Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has stated that the construction of the so-called Peace Highway (Nis-Pristina-Tirana-Durres) will finally start in 2019 and that the first phase will pertain to the Nis-Plocnik section.
She said that, once the first phase is over, it will be much easier to reach Prokuplje and Kurumlija as well by highway, and that it will also be easier to attract investors, while small and medium enterprises will be able to expand and connect with the entire Serbia and to export more easily.
Brnabic and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic visited the Simpo Sik factory in Kursumlija and the Special Rehabilitation Hospital Zubor in Kursumlijska Banja on Friday, August 10, 2018.
Brnabic noted that the two biggest tasks of the Government of Serbia regarding Kursumlija were to have the Nis-Plocnik section built and to have the Law on Public Property amended, in order to carry out the privatization of Kursumlijska Banja.
She said that tourism was one of the fastest growing sectors in Serbia, especially spa tourism, where 253,000 visits were made in the first six months of 2018, and that the majority of people came from Serbia, although there was an increasing number of foreigners as well.
The prime minister pointed out that, with its three spas, along with the Devil's Town and the Radan Mountain, Kursumlija had a great potential for tourism.
Talking about Simpo Sik, Brnabic said that it was one of the things that needed to be solved and that the factory needed to be sustainable, continue the production and find a strategic partner which would invest in the upgrade of the equipment in order to be competitive with all other companies operating in Serbia and with foreign companies.
Minister Ljajic pointed out that Kursumlija had three spas in its territory, two of which are doing very well, being among the top eight spas in the number of visitors and overnight stays – Prolom and Lukovska Banja.
– As for Kursumlijska Banja, the one public call for the sale fell through due to the high price of EUR 2.4 million. It is obvious that the price drove off those who were interested in purchasing the spa – Ljajic said and added that the law should be amended if the spa is to be sold at a lower price.
He said that amending the law and having the Property Directorate evaluate the spas in Serbia were being carried out simultaneously.
– We hope that this job will be completed by the end of the year so that we can place new public calls for spas in Serbia beginning with early 2019 and to finally have the process brought to a close, as spa tourism is a huge resource for Serbia's tourism and economy – the minister said and added that, in the first six month, there were 20% more arrivals to Serbian spas.
The president of the Municipality of Kursumlija, Rodoljub Vidic, said that they had discussed reviving Kursumlijska Banja, which has not been operational for 12 years and the sale of which fell through several months ago due to the high price, as well as about the Selova dam, an investment that has been going on for 30 years now, and the highway to be built.
– We've also discussed infrastructural problems, as Kursumlija is one of the biggest municipalities in Serbia with its 950 square kilometers, and funds for the maintenance of these roads have never been sufficient. We have around 800 kilometers of macadam roads and uncategorized roads. We have also had weather disasters here and are a part of the government's aid program – Vidic said.