Excessive bureaucracy is one of the primary problems for agritourism service providers

first_img“Statistical indicators do not exist because it is not clearly defined who are all providers of services in rural tourism. This business can also be done by family farms, crafts and companies that have a restaurant in a rural area, but do not have their own production. And we believe that rural tourism is inseparable from agriculture and that agriculture is what sets us apart from the rest of the catering and tourist offer. We are of the opinion that each of us must have at least one agricultural product that we will have in our year-round offer, on which we will build an autochthonous story and what will distinguish us from classic caterers. And it would be great to have a few”, Explains Janko Kezele, owner of the agritourism farm Kezele and vice president of the Croatian Rural Tourism Association. The head of the sector for special forms of tourism at the Ministry of Tourism, Vesna Rajković, believes that the ministry is doing a lot to facilitate business for entrepreneurs in the field of rural tourism. Because of this, they had many objections from hotel owners to going downhill to agritourism farms. “The Ministry strives to balance between the requirements, facilitate business and minimize the burdens that can be removed. We could have gone sharper, but in order to revive the villages, we were really quite flexible and simplified the Rulebook for rural tourism, which in the end gave excellent results. For the last seven years, we have been implementing a competitiveness program for the tourism industry, where only in rural tourism do we have a more flexible way of granting aid. In this sector, beginners can also apply, unlike hotels or camps, which must first show results”, Said Rajković. According to estimates, there are between 500 and 800 providers of rural tourism in Croatia, but the exact number, mostly due to the insufficiently regulated legal framework, cannot be determined exactly. However, continuous changes in various ordinances and regulations, a large volume of often unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy, and the fact that their activities are regulated by two ministries, are a major problem for rural tourism, reports Deutsche Welle. The Association asked the Ministry of Agriculture to simplify the conditions for the production of agricultural products offered to guests. As for the food they produce themselves, they must have a number of different solutions for it and meet strict conditions as if they were producing them in quantities for supermarkets. Opinions are that the sector is over-regulated, because if they want to offer more different products in their own production, farmers must separately register wineries, cheese dairies, meat processing, which, according to them, is too broad for a small volume of production. “We have a very good example in Austria where our colleagues can produce different traditional and agricultural products in the same area”, Points out Bernard Tkalčec, owner of rural tourism” Golden Class “. Anđelka Pejaković from the Ministry of Agriculture, within the Advisory Service, interprets and helps people understand the laws as part of their business obligations. “Legislation is complicated because it is about food, and food is strictly regulated and has a lot of regulations, especially food of animal origin. There are also a number of European Commission regulations that apply equally to all countries and that must be respected”, Explains Pejakovic. Bernard Tkalčec and Janko Kezele believe that a lot has been done to affirm and encourage rural tourism, but that it can always be better. Mostly because in practice new questions and possible solutions are asked based on our own experiences, as well as successful examples from other countries. The formation of a special working group at the Ministry of Tourism that would deal only with rural tourism is one of the proposals. Source / photo: Deutsche Welle; Rural tourism “Golden Class”last_img

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