experiences, and more frequent shopping for things and services is being replaced by shopping for experiences. Such shopping represents specific exchanges of value for money which is characteristic for traditional understanding of the economy of experience. Development of tourist products based on the experience as a key exchange value demands an interdisciplinary approach which, along with applied marketing activities and competitive positioning by identity affirmation brings to positioning of the tourist offer from the point of view of economy of experience. Contemporary tourist and hotel product which is adapted to the needs of new tourists does not imply partner role anymore but individualization and personalization of the experience itself (Authorsadaptation according to Vitasovic 2014). In today's dynamic and competitive global environment, planning and developing tourism attractions is only half the battle faced by destination managers, considering the fact that so many destinations globally offer similar attractions, services and experiences. Destination managers also have to plan and strategize the marketing aspect of destination management. A well-planned and -developed tourism product and/or destination will be useless unless it attracts and retains its target market. Therefore, it is vital for managers to understand what makes customers loyal to a destination and what their expectations are so that destinations can modify their offerings, service delivery and communication strategies to meet and exceed customers' expectations (Gursoy et al. 2014). Tourism and hospitality industry offers intangible products and services to its customers. For this reason, the most crucial strategies in the industry involve how to offer better peopleoriented services and how to encourage repeat business (Authorsadaptation according to Yang 2012).

As the tourism and hotel industry continue to prosper in the global economy, competition-whether it be international or domestic among members of the industries-becomes fiercer. Possessing competitive advantages could be key to success for those members (Tsai et al. 2009). In order to achieve success on the tourist market, offer carriers constantly need to be up to date with the newest changes on the tourist market, respectively, they need to monitor changes in preferences of tourists, and manage the development of their tourist offer in order to provide them maximum satisfaction, diversity, uniqueness. Strategic approach accompanied by continuous marketing activities is an imperative for achieving competitiveness. Crick and Spencer (2011) point out that hotel organization needs to understand with as much precision as possible what the guests want from the service experience. …

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