Charters to run almost every day from Ukraine to Montenegro
During the forthcoming season, Ukrainian tourists are to be arriving in Montenegro almost every day, it was announced after the first charter flight from Kiev landed at Tivat Airport with 153 passengers on board.
The Honorary Consul of Montenegro in Ukraine, owner of tour operator ALF and leader of around 40 travel agents who today came to visit Montenegro, Olga Oleksienko, said that she hoped that there would indeed be a summer season this year, at least when it comes to Ukrainian tourists.
"‘Welcome’... we have been waiting for those words for a very long time ...I myself have fallen in love with Montenegro, and I hope that there will be flights from various Ukrainian cities at least four times a week. "Agents also love your country, and after visiting it they will offer some really great deals for tourists," Oleksienko said.
She thanked the embassies of Montenegro and Ukraine, the Airports of Montenegro and the National Tourist Organization for the positive cooperation that resulted in today's flight and the impressive welcome given to passengers and tourist representatives.
NTO Director Željka Radak Kukavičić highlighted that the organization of the first charter flight and the agreement for those to follow is an expression of trust by the people of Ukraine towards institutions in Montenegro.
"We have proven to be responsible partners and their arrival in such large numbers leads us to expect that we will have a flight almost every day," said Radak Kukavićić.
Assistant Director of Commercial Policy at Airports of Montenegro, Aleksandar Mitrović, pointed out that during the entry checks of Ukrainian passengers, all the recommendations of the National Coordination Body, ie the Institute of Public Health, were followed.
"I must stress that all passengers arrived with a negative PCR test, in line with the required health procedures. The airports in Tivat and Podgorica have all the necessary equipment, from masks to disinfectant. In this way, we are showing that we are protecting the health of employees and citizens and instilling confidence in passengers who come to Montenegro," said Mitrović.
Ukrainian dispatcher Natalija Fijalka once again thanked the Montenegrin side for organizing the flight and welcoming the passengers, emphasizing that the Ukrainian people are increasingly interested in coming to Montenegro.
Last year, over 60,000 tourists from Ukraine stayed in Montenegro, spending a total of over 460,000 nights. Almost 89 thousand passengers from a total of 543 aircraft landed at Tivat Airport from Ukraine.
1 July, 2020 - The Tourist Organization of the Municipality of Tivat, in cooperation with "Morsko Dobro" has, as part of the project Green Destinations, nominated Tivat for the 2020 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. The application process comprised several key steps. Namely, through the use of the Green Destinations platform, information had to be entered and reports made on the 15 criteria required, and a good practice example had to be given. Tivat Nature Reserve “Solila” was chosen as this example from Tivat Municipality, focussing on sustainable principles, problem solving, and creating a good environment for nature, tourists and the local community.
Some of the 15 criteria are: tourism policy - the destination must have a publicly available, long-term tourism policy or strategy related to environmental, aesthetic, social, cultural and economic issues, as well as issues of quality, health and safety. Air pollution - air pollution is adequately treated, and the effects of air pollution related to tourism are effectively controlled. Promotion of local products and services - the inclusion of local craftsmen, producers and service providers in the tourism chain in accordance with the principles of fair trade is supported; local and sustainable products that support nature, culture, local identity and the local economy are promoted. Sustainability Standards - Internationally recognized sustainability standards that comply with the GSTC criteria for tourism-related businesses are promoted by the destination or business sector.
Issues related to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, nature and landscape, waste treatment, etc are also included. The application for the 2020 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations was to be completed by 1st July, while feedback is expected on 1st September, and the official announcement of destinations on the final list will be made in October. Destinations selected for the Top 100 will also qualify for the Sustainable Destination Awards 2020, which will be presented at Global Green Days Destinations in the spring of 2021 in Bodrum, Turkey.
The Tourist Organization of Tivat would like to thank all the associates and colleagues from the following organisations and businesses who helped with the application and whose cooperation made it possible for Tivat to enter the TOP 100 sustainable destinations for 2020: The Secretariat for Investments, Spatial Planning and Sustainable Development, the Secretariat for Communal Affairs and Transport, the Secretariat for Tourism and Entrepreneurship, the Secretariat for Culture and Social Affairs, and the companies DOO "Komunalno" Tivat, Brand New Tivat, as well as the Protection and Rescue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, strategic partners Porto Montenegro and Luštica Bay and NGO Expeditio.
The Top 100 Sustainable Destinations competition is being held for the sixth time in a row and aims to present tourism stories and examples of good sustainable development practice from local and regional destinations as inspiring examples to others, both travel organizers and tourists.
