Croatia Becomes Five Times More Expensive For Sailors

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by Sonja Babić,

The controversial sojourn tax regulation for boat owners came into force.

Government’s Regulation on the increase of sojourn tax rates for owners and users of vessels has recently come into force, thus drastically increasing tariffs, which are now five to six times higher than before, depending on the category of vessel and the time period for which the fee is paid, reports Morski.hr on October 11, 2017.

For example, the owner of a yacht which is 9 to 12 meters in length has had to pay an annual fee of around 150 euros, but according to the new Regulation on sojourn tax for 2018 the price the owner will have to pay will be around 775 euros, and for yachts 12 to 15 meters in length the annual fee has increased from EUR 176 to EUR 1,024, reports Glas Istre . Price ranges are divided according to the vessel size as well as according to the time periods, so for the longest vessels longer than 20 metres, which are the most luxurious ones, the fee for a period of one year increases from € 227 to € 1,939, i.e. to the maximum of 14,500 kunas.

Croatia’s competitiveness to drop?

This news, which somehow went under the radar, poses a challenging question: will Croatia remain competitive when compared with other nearby sailing destinations? The prices are approximate and depend on the currency exchange rate, but provide a good insight into the new situation. Such price shocks can only be mitigated by the fact that crews or shipowners do not usually stay on board ships throughout the entire year, but for shorter periods of time. In case the ship stays for a whole month, the annual fee is two to three times more expensive, which the majority of people might find more acceptable. However, it remains questionable how much Croatia will be competitive with the neighbouring countries.

Negative reactions aren’t only coming from international boating communities, but from Croatia as well – the Marina Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has already sent a letter of complaint. According to the president of the Association Sean Lisjak, the price increase was introduced during the peak of the tourist season in August and then did not cause the anticipated attention and reactions, whereas now this decision caused a strong backlash.

“We were very critical of the intent of this decision from the very start, and now we have sent a letter to the Croatian Parliament’s Tourism Committee asking for an explanation on why are these draconian fees being introduced, as well as what kind of consequences will such a decision have [for the nautical tourism in Croatia].We have also asked for the support of the European Maritime Association to send us the overview of sojourn tax rates for boaters in Europe, especially in the Adriatic and Mediterranean countries. Clients are really disgusted with this decision. Depending on the category of vessels, the increase of fees ranges from 56 to 753 percent. We can understand the intent to get a little more revenue from fees, but not so much that the boaters have to bear the largest share of the increase, and we are definitely against it. Therefore, we urge the Parliamentary Committee for Tourism to reconsider this draconian measure and to find a rational solution that will not disrupt the growing trend of the boater’s interest in our marinas. If something does not change, one can expect a dramatic drop in nautical traffic in the Adriatic. Every kuna means a lot, but it is better to earn that kuna in marinas and restaurants in the marinas than from the sojourn tax,” Lisjak points out for the Glas Istre.

For more information on the sojourn tax rate increase, click here.

Translated from Morski.hr

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