The air accessibility of Montenegro as a tourist destination needs to be improved, it was assessed at the session of the Committee of the Hospitality and Tourism Association of the Chamber of Commerce (PKCG) and it was ordered that direct air connections should be established with important emitting markets for the next season.
PKCG announced that the focus of the session, which was held today in the office building of the Airport of Montenegro, was the air accessibility of the country with strategic routes in the coming year.
“As well as 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 announcement states.
In addition to businessmen, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović, Vice President of PKCG Nikola Vujović, representatives of the Ministry of Capital Investments, the National Tourist Organization (NTO), Montenegro Airport, To Montenegro and local tourist organizations participated in the work.
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, as he said, large investments by the state and private capital are needed in order to improve infrastructure and traffic availability.
“Due to its geographical position, Montenegro is a dominant aviation destination because it is far from important broadcasting markets”, stated Jovović.
He said that the existence of direct airlines, regular, charter and low-cost airlines to/from important emission markets throughout Europe is important for the positioning of Montenegro as a tourist destination.
According to Jovović, the national airline Air Montenegro should have a strong influence on the improvement of Montenegro’s air connectivity with Europe.
He said that the airport infrastructure is insufficiently developed, that Tivat and Podgorica Airports must increase their capacities, as well as the number and frequency of air connections to key emission markets.
Jovović added that the inoperability of the Tivat airport when it comes to night flying is also a challenge.
Đurović believes that the activities in the coming period in the field of tourism should be grouped around a couple of key priorities.
“These are 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.
Đurović said that 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 Đurović.
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.
Đurović added that in this way, in periods outside the main summer season, new revenues will be generated which are necessary for further development in all segments of the supply chain.
He believes that Air Montenegro, as a national airline, is a very important entity in this chain and that it must be a partner to the Montenegrin tourism industry when defining priority markets and routes.
“It is important that we support 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,” said Đurović.
According to him, the definition of 14 strategic routes this year significantly helped the return of traffic at airports to a level close to that before the corona crisis.
Đurović 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 EUR 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 stated 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, Đurović said that Montenegro must be more open in this sense, in order to allow tourists from all destinations to land even later.
He called on the Director of the Airport to, in accordance with the possibilities, consider that initiative.
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 country’s air availability.
“The initiative to extend the working hours of the airport is not new and we will pay increased 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.
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 to be the most attractive.
“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 possible implementation,” he said. Vujović.
The representative of To Montenegro, Dragan Popović, presented the company’s results so far, emphasizing that by the end of the year, a figure of 300,000 transported passengers from 15 destinations is expected.
That, as he stated, 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,” said Popović.
According to him, the signing of bilateral agreements in air traffic with numerous countries is expected.
Popović said that this will bring significant benefits, both for the national airline and for the entire tourism economy.
Dejan Pižurica from Air Montenegro believes that a big problem in attracting tourists is the small accommodation facilities in the north, especially in Kolašin.
He said that foreign tourists want to stay in hotels located near ski slopes.
Pižurica added that business is turning to the Middle East, but that, first of all, visa liberalization must be introduced, because that would be a huge benefit for the state.
He particularly highlighted Israel as a possibility for a year-round tourist destination.
The Vice President of the Board, Luka Bulatović, 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 emerging markets”, pointed out Bulatović.
Director of NTO, Ana Tripković Marković, 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 said.
The Director General of the Ministry of Capital Investments, Milica Mićunović, said that a proposal for a bilateral agreement had been sent to the Israeli aviation authorities, and that it would be signed as soon as possible, so that Air Montenegro could enter the market.
“The agreement with Kuwait was also initialed and we hope that it will be signed soon,” Mićunović pointed out, local media writes.