Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 22.01.2020.| 11:09
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2019 RETROSPECTIVE – Investments in TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION most interesting to eKapija users

If there's an industry in Serbia that's constantly growing, it's tourism. At the end of 2019, we were once again told that the year behind us had been a record-breaking one, with over three million tourists having visited Serbia by the end of October. The foreign exchange inflow is expected to reach the amount of EUR 1.5 billion. Serbia is mostly visited by guests from the region, primarily Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, followed by guests from China, Turkey, Russia, Germany...

That Serbia is a country on the rise when it comes to tourism has been recognized by investors as well. Construction and other activities have gained traction throughout the country. Hotels and tourist complexes were being opened, some dilapidated facilities were renewed, and new investments have been announced as well. Nearly all tourist centers tried to expand their offer so as to attract as many tourists as possible. We can therefore say that the trend of building gondolas and adventure and aqua parks is growing throughout the country.

One of the biggest potentials of Serbia are spas. It seems that the country hasn't yet learned how to use this potential properly. While the neighboring countries are becoming increasingly recognized as spa centers, Serbia still doesn't have a formula for developing this type of tourism. Although there are several exceptions, such as Vrnjacka Banja or Sokobanja, it must be said that numerous Serbian spas are either dying out or have already been completely ruined.

In early 2019, the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Telecommunications of Serbia, Rasim Ljajic, announced that a new evaluation of 27 spas in Serbia would begin in 2020 so that the best investment model would be found for each, enabling a full realization of the potential of spa tourism.

Invitations for purchase bids for the Zlatar spa complex in Nova Varos, Vranjska Banja and Zubor in Kursumlijska Banja opened in 2019. The portfolio of the Ministry of Economy features several other spas waiting to be privatized: Ribarska Banja in Krusevac, Gejzir in Sijarinska Banja, Merkur in Vrnjacka Banja, the Special Rehabilitation Hospital in Bujanovac, the Institute for Treatment and Rehabilitation Niska Banja, the Special Hospital in Banja Koviljaca, the Special Hospital Zlatibor in Cajetina, Sokobanja and Termal in Vrdnik.

Whether 2020 will bring something new remains to be seen. While we are waiting for a solution for Serbian spas, eKapija presents the most interesting projects in the TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION category which marked the year 2019.

Fruske Terme
Fruske Terme
As we've already mentioned, the year behind us was marked by the opening of a large number of hotels and tourist complexes. One of them is the Fruske Terme complex, which proved to be the most popular one in this category, taking first place. This complex, located on Fruska Gora, opened in September, offering a wellness and spa center with pools, a salt room, tepidariums, restaurants, bars and a medical unit.

The third underground level features the central pool, a lazy river, waterslides for children and a katarsys. The second one features a private spa center with saunas and tepidariums, whereas the first one features a restaurant of 700 m2. The ground level features a medical unit, and the complex's loft houses conference rooms.

The investor, Promont Group, began building this complex in 2018. Together with the Ethno Village Vrdnicka Kula, it has considerably upgraded the tourist offer of Vrdnik.

The second spot belongs to Hotel Mona Plaza in Belgrade. This latest project of Mona Hotel Management is located in Dorcol where the former Kosta Sonda chocolate factory used to be.

This four-star hotel offers 170 spacious rooms and modern apartments. With a conference-exhibit space taking up three levels and over 2,000 m2, Mona Plaza is the largest congress center in this part of the city. It features an accessible parking lot and a two-tier underground garage. One of the special characteristics of this hotel is its location. Everything at Hotel Mona Plaza is in the sign of Sonda chocolate.

The Rtanj mountain is certainly one of Serbia's pearls. In 2019, the luxury four-star Hotel Ramonda was raised on this mountain. The hotel has 21 accommodation units, a spa center equipped with an outdoor and an indoor pool, a sauna, a steam bath and a hydromassage bathtub, and an attractive massage program is available as well. A mountaineering path and a shrine are located right next to the hotel.

The hotel, whose construction took about two and a half years, also features a large restaurant with a balcony, which offers gastronomic specialties made from fresh local ingredients.

Another project that will certainly enrich the tourist offer of Rtanj is the construction of a panoramic gondola, which should go from the foot of the mountain, that is, the Rtanj settlement, to the very peak. These investments have drawn a lot of attention from our readers, taking the third spot.

The fourth place features the tourist-recreation complex Samar in Ribarska Banja, which opened in June 2019. The construction of the complex began three years ago, and the complex features tennis and sand volleyball courts and an aqua park with thermal water pools. It also offers rent-a-bike services and table tennis facilities.

The Special Hospital Ribarska Banja says for eKapija that they hope that this investment will accelerate the growth of the number of tourists to Ribarska Banja, and not just those coming for treatment either. As they pointed out, this should eventually lead to the construction of new hotels and accommodation capacities, especially in the private sector, which will have numerous positive effects on the whole area.

Hotel Sunce in Sokobanja
Hotel Sunce in Sokobanja
As already said, Sokobanja is one of the positive examples when it comes to the development of Serbian spas. In this area, tourism has been developing at an increased pace in the past few years, and the recently completed construction of Hotel Sunce, which will open in 2020, will certainly contribute to it.

Once it opens, the hotel will offer 3 congress rooms of various sizes and around 150 rooms and apartments for around 400-450 guests. Also, the hotel will have two indoor and one outdoor pool, as well as a wellness and spa facility. This investments in Sokobanja placed fifth.

