Saturday, May 06, 2006

Montenegro plots a tourist future without little old ladies

In an article called The Next Top Destination?, Transitions Online takes a look at the future of tourism in Montenegro. Whether or not Montenegro opts for independence, its economic future will be heavily dependent on how its tourist industry develops. Apparently one in three people is expected to work in tourism by 2010, which seems like a rather frightening dependence on a highly seasonal industry.

Off season in Budva
An international ecotourism organisation is quoted as suggesting that the state "should work on preserving the current state of the environment". Given that "the environment" currently seems to be regarded as a convenient empty place in which to throw all kinds of waste, that sounds like a shockingly unambitious aim.

The same organisation discourages promotion of inland Montenegro as a destination for foreign tourists, saying that the country should "limit itself to offering daytrips into the mountains for foreign tourists staying on the coast during summer". So we can probably expect endless references to the luxury hotel at Sveti Stefan, combined with a continuing lack of practical information about reputedly beautiful places such as Biogradska Gora National Park.

Finally, the article predicts an increase in the number of hotel rooms with a corresponding fall in the availability of private accommodation. I've read similar predictions about Croatia. Are we witnessing the end of that beloved institution of the Adriatic Coast, the "sobe"-renting granny?

At the time of writing the article is in the free section of the Transitions Online site, but it will probably move to the paid section after a while.

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