|Sažetak (engleski)|| |
The competitiveness of the Republic of Croatia as a tourist destination can be monitored through the constant growth of statistical data regarding the number of arrivals and overnight stays, and the growth of national GDP caused by the overall growth in the tourism sector. For this reason, competitiveness becomes a key concept of approach and research in this paper. Over the years, indicators have been developed by various organizations dealing with certain aspects of competitiveness, but the overall framework for measuring competitiveness in tourism is still lacking. It was found that it is actually difficult to standardize an ideal set of indicators, so measuring the competitiveness of a tourist destination should be approached as a systematic process. The main goal of the doctoral thesis was to describe the unique model that will be used to identify key indicators that influence the competitiveness the Republic of Croatia as a tourist destination on the international market and at the same time their impact on hotel operation. The research was conducted in two phases. In the first phase, secondary data was collected from The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Reports of the World Economic Forum, publication Tourism in figures published by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Republic of Croatia and TOMAS - attitudes and expenditures of tourists in Croatia reports by the Institute for Tourism Zagreb. The second phase of the research included conducting an online questionnaire survey via Google Forms. The questionnaire was based on extensive review of previously published researches in the field of tourism industry and competitiveness in tourism. Selected set of questions were basically defined from the first phase of the research. The survey was conducted from November 2020. until November 2021. During this period the total of 75 completed questionnaire where received from hotels located in Adriatic Croatia. The collected sample was based on hotel category and included the range from three to five-star hotels. The largest share of answers 60 % refers to four-star hotels, representing a total of 45 completed questionnaires. This is followed by three-star hotels with a share of 26.7 % representing 20 completed questionnaires. And finally, five-star hotels share 13.3 % equals to10 completed questionnaires. The questionnaire included four integral sections. The first section was consisted of questions identifying the hotel and its operation in year 2019. respectively identifying the hotel category, number of rooms and beds, number of full-time employees, hotel occupancy level on an annual basis (this is the percentage of occupied and available rooms year-round), tourist turnover VI (arrivals and overnight stays) and the ranking of the top five hotel markets according to the number of overnight stays. The list of available markets to choose from was taken from the report Tourism in Figures 2019. These were Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, the USA and others. The second section of the questionnaire focuses on the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) that measured competitiveness from the aspect of four main subindexes, which included the Enabling Environment, T&T Policy and Enabling Conditions, Infrastructure and Natural and Cultural Resources. The questions were therefore divided into four groups marked A, B, C and D. The focus in this research was implication of TTCI index from the aspect of hotel operations in the international environment. It should be mentioned that the Likert-type scale was used to measure responses. In this section it included the seven degrees scale due to comparability with the WEF reports. Namely, in these reports the competitiveness of the tourist destination is measured from 1 to 7 where 1 represents the worst and 7 the best results, ie in the questionnaire 1 represents a Strongly disagreement while 7 represents a Strongly agreement with the statement. In this paper, all other sections of the questionnaire included the five-point scale 1 to 5 where 1 represents Strongly disagreement and 5 Strongly agreement with the statement. The third section consisted of questions based on Thomas research as this research provides data on the attitudes of tourists determined by their motivation to travel to Croatia. Namely, this section was selected because it discovered that the tourist motivation was indicator lacking in other reports but with direct impact on competitiveness indicators. Final section examined the believe of respondent whether this research would provide a better insight into planning and development of hotel competitiveness in the international market. The collected data were analyzed using MS Excel and Statistical Package for Social Sciences – SPSS. An empirical analysis was carried out using univariate non-parametric statistical methods which included arithmetic mean, standard deviation and asymmetry coefficient for all variables. The results indicate that the respondents partially agreed with the statements, which were rated with an average score of 3.85. Most of the results concentrated on higher values, ie they were affirmative, which confirms the respondents' positive attitude regarding the main tourism sector indicators of competitiveness. The combined results of all four groups of TTCI Index indicators showed an average score of 4.78, which means that the respondents expressed the highest degree of agreement with the statement “Partially agree”. The descriptive statistical analysis of travel motivation was rated with an arithmetic mean of 3.59 (s = 0.66), which means that the respondents expressed the highest degree agreement with a score 4 - Partially agree. The VII greatest value was recorded regarding the question, where the sea was identified as the main motive for tourists to arrive to the hotel. It also should be noted that the results of the statistical analysis from the first phase regarding the main sectoral indicators of tourism were analyzed by calculating