This summer season will certainly be better than the last year’s one, especially if there would be no any undesirable events in our country. For the first four months of 2019, tourist arrivals increased by 10 per cent compared to last year, so I expect the 2019 summer season to be better for 7-10 per cent. In addition, I expect the revenues from tourism to reach over 1.5 billion, the president of the Montenegro Tourism Association, CTU, and co-owner of Splendid Hotel, Žarko Radulović, tells in an interview for Dnevne Novine daily.
He stresses that political turmoil in Montenegro over the past few months for now doesn’t scare tourists, as our country is politically stable.
“Foreigners perceive that our country is stable and safe destination. And we really are stable and safe. God forbid any political situation that might upset foreigners. That would have long-term consequences and downgrade us.”
He claims everybody can see the benefits of NATO membership for Montenegrin tourism: “BICE (Business International Conference) is a good example of that, and those are congresses, seminars and various gatherings… Splendid Hotel records a 10% increase in their number only for the first 4 months of 2019. Last year, we had around 400 similar events, but this year we are going to have even 450-460 and that’s a huge difference.“
Now, he says, more than 60 per cent of those events refers to the Western Balkans. “And that’s how Montenegro’s NATO membership opened this opportunity as well.”
On the question whether Montenegro is a top destination, Mr Radulović says unfortunately it’s not the case as we still lack proper planning.
“Montenegro needs a huge congress center. It would be good to have it within a hotel, but many countries have it. We need a congress center for up to 7,000 participants and those people would stay in hotels over summer and winter. This would significantly increase the number of overnight stays in Montenegro and give us great possibilities…
…Now we hear the Airports of Montenegro brought Lufthansa to Montenegro but of course, they didn’t do it. Lufthansa itself recognized our market. The German airline came by itself as there are no passengers who sit at their homes and wait for the airline to tell them where to travel. Lufthansa is doing in-depth analyses and projections, and its business plan suggested that it would be good for them to organize flights to Montenegro, as it’s [Montenegro] a growing market and the number of passengers would increase.”
According to him, Montenegro is a beautiful destination and one of the most magnificent countries in the Mediterranean.
Mr Radulović continued: “We will use the country’s potentials once we realize what we need to organize thoroughly. Starting from the airports, roads, road controls, customs, services in hotels and restaurants, taxi services… When we merge all this in a proper way, we’ll surely be a well-developed and successful tourism destination. When I say “successful”, I mean on finances as well.”
On the Montenegrin airports and his proposal for welcoming high-yield tourists, Mr Radulović tells that, in this sense, we are too far from high-quality tourism we have been striving for. “We need time and effective strategy to improve this, i.e. we need to have clear vision and know exactly what to do in order to have satisfied guests. This doesn’t mean we have to invent something new but just copy the experience of the countries that already have large airports.”