This season has shown that Žabljak must find new alternatives for the development of winter tourism, and not just the Ski Resort, which has been experiencing certain problems for a long time, primarily in terms of infrastructure, announced the director of the Žabljak Tourism Organization, Vanja Krgović Šarović.
“I think it is good to think in the direction of recomposition into a winter Nordic center.” This type of development has a good perspective, because Nordic skiing is very popular on a global level, and Žabljak has excellent terrain and does not need a large amount of snow. Financial investments are significantly smaller compared to alpine skiing,” Krgović Šarović said in an interview for the Glasnik of the Chamber of Commerce (PKCG).
She recalled that the winter season was significantly delayed compared to the projected start date, and that it was not possible to organize the main tourist activities due to the lack of snow.
“The second part of the season met expectations, both in terms of the number of visits and the possibility of making all tourist facilities available. The first part of the season is just as important, because it includes holidays, school holidays, which are a good opportunity to stay in Žabljak, and a lot was lost there. It’s hard to make up for what was lost, so in the end, when we sum up all the results, we will have a season that will certainly not be able to be entered on the list of successful ones,” said Krgović Šarović.
The main guests during the season were from Montenegro, followed by Serbia, so they made up 90 to 95 percent of tourists in the overall structure. Other smaller percentages were from Croatia, Russia and Ukraine.
Krgović Šarović announced that the Tourist Organization does not deal with the implementation of infrastructure projects, but that this is the responsibility of the Municipality.
“Our part of the job is the promotion and completion of already existing tourist content with certain activities. This year, we are planning to organize a series of events in the fields of culture, sports and congress tourism. Žabljak has a lot of infrastructure problems. “Due to the great pressure of construction, it is very important to reconstruct the water supply system, which will provide a sufficient amount of water, especially in the months when there is a great pressure of tourists,” said Krgović Šarović.
She believes that large hotels with serious accommodation capacity and additional contents and services, congress halls, as well as space for organizing various events and parties are needed.
Krgović Šarović reminded that the Municipality is the founder of the Tourism Organization, and that there is cooperation, which mainly refers to the creation of a development tourism policy, preparation of annual activity plans.
“The tourist organization is not a budgetary unit of the Municipality, but has its own personal budget and plans activities in accordance with it. “The cooperation of every tourist organization with the municipality is extremely important, especially when it comes to the collection of tourist tax, membership fee and residence tax, which are the main sources of financing,” Krgović Šarović explained.
When it comes to predictions for this year, she believes that a very difficult tourist year can be expected.
“First of all, we have a politically very “wobbly” situation in the country. Personnel changes are very frequent, at the local and national level. All political turmoil affects every economic branch. Tourism is very sensitive there and all these turbulences will affect serious development, creating a vision and strategy for further development,” said Krgović Šarović.
She said that the development of tourism in Žabljak is mainly based on open contents and activities in nature, but the perspective must be sustainable tourism according to UNESCO development guidelines.
“Durmitor National Park has this great advantage, which is part of the world’s cultural heritage. This fact brings great benefits, if it is used strategically. That is why it is very important to include all important institutions from the local and national level, as well as the UNESCO team, in the development of long-term action plans. In particular, Žabljak has excellent resources and potential for the development of an interesting green destination, with careful planning and raising the quality of the offer,” said Krgović Šarović.
She added that, in addition, destination management is very important, at the level of the entire country, because tourism-wise, Montenegro is a small and interesting destination. The holders of destination management cannot be local or the National Tourist Organization (NTO), but an independent business firm, whose sole job and task is the development of the destination.