01/28/11 Promotion of Hunting Tourism

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Croatian Ministry of Tourism
c/o Mr Damir Bajs
Prisavlje 14
10000 Zagreb

January 28, 2011

Dear Mr. Bajs:

We are writing to express our consternation at your personal endorsement and promotion for the so-called hunting tourism.

We have been informed that, during your recent participation in boar hunt, you made a statement for the media that "we must invest additional efforts in the marketing promotion of our potentials" in order to attract as many tourists as possible, which in this case meant hunters. You also emphasized that since 2008 the Croatian Ministry of Tourism had assigned 1.4 million kuna for the construction, completion, equipment, and repair of facilities intended for hunting tourism, and that it would continue doing so in the future.

Your statements directly contradict all modern ethical and ecological aspirations, which strive at preserving untouched nature and the survival of animal and vegetal species instead of systematically destroying and killing them. Hunting was justified in the past, when it was a condition of human survival; today, however, it is a shameful practice of needless killing in the name of "preserving the nature." In the case of the so-called hunting tourism, the hunters cannot even mask their deeds with this argument, since the only reason for their coming to Croatia is obviously their desire to kill. It is particularly inappropriate and culturally retrogressive to promote hunting as a part of the Croatian tourist offer, or to look at the killing of animals and the destruction of nature through the prism of profit.

The Croatian Ministry of Tourism should base its reputation on sensible decisions and question the negative remnants of tradition instead of investing in those forms of tourism that involve killing of other living beings and senseless, sadistic torturing of animals. Hunting is neither sport nor amusement, which is why it should not be a part of the Croatian tourist offer. Croatia needs to work on its image of a civilized country, and insisting on the bloody barbarity of hunting will certainly not contribute to that goal. We cannot possibly be proud of a tourist offer that invites people to visit our country with guns, eager to kill and spill blood in Croatian forests. To all civilized people, the unwritten tourist slogan "Come and shoot in Croatia!" can only sound repulsive, and it will certainly not persuade them to spend their holidays in Croatia.

Animal Friends condemns the entire idea of "killing off" animals. We are of the opinion that Croatia should attract tourists with its richness of biological diversity and untouched nature, rather than the possibility of spilling innocent blood. The practice of hunting should die out and be replaced by a peaceful and genuine protection of animals and nature. It is therefore important to reconsider whether Croatia is prepared to sell its natural resources and try to attract a large number of hunters as the so-called tourists, since they will devastate the country instead of contributing to its prosperity and the preservation of nature.

Therefore we are asking you to reconsider your statement and ask yourself whether Croatia really needs this kind of promotion and the kind of tourists who come to kill animals. The untouched nature in all its beauty and diversity, if adequately preserved, is the decisive precondition for the development of ecotourism, and that is the goal we should strive to achieve as an additional source of income. It is the preservation and protection of natural beauties, and not killing and devastation that will contribute to Croatia's prosperity. This fact should be recognized by those in charge of the political decisions and make them act accordingly.

Tourists come to Croatia to enjoy its sea and other natural beauties, clean beaches and friendly people. It would be far more useful for the Ministry of Tourism to invest additional efforts in the promotion of this sort of tourism. Croatia does not need hunting tourism to increase its income; on the contrary, hunting can only harm its tourist offer as a whole.

We hope that you will take this well-intended criticism as an incentive for positive change. Animal Friends remains at your disposal for all further information and cooperation.

Best regards,

Luka Oman

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