We return to Belgrade, presenting a coffee shop, after all the hotels and tourist complexes. Citizens of Serbia were happy to learn about the arrival of Starbucks, the world's most famous coffee shop chain. Starbucks is located in Belgrade city center in Kneza Mihaila Street. In the first days after the opening, it attracted a large number of guests. The opening of this coffee shop also made Belgrade's guests happy, and our readers obviously thought this was good news as well. The project placed sixth on our list.

We are still in Belgrade, with the seventh spot belonging to a project which provoked a range of reactions throughout Serbia, the Belgrade Gondola, which is supposed to connect Kalemegdan and Usce. The plan is for it to have 25 cabins, and is supposed to change the city permanently, the authorities said. Representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) agree, but see this investment from a different angle. According to the SASA's Department of Historical Sciences, the construction of a gondola system would jeopardize the harmony of this monument and affect the appearance of the Belgrade Fortress.

The Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute (RERI) also voiced their opinion against the gondola, filing a request to the Administrative Court in Belgrade for stopping the construction. The Administrative Court upheld the request, deeming it justified and concluding that the works on Kalemegdan might lead to “irreparable consequences to the cultural good – the Kalemegdan fortress and the environment”.

The eighth spot belongs to the investments on Stara Planina. After several years of harmonizing the competences of individual institutions, location requirements were issued by the Ministry of Construction for the LEDNICI Apartment Houses in the Jabucko Ravniste area on Stara Planina.

Under the plan, the first phase entails the construction of six apartment houses, with ten apartments per house, whereas the second phase entails the construction of another apartment house, a restaurant and a spa center with playrooms for children. The entire project will take up around 2,800 m2.

Hotel Park
Hotel Park
Vrnjacka Banja is often considered the central place of Serbian tourism, a status we must say is deserved. If you like to visit this place, you will be happy to know that it will get another luxury hotel this year. This investment placed ninth on our list. The Serbian hotel chain A Hoteli has started reconstructing Hotel Park.

The hotel will have 67 accommodation units, a lobby bar, a restaurant with a patisserie, a restaurant as part of accommodation services, a spa center, a meeting room, a conference room and a parking lot. The spa center will feature a pool, a sauna, a salt room, a relaxation room with tepidariums and an area for massages and treatments. Around EUR 9 million was invested in the reconstruction of the hotel, and the opening is scheduled for May 2020.

The final, tenth spot belongs to another hotel. Garni Hotel Centar No1 opened in Belgrade in 2019. It is located in Kolarceva Street in the former Jugoeksport building. After it purchased the building in 2016, Industrija Mesa Matijevic made an investment of nearly EUR 15 million with the objective of reconstructing this monumental building built in the style of academic art and turning it into a luxury 4-star hotel. The facade, a cultural good of Belgrade, remains unchanged.

Take a look at the full list of investments in the TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATION category and compare it to your opinions, expectations and estimates.

We also invite you to take a look at the investments which marked 2019 in the field of PUBLIC UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE AND ENERGY.
Companies: Beograd
Promont group d.o.o. Novi Sad
ZLATIBOR PLAZA d.o.o. Beograd
MONA PLAZA d.o.o. Beograd
Specijalna bolnica Ribarska Banja Kruševac
Grad Beograd
Galerija nauke i tehnike Sanu Beograd
Upravni sud Srbije
Ministarstvo građevinarstva, saobraćaja i infrastrukture Republike Srbije
A hoteli - lanac hotela Beograd
IM Matijević d.o.o. Novi Sad
Ministarstvo turizma i omladine Republike Srbije
Zlatar a.d. Nova Varoš
Ministarstvo privrede Republike Srbije
SB Merkur Vrnjačka Banja
Specijalna bolnica za rehabilitaciju Bujanovac
Institut Niška Banja
HTP Banja Koviljača a.d. Banja Koviljača
Specijalna bolnica za rehabilitaciju Termal Vrdnik
Ramonda Rtanj doo Boljevac
Promont Group
Fruske terme complex
Ethno Village Vrdnička kula
Mona Hotel Management
hotel Mona Plaza
Kosta Šonda
hotel Ramonda Rtanj
gondola on Rtanj
eKapija business portal
Sports and Recreation Center Samar
Special Hospital Ribarska banja
hotel Sunce Sokobanja
City of Belgrade
gondola in Belgrade
construction of a gondola in Belgrade
Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute
Administrative Court in Belgrade
Ministry of Construction Transport and Infrastructure
Apartment houses LEDNICI
Jabučko Ravanište
Stara Planina
A Hoteli
hotel Park Vrnjačka Banja
Mesna industrija Matijević
Garni hotel Centar No1 Belgrade
Ministry of Trade Tourism and Telecommunications
Zlatar spa complex Nova Varoš
Vranjska banja
Žubor Kuršumlija
Kuršumlijska banja
Ministry of Economy
Ribarska banja Kruševac
Gejzir Sijarinska banja
Merkur Vrnjačka banja
Special Hospital for Rehabilitation Bujanovac
Institute for Treatment and Rehabilitation Niška banja
Special Hospital Banja Koviljača
Special Hospital Zlatibor Čajetina
Termal Vrdnik
2019 retrospective
tourism entertainment and recreation retrospective
Rasim Ljajić
investments in tourism
tourism investments
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