Are we witnessing decrease in the number of tourists due to bad weather? There’s no accurate data about that, but it’s obvious Montenegro is faced with a problem related to domestic workforce and it’s getting serious, said Professor Rade Ratković, the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Tourism in Budva. He says that there’s no tourism development without domestic workforce and that salaries in Montenegro are the lowest possible.
“We don’t hold data on the private accommodation occupancy, so we don’t know anything for sure, we can only guess. Judging by the private accommodation data, we will have to figure out how to elevate occupancy degree in the pre-season and get closer to the Croatian occupancy indicators. The chronic problem of the lack of service workforce in tourism and hospitality has escalated this year”, says Professor Ratković.
As far as foreign workers are concerned, Professor points out that no destination is sustainable if its tourism is based on foreign workforce.
“Workers are an active part of offer, they represent and promote the country. Besides, a country has no benefits from a tourism which doesn’t employ our people. Domestic workforce has to be absolutely dominant”, points out Mr Ratković.
Workforce deficit should be a cause for alarm. We must carefully look into the problems in our tourism, and adopt a set of measures for overcoming them.
“Montenegro cannot have sustainable economy without tourism and tourism cannot be sustainable if it isn’t based on domestic workforce and offer of domestic products”, points out Mr Ratković.
How this problem can be solved? Professor says it’s a long story. This problem requires radical changes.
“Currently, tourism entrepreneurs aren’t able to provide higher salaries, considering the existing occupancy degree, demand structure and sale channels”, says Mr Ratković.
He stresses that the problem is complex and long-term and requires careful planning.
“Emphasis should be put on organized sale channels and social media promotion. Hypertrophy building construction is a huge limiting factor. Further construction of secondary apartments and residential agglomeration must be stopped. It’s not real tourism, it’s business real estate development and it poses a major threat to the development of sustainable tourism”, says Professor Ratković.
In his opinion, apartments shouldn’t be built in tourist zones any more. He adds that hotels of all categories should be supported – especially small hotels.
“There are no parking places, no roads… apartment construction has seriously spoiled our tourism”, says Mr Ratković.
He points out that we can’t base out tourism on remote markets.
“Our tourism should rely on European markets. We increase organized tourist traffic from the most powerful European emitting markets. Direct booking is important but it’s not enough for optimal capacity occupancy”, said Mr Ratković.
According to him, networking hotels and formation of integral hotels by integrating high-quality parts of private accommodation is the solution.