Croatia, known for its picturesque, pristine white beaches, fresh sea food and the best tasting wine has recently grown as a much favoured holiday destination for the Europeans. But with the latest announcement by the government that there will be oil drilling in the Adriatic Sea, there are chances that this glory of the Mediterranean will lose its charm in its pursuit for better commercial gains.
The situation has created a deep split in Croatia as the country has emerged as a fast growing summer travel destination and has also become the newest member state on the European Union. There are speculations that the country is ruining its breathtaking scenic beauty and also heading towards environmental danger as there are chances of oil spillage that will be damaging for tourism. But the Croatian government is determined to bolster economic growth and bring foreign investment to enhance the country’s financial gain which they feel is an equally effective means of earning revenue along with tourism.
They feel that by drilling oil Europe could get the opportunity to minimise their dependency on Russia. The decision has provoking opposition from 45 per cent of Croatians who feel that the beauty of Croatia will be marred. While another 40 per cent support the government.
Croatia’s government believes that the country’s strategic position between Europe’s west and east could turn it into a regional energy-powerhouse, like Norway in the North Sea. Adriatic oil drilling will enable Croatia to become an energy exporter and this will bring security of energy supplies to Europe feels Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak. He also said that the environmental risks would be quite minimal due to the fact that they would apply the latest European Union safety standards, and nearly all of the new offshore platforms wouldn’t be visible from Croatia’s main coast.
Croatia’s tourist revenue of approximately 7.5 billion euros ($8.4 billion) per year are greater than the potential financial benefits of oil exploration, which are estimated by Croatia’s government to be around 160 million euros ($180 million) per year in exploration licenses given to the oil companies.
Meanwhile the Croatia’s Greens is also opposing the government’s safety pledges. They are running campaigns to stop the government with “Say NO to oil in the Adriatic, say YES to sustainable growth”. They feel that environmental risks are quite high. There are alternative renewable sources such as small hydro power stations, solar energy and windmills that would leave the environment unharmed and also accomplish what the government is trying to seek.
PhD student in Tourism. Teaching Assistat at the Faculty of Sport and Tourism. Author of a number of travel articles. Traveller. Explorer.