14 Aug 2018

Croatia -- No country for gay men?

A Brazilian homosexual couple booked holiday accommodation in the city of Zadar in northern Croatia. Their reservation was refused by the owner, who explained that his hotel "doesn't take gays." 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Croatia -- No country for gay men? - NewsMavens
Zadar, Croatia, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The incident made it into the news and Booking.com removed the hotel from its website. This is already quite a punishment for a business that relies on international clients. 

But what will Croatia do about it?

Many Croatians condemn the act, claiming it damages the generally positive image of Croatian hospitality. But those who defend the hotel's owner are numerous, too.  

On August 10, an online petition for the re-listing of the hotel on Booking.com was launched on CitizenGo and has already collected a significant number of signatures. The argument behind the petition is that it is the owner's right to decide to whom he/she wants to rent his/her property. "Gay only" or "adults only" apartments are given as examples which Booking.com -- unfairly, according to the petition creators -- considers as legitimate. 

Anti-discrimination legislation in Croatia prescribes penalties for discrimination based on sexual orientation, among others. Let's see what -- if anything -- authorities will decide to do about the case. 

Details from the story:

  • Brazilian Fabiano Vallim, whose accommodation reservation for himself and his husband at hotel "Identity" was refused on the basis of his sexual orientation, has published the screenshot of his correspondence with hotel owner Tomislav Gospić on his Twitter account. 
  • Vallim's tweet was re-published by LGBTI activists and picked up by Croatian media.
  • When asked for comment, Gospić said he "has a right to make his [own] decisions." 
  • Booking.com announced it had terminated cooperation with Gospić due to discriminatory behavior to potential guests. Making reservations at Hotel "Identity" is no longer possible through Booking.com. The listing, however, is still available on AirBnB.  
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Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna ZiomeckaGazeta Wyborcza, Europe
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