Until ten years ago, family and small hotels were hardly present on the Croatian market, while today their economic importance is not to be neglected. Proof is also the fact that at the time of the founding of the National Association of Small and Family Hotelsin 2004 there were only 50 members whereby today there are four times as many.
Unlike Croatia, this is not a new phenomenon in developed tourist countries. In the development of the family hotel business, Croatia is slowly approaching Italy, France, Austria and Greece, and it is discovering what these countries have been developing for decades. Regardless of this, family and small hotels in Croatia have surpassedtheir competition in quality, content and offer even though they are only ten percent of the total hotel capacity, while in the mentioned countries these have risen to 80 percent. In other words, there are about three hundred small family hotels in Croatia. In Italy the number is 23 thousand while Greece and Austria have 10 thousand each.
Šime Klarić says that a successful cooperation between the National Association and the Ministry of Tourism has shown to be crucial in the development of this segment of the hotel business, and all within the framework of the Incentive for Success Program that was launched 12 years ago.
“The potential of family hotels has been recognized due to this this incentive measure, and they have to be treated as a development and competence imperative of Croatian tourism. Of course, 30 years ago, with the non-existence of market economy and the impossibility of entrepreneurship development, there were no assumptions for a modern development of the hotel business in general, let alone for a systematic launching of the small and family hotels phenomenon. Thus, with an intelligent and skilful policy in this sphere of economy, we must compensate for what has been lost for years. Countries such as Austria, Italy and Germany have stimulated the building of such hotels in the past forty years and it is unrealistic to expect Croatia to achieve in ten years what took others thirty years. By all odds, we are on the right road, and, in a couple of decades we will not compete solely in top quality but also in the number of our small hotels. With such a joint approach, we have created a competitive product with about three hundred hotels that represent a sustainable and responsible development in tourism with emphasis on the local community” Šime Klarić, president of the National Association of Family and Small Hotels, points out.