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Online Booking Sites Hurting Small Tourist Agencies

CroatiaThe rise in popularity of online booking sites such as Airbnb is starting to put the squeeze on local tourist agencies, writes daily Vecernji list...

The past two tourist seasons have seen a considerable rise in the number of private rooms and apartments being rented out on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, with 15.2% more rented out last year. The rise in popularity of online booking sites such as Airbnb have made private rooms and apartments more visible globally, but that fact has not pleased local tourist agencies, whose bread and butter was taking a cut in being the middle men for these rooms and apartments on the coast. Last year there were 22 million overnight stays at private rooms and apartments on the coast, with that number expected to be beaten this year.

“In Croatia there are 400-odd agencies, 3-4 have more than 100 million kuna (13 million euros) turnover, a few dozen above 5 million kuna (600,000 euros), and the rest lest. Only those that specialise and offer a high quality product will survive. The arrival of large booking providers was inevitable, said Boris Žgomba from the Croatian Travel Agencies Association, adding that it is up to the agencies to worry about bringing in more tourists and extending the tourist season.

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