07/25/02 Tourism

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The action of Animal Friends for the promotion of the eco-tourism and for the better relation toward vegetarian tourists and animal owners


Every year many tourists are visiting our country, because with a seaside like ours it's impossible not to have a good season. Unfortunately, it is not enough just to have a beautiful seaside. Every day we learn something new about the faults of our tourist agencies, hotels and activists in the whole tourist industry. Beginning with the working on roads when the biggest crowds start or the impolite workers, bad maintenance and high prices, we slowly understand that it is necessary to change today's views about tourism. So, with more "smiles" it would be nice to do something which is in the west already considered as normal.

Why doesn't nearly any hotel, any restaurant and a very few means of public transportation in Croatia allow animal owners to take their animals in with them?

Why can't the dog owner enter a cafeteria or a hotel with his pet?

Or why isn't it allowed for animals to travel by public transport?

Aren't animal owners good enough tourists?

Is it better to force the dog owners to come without their animals and to leave them in the streets instead?

This year Animal Friends started a campaign against leaving companion animals, for which we hope to stop at least some of the irresponsible owners to abandon their animals instead of finding a shelter for them in their absence. Unfortunately there are many irresponsible owners, but also there are no alternatives, so cats and dogs end up in the streets.

Along with our campaign there has been opened a Classifieds on our web site www.prijatelji-zivotinja.hr and the number 060 131 131 in order to help the dog owners who are going on vacation and can't take their animals with them. The fact is that it is much easier just to get rid of the responsibilities.

Punishments for such irresponsible owners exist, but no one dares to charge them. We wonder why those who throw their animals in the streets and who torture them aren't punished. Isn't that a logical way of stopping them to abandon their animals?

With a tourist offer to animal owners a lot of people would consider the situation and take their pets with them. Of course, the hotels and coffee bars and all those who by refusing animals refuse also their owners could take a good use of this offer.

It is necessary to make the possibility of summer holidays for animals as well, actually the possibility of staying in a hotel for those who want to take their animals with them. About the coffee bars, it is really weird that it's forbidden to take companion animals in public places. If they can live if apartments, they would certainly know how to behave for a half an hour in a coffee bar!

We already got a few bad descriptions of summer vacations in Croatia from foreigners all over the world. People mostly complain about bad treatment toward abandoned animals in many Dalmatian towns, they poison the animals or kill them. Is that good for us? Will that encourage tourists to come more often or to tour around our country?

One of the biggest problems of the Croatian tourism offer is ignoring the vegetarians - people who do not eat meat and who travel for vacation, and who also visit our hotels and our sea. By the traditional way of serving baked animal corpse without the possibility of ordering vegetarian food, we are sending a clear message that Croatia is "falling behind" with the rest of the world, because everywhere that kind of nourishment is completely normal.

Along our roads we can easily see dead animals prepared as a meal on the barbecue, but when one wants to eat something other than the dead animals after a pause and a strange look one gets the reply "we have salad." There are of course few restaurants which serve vegetarian meals (not just salad, but a complete meal as well).

Also there are not so many hotels, which offer good vegetarian food and even less that put vegetarian food along with meditation, yoga or macrobiotic. What our society needs is vegetarian food for people who are regular visitors and who are vegetarians.

In the west Europe, thousands of people choose vegetarianism for a lifestyle. It really wouldn't be bad for the tourism and for the reputation of our country to have an offer of vegetarian meals in restaurants and other places. If not that then to inform their chefs and employees because some of them just don't understand the term vegetarianism.

The big Croatian potential is the extensiveness and large untouched surfaces which could be used for different kinds of eco-tourism. Why wouldn't we use the natural treasures of our land, why wouldn't we promote what we have? We have a beautiful land and nature, and we can make other ways of tourism, not only summer tourism.

While the rest of the world protects nature and animals we hunt and invite other hunters to kill our animals. That is the first thing that pops up in our minds, but tourism isn't killing innocent animals, nor building "tourist" centers of cement and glass. We would accomplish more with ordinary eco-tourism, trips in nature, learning more about animals or other kinds of tourism.

The problem in Croatia isn't just a shortage of meals in the tourist offer, but in the hospitals and public institutions as well. Croatian vegetarians still don't have the possibility of eating in hospitals, schools, army, prisons and other institutions where people stay. So we wonder, what if a vegetarian stranger ends up in a hospital, what will he eat?

Is it a real problem to organize vegetarian meals in public institutions and make a possible choice for all vegetarian citizens and vegetarian tourists?

Animal Friends will organize an action on the Ban Jelacic Square (by the Tourist Informative Center) on Thursday, July 25 at 12 noon.

With this action we want to advise the Croatian publicity and especially the tourist activists to organize some changes, which would be useful for the tourism promotion of our country. The action is a calling for the ministry of tourism and the Croatian tourist community to seriously think about introducing of vegetarian meals and about securing the places where tourists and animal owners can leave their pets during their vacation.

Until these issues aren't solved it will be hard for our country to satisfy the critics as one serious tourist country.



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