Maybe it’s because it was the most mysterious subject of my imagination when I was just a little child, with all its magical animals I’ve dreamt about.

Maybe it’s because of the beautiful memories of sunny summers I’ll always carry with me.

All I know is that sea is the most important thing why I can say that I love my country.

And you know, you’d probably say that with all that big blue space, seaside is a great place to live and work.

But, unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

When you look at it, our Dalmatian coast is filled with spiritless hotels, massive villas and faceless mass of luxurious yachts and cruise ships.

Faceless crowds roaming around historic cities, breathing in what’s left of their glorious history.

Owners of all that tourist machinery, looking at them happily, knowing that those tourists are the reason they have a bread to eat and a place to live. Owners of those fancy hotels and overrated restaurants, happy because their overpriced services found their buyers.

To me, it’s a devastating scene.

Looking at those people counting their money because turquoise clear sea, history, architecture, things that exist despite they
have
never
moved
a finger
to do anything about it, make tourists want to come in their precious cities.

And you know what does that mean?

We are literally building our whole economy based on the privilege that those people voluntarily want to be our guests.

Tourism in Croatia makes 18% of total GDP! Even more than in traditionally touristic European countries like Spain, Malta and Cyprus. And when we look at the average value of the whole EU, where all touristic services and to them connected industry make up only 13% of the GDP, we know that there’s something wrong. And don’t forget that almost all income from tourism comes from seaside, which means that it makes around half of the GDP in that region.

So yeah, they’re counting their money now. But as soon as the autumn begins, the streets are empty. All the luxury is wiped down from them.

People are losing their jobs, losing their hopes. And all they can wait for is another season and another wave of tourists.

And then what?

To me, the sea is most beautiful part of my country. But now, I’m really afraid that the economy still can’t swim.

With no other industry (apart from few dockyards or few fish food manufactures), no other knowledges, this tourism is the main thing we lean on.

And since tourism is dependent on many social factors, it is very labile and uncertain hold. What will happen if touristic rates slow down?

I guess that, as far as they can make money in the present, people don’t think about the future. But I hope that it’s going to change soon and that the sea will be there for them, providing a good start for development of actual sustainable industry that will hopefully recover the economic situation in that region.

Marta Paladin, Vladimir Prelog Science School, Zagreb, Croatia