Tourism is a very sensitive branch of the economy that stands at the end of the chain of causal and consequential connections in all spheres of society, and in this sense we must all carefully and long-term plan it together, work on improving air availability and establish direct air connections between Montenegro and important emitting markets for the 2023 season, it was ordered from the session of the Board of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of the Chamber of Commerce, which was held yesterday in the office building of the Airport of Montenegro.
The focus of the session was the air accessibility of Montenegro with strategic routes in 2023, the extension of the working hours of the Airport in Podgorica, and synergistic action in order to promote the company TO Montenegro together with the Montenegrin tourist destination.
The President of the Committee, Ranko Jovović, said that Montenegro’s commitment is to create a high-quality tourist product, which implies an intensive improvement of the quality of the overall infrastructure, not only of the hotel and catering facilities and facilities they own. In this sense, large investments of the state and private capital are needed in order to improve infrastructure and traffic availability.
– Due to its geographical position, Montenegro is a dominant airline destination because it is far from important emission markets, and the existence of direct airlines, regular, charter and low-cost airlines to/from important emission markets throughout Europe is important for its positioning as a tourist destination. – pointed out Jovović.
According to him, the national airline Air Montenegro should also have a strong influence on the improvement of air connectivity between Montenegro and Europe.
Jovović said that the airport infrastructure is insufficiently developed, and the Tivat and Podgorica airports must increase their capacities, as well as the number and frequency of air connections to key emission markets, and the inoperability of the Tivat airport when it comes to night flying is also a challenge.
In his introductory speech , Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović thanked the Chamber of Commerce and the Board for organizing the session with such an important topic for Montenegrin tourism, as well as the Airports of Montenegro for their hospitality.
– We are witnessing the importance that tourism has for Montenegro. I think that the activities in the coming period in the field of tourism should be grouped around a couple of key priorities, namely the diversification of the market and products, the strengthening of personnel, as well as the need to make the destination as accessible as possible to tourists, so that the product as a whole would be more attractive and competitive – said Đurović.
According to him, it is indisputable that in order to increase the number of visits to the destination and extend the duration of the main tourist season, it is important to improve traffic accessibility and create all the necessary conditions for a faster, safer and more pleasant arrival of tourists. Increasing the accessibility of the destination also means increasing its visibility and recognition to tourists.
– In this sense, I consider it important to improve the infrastructure of Montenegrin airports Podgorica and Tivat, but also to increase the number of destinations with which Montenegro will be connected by direct flights – said the minister.
He pointed out that, in this sense, it is important to stimulate air traffic to/from those markets whose residents have a tendency to travel throughout the year and markets that are recognized as well-paying, adding that in this way, in periods outside the main summer season, new revenues that are necessary for further development in all segments in the supply chain.
Đurović believes that Air Montenegro, as a national airline, is a very important entity in this chain, and that it must be a partner of the Montenegrin tourism industry when defining priority markets and routes.
– It is important to give support to the implementation of as many flights as possible, from as many emission markets as possible, in the period at least during the summer IATA air season (April-October), and stimulate airlines to fly even longer than that – he pointed out.
According to him, the definition of 14 strategic routes in 2022 significantly helped the return of traffic at airports to a level close to that before the corona crisis, but he believes that the list should be improved by introducing new routes.
– I am sure that tourism, when it comes to official data, will exceed one billion euros and I thank all hoteliers, as well as employees in the tourism industry and airports, for the immeasurable contribution they made and were flexible to replace serious markets – said Đurović.
He also pointed out that Qatar and Kuwait represent destinations with incredible potential for attracting tourists, as well as investors who would come with them.
Speaking about the initiative to extend the airport’s working hours, Minister Đurović said that Montenegro must be more open in this regard, so that tourists from all destinations can land later.
He called on the Director of the Airport to consider this initiative within his capabilities.
The Executive Director of the Airports of Montenegro, Vladan Drašković, said that the Airports of Montenegro are one of the key links in the chain when it comes to the air availability of our country.
– The initiative to extend the working hours of the airport is not new and we will pay more analytical attention to it, in order to find a balanced point between the growth of costs in relation to the revenue projection. We need to be extremely careful in order to create a good foundation for a good decision – said Drašković.
According to him, rationality and legality in business must be key.
The Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Nikola Vujović, pointed out that the imperative must be to improve the air accessibility infrastructure, in order to attract as many tourists as possible from those markets that seem the most attractive to us.
– It is extremely important that businessmen present their problems and give input, and it is up to the decision-makers to hear them, because any planning and decision-making on state incentives and other measures should be considered with the tourism industry before adoption and eventual implementation – Vujović said.
Dragan Popović from the company TO Montenegro presented the company’s results so far, pointing out that by the end of the year, a figure of 300,000 transported passengers from 15 destinations is expected, which represents a relatively good result.
– Last year, traffic was carried out with two planes, and from next year, the plan is to have an additional three, which will fly from June to September – he pointed out.
According to him, the signing of bilateral agreements in air traffic with numerous countries is expected, which will bring significant benefits, both for the national airline and for the entire tourism economy.
Dejan Pižurica from the Air Montenegro company believes that a big problem in attracting tourists is the small accommodation facilities in the north, especially in Kolašin.
– Foreign tourists want to stay in hotels located near the ski slopes, and the problem is that we cannot develop in the long term – he said.
He added that business is turning to the Middle East, but that visa liberalization must be introduced first, because it would be a huge benefit for the country, especially highlighting Israel as a possibility for a year-round tourist destination.
Luka Bulatović, the vice-president of the Board, said that due to insufficient capacity at the ski resort itself, it is difficult to start a market for skiers, and that bringing in small groups looking for something more than skiing is a chance.
– We need a good design and promotion of tourist packages towards emission markets – he pointed out.
He cited the promotion of Podgorica as a ski destination, where guests, in addition to organized day trips for skiing, have spa and wellness facilities in Podgorica hotels and can enjoy Podgorica’s nightlife.
Ana Tripković Marković, director of the National Tourist Organization, believes that markets need to be developed years in advance and strategically positioned.
– There is an exceptional demand for Israel, and a joint approach to Germany and the Scandinavian countries is also necessary, in order to increase their visibility – she pointed out.
Milica Mićunović, general director at the Ministry of Capital Investments, said that a proposal for a bilateral agreement has been sent to the Israeli aviation authorities, and that it will be signed as soon as possible, so that Air Montenegro can enter the market.
– The agreement with Kuwait was also initialed and we hope that it will be signed soon – she pointed out.
At the end of the session, it was concluded that it is necessary to hold a joint meeting with AD Aerodromi and the Committee for Tourism and Hospitality of the Chamber of Commerce, as well as all other institutions, in order to work together and promote Montenegro as a tourist destination, but also to strengthen the airports and ToMontenegro, which would generate new demand and strengthen the Montenegrin economy, local media writes.