Podgorica – To Montenegro as a tourist destination it is expensive and complicated to come by a plane and for now that is a serious problem. You must understand that today comfort and luxury are no longer that important, and whether you will be given a free of charge coca cola. That is why the entrance if low cost air companies is necessary – says in an interview for “Vijesti” Mark Janofski, higher adviser for tourism on USAID’s project of development of competing and an expert in all phases of the negotiations with the Singapore Aman resorts.
– The expenses of traveling in the world today are pretty equal, so you can travel from Frankfurt to Brazil or Bangkok and the price is not too different. Montenegro is not counted in, in cheap destinations. Tourists will rather go from London directly to Podgorica with low cost companies and not with the expensive ones only because they will offer them more comfort. The project of the so-called “open sky” will help the solving of this problem next year. I am hoping that the low cost air companies such as Ryan air, Easy jet and others will come here. The essence of the story about the future Montenegrin tourism is to allow tourist to come directly to Montenegro, and not to go around, through Belgrade or Vienna – marked Janofski.
Are you expecting a twist in Montenegrin tourism because of the entrance of Aman resorts, ad what will this investment mean for the local citizenship?
This is a very important moment in the history of Montenegrin tourism. With the entrance of Aman resorts your tourism is moving to a next level and new possibilities are being created for Montenegro and Montenegrins. Transaction with Aman is specific in many ways. Firstly, Sveti Stefan is recognized as an icon of Montenegro. Sveti Stefan was not sold and it will be returned to Montenegro, in a much better shape, with preserved uniqueness and identity which it had. Secondly, Aman resorts will be a great partner, because in that way they will promote themselves. Solely with the fact that overnight will cost 1.000 dollars per night, they will offer not only the luxury, but also a special experience. Each guest will get a different experience, by content and by price. Thirdly, Aman will give a signal to all future investors to come and invest in Montenegro. Aman’s customs will hear about Montenegro, which can be the next interesting and attractive place for them, and to wider public all of this will be proclaimed.
How do you comment the fact that Montenegro does not have many famous and serious companies in the area of tourism?
Montenegro is to face several challenges. Beside the expensive and complicated air transport, Montenegro is not know to wider public, and everything should be done for it to be noticed. Secondly, a greater challenge is the infrastructure and investment in the water and land capacities. Even though the progress is notices, you should continue. Thirdly, until now the season in Montenegro was too short, from the 1st of July until the end of August, and that was it. You need bigger capacities and hotels with various spa and wellness centers, which are opened for tourist during the whole year. Fourthly, hardware is not sufficient for Montenegro, that is, the hotels, but it also needs software – the level of service, on which you still need to work on. By that I mean the training of the stuff and Aman resorts will help a lot in that.
How Montenegro can become a European and world tourist brand?
There are several ways to do that. The attitude of a hotel in Budva that his competitor is a hotel across the way, or even the hotel in Herceg Novi, and Kotor or in Croatia, is wrong. Potential visitor from Frankfurt, Paris or Blegrade has a huge choice in front of himself. So, your competition is huge and it is situated in concentric circles, so a question comes up how to make a tourist to change his opinion. You have to give him an unforgettable experience; you have to be that kind of a destination which will be talked about. Montenegro in no way is cheap. You have to establish the level of the offer and the quality with the price. Just a big hotel does not mean luxury; a smaller hotel gives quality on more levels. It is important what kind of a welcome and kindness the stuff will show to a guest.
It is unbelievable what I am going to say, but even though Montenegrins are well-known by their hospitality and good heartedness, because of the way in which hotels are being run can be lost. The welcome with which guests are received is reflected also in the way you are treating the employees in the hotel.
How the employees should be treated and whether among other things their salaries should be increased?
There is a rule which proved to be good in my long year hotel experience. Satisfied employees – satisfied guest, unsatisfied and maltreated employee – unsatisfied guest. The employees need to feel that they have a perspective, that they are treated in a righ manner, and that they are rewarded with money.
Next phase of the development of the Montenegrin tourism is valorization of the complexes such as Ada Bojana, Velika plaza, Valdanos and others. What are your suggestions?
The position of Montenegro is much stronger than it used to be and as a result of that it can draw greater interest of the investors. Minister of tourism is aware that Montenegro has a restricted coast, and that is why it is necessary to think good where to build, because those are object which will not be there for just a few weeks, but for years.
I know that there is a great interest for Velika plaza and Ada Bojana, but it should be taken into consideration that you should not bring too many tourists there and not to turn it into destinations for mass tourism. Do not build too many facilities. They should be various, and in all of this you need to include local people.
TOO MUCH BUILIDING CAN BE A PROBLEM
Is Montenegrin coast threatened by the danger to become overcrowded and how can the devastation of the space be prevented?
In that sense, this is an extremely critical period for Monetegro. There always are, and especially in this moment, huge economical interest for construction. In that process you need to balance between the economical needs and protection of the environment. If a balance is not achieved danger threatens.
It would be unrealistic to expect that no buildings are built, but it would be equally unrealistic to build without limitations. During that you need to take care about the aesthetics of building. If you allow too much building and unsuitable development why would the rich guests even have a desire to come to you.
Montenegro has to make portfolio offers and for a higher, middle and lower class, and you should bear that in mind all the time.