Towards the new season – Can Montenegro beat the 2019 record?

Source: eKapija Thursday, 23.03.2023. 02:05
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(Photo: Pixabay.com/Сергей Петров)
More than two million tourists visited Montenegro last year and nearly 12.5 million overnight stays were realized. When it comes to finances, data from the Central Bank show that revenues from foreign tourists amounted to EUR 1.054 billion. All this indicates that last year`s season was more than successful. However, despite the achieved results, the records achieved by the country in 2019 have yet to be broken.

Everyone expects a lot from the upcoming season - both the state and the economy. The announcements are excellent, hoteliers are satisfied with the reservations, and record visits were recorded at the very beginning of the year. And will the results from 2019 finally be surpassed?

The Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism (MEDT) tells eKapija that, although the beginning of the season in the north of Montenegro was marked by uncertainty regarding snowfall, they can already speak of a successful winter tourist season.

(Photo: Stefan Kostić/Unsplash)

Expectations from the summer season

Speaking about the season ahead, this government department says that they welcome it ready and with a lot of optimism.

The expectations are that, if the current growth trends continue, we will reach the record level of 2019, but also record an increase. Bearing in mind numerous planned activities in order to better prepare for the the season, we expect that there will be an increase in tourist traffic, i.e. the number of overnight stays by foreign guests and income from tourism. In addition to the above, our goal is to encourage more tourists from high-income markets, increase consumption per tourist, as well as the period of stay at our destination, the Ministry tells eKapija.

The Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro (CCM) also has high expectations for the summer season. As they say, the representatives of the tourism industry are satisfied with the booking and have good reports of arrivals from Western and Central Europe, Israel, as well as the region.

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Accommodation facilities in the north

Speaking about accommodation capacities in Montenegro, MEDT says that the development of the north of Montenegro is one of the priorities of this department. As they state, this region has a serious potential for growth and competition with the coastal region in the coming years, which is evidenced by the fact that, when we talk about the economic citizenship project, eight out of a total of 12 projects from the development list are located in the north (seven in Kolasin, one in Zabljak ).

- These are high-category hotels, the value of which is projected at EUR 113.8 million, and the plan is to put into operation the total capacity of over a thousand accommodation units to create conditions for the opening of close to 800 new jobs, they state.

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The Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism says that, among the numerous activities that are carried out in preparation for the upcoming season, there are also those that concern the positioning of Montenegro on international markets.

– In cooperation with the National Tourism Organization and the tourism industry, MEDT participated in significant international fairs and exchanges in Tel Aviv, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Berlin and Vienna. The visits to the mentioned fairs were satisfactory, because, based on the contacts of Montenegrin businessmen with their partners and the expressed interest of the visitors, an increased number of tourists from these destinations is expected, they state.

(Photo: Air Montenegro/Nebojša Jelić)

Air availability of the destination - Increased number of flights and new markets

Having in mind that Montenegro is the dominant airline destination in relation to the target markets, activities are also aimed at improving airline availability, primarily towards the countries of Central, Western and Northern Europe, as well as other high-income markets.

When it comes to air availability, the national airline Air Montenegro told our portal that last year they connected Montenegro with 16 destinations, including Paris, Nantes, Lyon, Zurich, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Ljubljana, Belgrade, Prague, Banja Luka, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Katowice, Yerevan, Bratislava and Cairo.

– In addition to the mentioned destinations, this year the Montenegrin national airline continues to expand its network and introduce new destinations. The number of flights between Montenegro and Poland has been doubled, and in addition to Katowice, it is planned to launch an additional line to Rzeszów, the largest city in southeastern Poland. France remains an important market, so in addition to Paris, Nantes and Lyon, two new destinations in Normandy are also planned, Air Montenegro told us.

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Airports set records

The Airports of Montenegro told our portal that during the first two months of this year, they broke records in terms of the number of passengers.

They also state that during the last summer IATA season, Podgorica was connected with up to 32 destinations, and Tivat with up to 28 of them.


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They also add that Brno is another new city to which flights will be made during the summer season.

– While the national airline will fly to Prague up to four times a week, significantly more compared to last year. This year we will also have direct flights to another important market, so we are already planning traffic to Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn from May, they add.

(Photo: Shutterstock/sduraku)

Can Montenegro become a year-round tourist destination?


Despite the aspirations to become a year-round tourist destination, Montenegro is still characterized by distinct seasonality. The Ministry of Economic Development tells us that the tourist offer is continuously developing, but it is still not at the level they would like.

The problem of seasonality was also pointed out by the Chamber of Commerce.

– Tourism in Montenegro is still a highly seasonal activity, since two-thirds of the income is generated during only three summer months (June, July and August). In this regard, it is necessary to work on overcoming business barriers and designing encouraging measures that will attract guests in the period outside the main tourist season, CCM told our portal.

As they point out, Montenegro is not only a summer bathing destination, but also a destination that has something to offer lovers of active vacations in the winter months.

They are of the opinion that in order to create a complex tourist offer, it is necessary to connect the coast and the hinterland, to extend the season, which would also give the north an additional development impulse. At the same time, additional high-category hotel facilities are needed, which generate the greatest economic effects for GDP, employment, state revenues and the extension of the season.

(Photo: Pixabay.com/Ira Lee Nesbitt)

Year after year, the same problem - shortage of qualified labor force

One of the biggest problems affecting the tourism industry, not only in Montenegro, but also in the entire region, is certainly the lack of qualified workforce. Everyone agrees on this - tourism workers, the state and tourist organizations and business associations. How to, then, solve this problem?

The deficit of personnel with adequate knowledge and skills is present in almost all segments of tourism. The problem of lack of manpower in seasonal jobs is particularly pronounced and represents one of the business barriers, the Chamber of Commerce tells our portal.

According to them, in order to alleviate this problem the Chamber initiated the introduction of the "permanent seasonal worker" category at the competent institutions.

Also, it is necessary to amend the Labor Law regarding performing temporary jobs and pass the Law on Student Cooperatives, which would enable more flexible engagement of the domestic workforce and students as a special category, during the summer season.

– It is necessary to approach and draft a new strategy for the development of human resources in the tourism sector in Montenegro, and all this should be accompanied by centers for specialist education of personnel of all profiles. It is necessary to emphasize the simplification and digitization of employment procedures, to create an electronic portal for the registration of seasonal workers, as well as to implement Art. 81 of the Law on Foreigners, which stipulates that when applying for a permit for the seasonal employment of a foreigner, biometric data can be taken at our embassies and consular offices. In this way, a foreigner would come to Montenegro only when he receives a permit for seasonal work, which would shorten waiting times at the counters and reduce the employer`s costs, they add.

Dragana Obradovic


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