Podgorica Minister of Tourism Predrag Nenezic.Nenezic stated yesterday in the interview for “Vijesti” that since the beginning of September Montenegro was visited by about 800.000 tourists or 18% more that last year, which according to his evaluation is the best indicator that the season was more than successful.
Nenezic pointed out that it is realistic to expect that until the end of the year Montenegro will welcome million of officially registered tourists of which 400.000 of them will be from international market, which is almost 40% more than last year.
-Million of tourists are in perspective, and we should add a great number of unregistered guests, that have spent their vacation in their apartments, summer cottages or with the unregistered renters of rooms and apartments, to which in the following period it much more attention will be paid – said the Minister of Tourism.
Are you satisfied with the summer season and what income from tourism do you expect in this year?
I’m very satisfied with the course of the tourist season. Almost 90% of all activities defined by the Action plan of the Government for this season were carried out. The incomes will be near 300 millions of euros which is growth of 22% and that is bigger growth than the growth of the number of overnight staying. Tourist economy, and especially hotel keepers, as well as the majority of municipalities, engaged themselves better than ever, which resulted with higher degree of quality in all segments of the tourist offer. The promotional campaign abroad and in Serbia was carried out with high quality and thanks to that, the projections of Ministry of tourism from economic policy of the Government for this year are coming true, or even surpass them, by which, the trend of two digit rate growth of incomes and number of tourists, continues. I am especially pleased with the extension of the tourist season and already a certainly good occupation of hotel capacities until the end of October.
What is it that you see as the greatest advance in Montenegrin tourism compared to previous years?
The image of Montenegro as a tourist destination, and in general, has been significantly advanced by the promotion in the international markets, especially by the world’s greatest electronic media like CNN and Euro News. Also, the restoring of the independence brought a very significant positive publicity all over the world.
In hotel management business, which is the spine of are tourist economy, very important investments are being carried out, and this year a certain number of hotels has reached the highest world standards in the sense of variety and quality of contents. The total offer is of better quality about which richer and high quality cultural – fun – sport contents testify, as well as bigger and bigger number of great restaurants, cafes, discothèques and night clubs. The public transportation of tourists is every day better, agencies offer quality contents, and beaches and bathing beaches are more decorated and safer than ever.
Still, the old “illnesses” are visible – bad traveling infrastructure which has made great traffic jams, then noise, grey economy, bad water supply? Above all, I would say that a lot has been done on solving of bigger infrastructure challenges in the last period. The airports are modernized, border crossings were built, and traffic arteries were reconstructed, and are in better shape then in the last 15 years. Significant funds were invested in projects of stock up of electricity, water supply, hard waste and waste waters. That is why for already three years water and electricity are no longer, nor will they ever be a number one topic. However, we should bear in mind that all these projects are financially and timely very demanding, and that these problems can not be solved over night.
The traffic jams and the lack of parking space are imposing us an urgent necessity of reduction of this problem by construction of third lanes, that is to say, lanes for slow drive on the most critical points, as well as by creating new parking space, and building new garages. The works on several locations will begin already in October this year.
However, the long term solution is in construction of new fast traffic lanes, that is to say, highways, whose planning and partially construction has already began, and to which the new Government will be fully dedicated in the period to come.
It is the same when we speak of water supplies and waste waters. The Government has already brought a decision of acceptance of permanent solution for water supply of the coast from Skadar Lake and the arrangements with the World Bank and European bank for the realization of this project, in shortest possible time, are almost certain.
When we speak about noise, it is evident that there are still problems, but fewer than before. And the newly adopted law guarantees that in the future this problem will be eliminated to a great extent.
The grey economy accompanies tourism in every country, as well as in Montenegro, and it is up to us to minimize it as much as possible in the following period.
How far are we from being an elite tourist destination?
Montenegro is on the right way to become that. The challenges in the following period are numerous. The personnel potential has to strengthen itself through the strengthening of the existing and opening of new modern institutions. It is also very important the fast implementation of the most modern informational technology in the sector of tourism in all levels.
Also, the traffic accessibility of Montenegro, especially in the period outside of the season has to be improved. The intensive work on making an image is one of the priorities in the following period and we count on collaboration with private sector, as well as on fast reorganization of Tourist organization of Montenegro, which has already started. Tighter connection of our organic agriculture and hotelkeepers is very important, because it is of great value for both. Finally, now when we have made the firm foundations and provided solid amount of tourist circulation (sales), it is time for a rapid diversification of our tourist offer. That means the development of specific kinds of tourism, like nautical, health, religious, sports, congress, active, and extreme ecotourism in a narrower sense of that word.