the Linear trend model. It was found that in the comparison by years, the data show a certain tendency to move in line with the trend. Most naturally-occurring time series in business and economics are not at all stationary. Instead they exhibit various kinds of trends, cycles, and seasonal patterns noted in this research as well. The results of the analysis for tourist arrivals showed that in 2021 compared to the forecast based on the linear trend model was in decline for 38 %. Although this percentage drop is slightly higher compared to the number of overnight stays, it can actually be confirmed that such results are consistent with other reports. Therefore, it can be established that the decrease in the number of overnight stays on average was slightly smaller than the decrease in the number of tourist arrivals, while the results observed together indicate a positive trend in the competitiveness of Croatia as a tourist destination on the international market. Furthermore, for the next sectoral indicator such as Tourism revenue, projected values and actual results identified shortcomings in the assessment due to extraordinary circumstances such as the outbreak of the COVID 19 and the start of war in Ukraine. The results of the analysis showed that the decline in revenue in 2020 compared to the forecast was 72 %. Again, it was concluded that this sector indicator is an important element in the systematic monitoring of the competitiveness because it indicates the dependence of each country on tourism. This was followed by the next sector indicator, the share of tourism revenue in GDP. The results of the analysis revealed the lack of calculation of this indicator by the current model because it was calculated by simply taking over the total income from the balance of payments of the Croatian National Bank, which is of course not the same as the actual share of tourism in GDP. Namely, it is more appropriate to use the Tourism Satellite Account which showed that in 2019 the direct gross domestic product of tourism amounted to 11.8 % of the total GDP of the Republic of Croatia. It turns out that despite the high growth in the number of overnight stays, arrivals and tourism income, the overall share in GDP did not change significantly in the period from 2014 to 2019. It was concluded that it is obvious that tourism does not generate as much of the annual newly created value in the Republic of Croatia as it is often presented to the public.
It was determined that the monitoring of competitiveness is of great importance for all stakeholders and that it should be carried out continuously. The analysis of the attitudes of the respondents had a positive impact toward the design of the model for the systematic monitoring VIII of competitiveness. It was concluded that the research should be conducted biennially and that the operational definition includes the collection of data from four different sources. These are the World Economic Forum reports (TTCI Index), main tourism sector indicators including overnights and tourist arrivals, country tourism revenue and the share of tourism revenues in GDP (calculated on the basis of The Tourism Satellite Account), and reports examining tourists' motivation to travel. Reports regarding the tourist motivation should be rotated every two years according to a model where one-year TOMAS surveys would be used, and the next year an IQM DESTINATION platform would be used. Lastly, questionnaire survey should be carried out systematically among receptive tourism entities such as hotels and thus combine all the necessary data for the analysis of the competitiveness of a tourist destination. In this dissertation, the hypotheses are considered to be unquestionably confirmed, which was proved by a non-parametric chi-squared test (χ2 test). Analysis showed that the arithmetic mean (4.03) and Pearson's asymmetry coefficient (-1.37) indicate that most respondents partially or completely agreed with the statement that there is a link between the adjustment of hotel operation based on systematic monitoring of Croatia's competitiveness as a tourist destination and increasing its tourist figures. Calculation of the χ² test showed that the distribution of empirical frequencies deviated statistically significantly (χ² = 55.41; p <0.01) from the uniform distribution, which shows that scores 4 and 5 prevail to a larger extent, representing partially or strongly agreement with the statement. Therefore, it can be confirmed that measurement the competitiveness of the Croatian tourist offer increases the tourist figures of hotels, which in fact confirms the main hypothesis. Furthermore, the χ² test proved that the three auxiliary hypotheses are also considered unquestionably confirmed. It can be concluded that the results of this research have several practical implications that, among other things, allow hotels to identify the main characteristics of existing tourists demands and draw conclusions about the direction of hotel business and forecasts using Linear trend model. On the other hand, this research also showed that hotel companies in the Republic of Croatia are extremely sensitive of sharing their data, even though this concerned only the basic ones such as the number of arrivals and overnights, occupancy, number of employees, etc. It was concluded that in order to achieve more successful cooperation in future such cooperation must involve both parties on equal terms. Therefore, it is recommended for all future researches to find the mutual interest with individual stakeholders such as professional associations, large hotel groups and others because it can greatly facilitate the process of data gathering. Of course, with unique model presented in this IX doctoral thesis such obligation to participate should be determined by agreement. Ideally, primary research should become part of a systematic process in developing each hotel marketing plan and then they will find the interest in sharing data, once analyzed, becomes the basis for their own business planning and future operation.