TOURISM AND MORAL VALUES

Regarding the moral challenges that tourism brings, there was a particularly interesting petition encouraged by people pertaining to the chaste society against immoral behaviour dating back to the 1920s. Their complaints sped up the passing of the “Decree on Beach Behaviour”. The notice said: “It is strictly forbidden to walk in a swimming suit in public areas, roads, along the coast and in bars. Walking is allowed in bath robes but they need to be buttoned. Every breach will be sanctioned according to applicable rules as a public scandal”. The people of Makarska and its guests were not too concerned about the decree so they started organising beach beauty pageants in swimming suits in the middle of restaurants in Donja luka.

Public morality protection officers who were on duty were especially appalled by a group of Austrian nudists who had been spotted by the senior ranger Andrijašević while doing his usual round through Osejava. After finding out which bed and breakfast they were staying at, embittered moralists gathered just as the Austrians were about to go to Nugal and they saw them off with curses and defamations. Naturists took no heed of them. What is more, they promoted Makarska as paradise for nudists in their 'Fuhrer durch Dalmatien' guide.

An announcement of a parish office 30 years later, in 1958, had a similar message. In the chronology of the parish, it said that “This year, at the peak of the summer, there were 4700 guests. The tourist season is negatively impacting the morality of local people. Nudity and fun are everywhere. Even local girls have started going out in shorts. Their mothers cannot control them because they are busy attending to tourists. Local authorities have reacted to this situation so the Slobodna Dalmacija newspaper made a comment along with a suitable caricature: “Evil intentions behind the attack by the Makarska parish priest. The church wants to stop tourism from developing. Aren’t our people entitled to have a holiday after a whole year of work and to swim in their sea? Just like the foreigners who leave big sums of money.” Have conservative and liberal views made piece today? Even if they have not, the line between them is slowly beginning to fade. The almighty euro can be thanked for that.