This project, one of several funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is supporting certain Mediterranean countries and their hospitality operators to create a more inclusive form of tourism.
The aim is that hotels will provide better training and development opportunities for employees, giving them the best possible start in their tourism careers. Equal opportunities policies will also be improved, and more use made of local supply chains.
In this way, a country’s hotels will improve the spread of economic benefits that tourism provides, ensuring more income and opportunities reach local communities.
While tourism is one of the main contributors to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, it is often characterised by a focus on seaside resorts and all-inclusive hotels, with limited tourism expenditure trickling down to local communities. Revues are also highly seasonal.
From the hotel’s point of view, many operators struggle to find and retain qualified workers who meet the increasing expectations of tourists for high levels of service quality.
Building back post-pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a significant negative impact on the global tourism industry, with recovery expected to take a minimum of 3 years.
In Croatia, the hotel sector experienced a drop of over 50% in guest nights in 2020, and ongoing reduced levels of tourism demand means that competition for bookings between destinations will be intense. Thus it is important for the sector to be as attractive and sustainable as possible.
The EBRD has set up the “Inclusive Tourism Framework in the Eastern Mediterranean” (ITFW), which currently focuses on Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, and Turkey. Its two main components are: financing to individual hotel operators (which will support upgrading of infrastructure and facilities), and technical assistance to local hospitality operators (focusing on improving skills, training provision and equal opportunity policies for their employees, and strengthening local procurement). The Travel Foundation is acting as the EBRD’s partner in implementing this technical aspect of the framework in Croatia and Montenegro.