Through reporting on a variety of Green Destinations criteria and also using their internet platform, destinations can work on strengthening tourism sustainability, avoiding mass tourism, and also help promote tourism, warning destinations of hidden dangers associated with tourism development.
By publishing an annual list and sharing good practices and success stories of destinations, Green Destinations aims to identify initiatives that make tourist destinations more sustainable, responsible and attractive from the point of view of the tourist experience.
Source: Radio Tivat, Zora Krstovic
June 28, 2020 - Specific dates for opening borders alongside measures introduced by competing countries have meant that some tourists, who would otherwise have preferred to come to Montenegro, have already opted for destinations such as Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Egypt and Tunisia.
Montenegro is currently open to more than 100 countries, but more than 70 percent of them are not the markets from which most guests come. According to the Association of Hotels and Apartments of the Municipality of Ulcinj, the more favorable entry measures introduced by Albania have led to up to 90% of their tourist capacity being filled, compared to last year.
The situation in Croatia is similar to Montenegro’s, yet as a European Union member it must adhere to the measures prescribed by the EU.
Montenegro is currently open to countries with fewer than 25 active cases per 100,000 population. The problem with this criterion is that on any given day the criterion may be fulfilled, and yet in five days’ time it may no longer be. In the meantime, flights have been arranged, sales have been agreed, and packages sold to tourists, yet five days later everything has to be cancelled. In order to save the economy, the tourism industry is proposing the abolition of the PCR test when tourists enter, with stricter controls.
Given this situation on the tourism market on the one hand, and the significant impact that tourism has on the economy of the country on the other, the tourism industry expects the competent institutions in Montenegro to find sustainable solutions that will allow economic activities to make the most of the rest of the tourist season.
As the "Fly Montenegro" agency claims, the current measure cannot be applied from the point of view of specifying flights, because countries that meet that criterion can be on the list of banned countries again by the time of the scheduled flight, e.g Poland and Israel.
"Competing countries (Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Egypt, etc.) do not have the criterion of 25 active patients per 100,000 inhabitants but have either fully open borders, with certain measures to implement distance and mandatory wearing of masks when entering (Albania, Greece, Croatia, Egypt, etc.), or carry out tests for incoming passengers (Turkey)," Fly Montenegro states.
According to their information, in addition to the aforementioned measures, Croatia and Albania have introduced filling in forms upon entering the country. The purpose of the form is to know where an individual will be staying, and the date of arrival and departure in order to monitor the situation and controls. In Tirana, forms are filled out manually during the flight, to avoid crowds on landing. Croatia has created a web application through which passengers can fill in the required information before arriving in Croatia in order to avoid waiting at the airport.
Tivat - Photo Boka News
The Association of Hotels and Apartments of the Municipality of Ulcinj recently appealed to the Government to open the borders and allow unimpeded entry and stay of persons from the countries of the region because, as they say, the economic situation is very difficult.
The President of the Association, Fuad Lunji, claims that in Albania, compared to last year, 80 to 90 percent of the capacity is currently filled and that they are doing fairly well, adding that many of their tourists had wanted to stay in Montenegro.
“Tourists as tourists have an alternative and why would they go somewhere where it is closed and pay for a PCR test, when they can go somewhere that is completely open and pay nothing. We cannot be too smart and not be able to establish that,” Lunji stated.
He suggests that with increased controls at border crossings, tourists should be allowed to enter without tests.
“Every person in Montenegro depends directly and indirectly on tourism, especially those of us on the coast who depend on tourists from the entire region: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia - these are our markets. We were the only ones to make a PCR test compulsory. I agree that the situation is bad, and it is a pandemic, but I think we have a much worse economic situation heading towards us. I feel sorry for all the people who get sick, people who die, but believe me, a huge catastrophe awaits us when all this stops,” Lunji believes.
His hotel "Salina" in Ulcinj currently has no guests. While the borders were temporarily open without a test, he says they had full weekends of tourists from Kosovo. However, he now claims that their situation was better in November and December last year than now.
“We have to find a way out and make the best of the situation, whatever the disease turns out to be,” Lunji thinks.
Travel agency "Fly Montenegro" spoke to Pobjeda, saying that apart from the region, there is a huge interest from tourists from Belarus and Ukraine, from where about 100,000 tourists came to Montenegro last year. Flights from these countries are now being diverted to Albania precisely because of the measures.
“The fact is that due to the global crisis caused by Covid-19, we cannot expect significant numbers from Western European countries this tourist season, because they are telling everyone to spend their summers in their countries. So our potential traditional incoming markets remain primarily Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, our region, Poland, the Emirates, the Czech Republic, Israel and others,” claims Fly Montenegro.
Herceg Novi during coronavirus
It is especially important, they say, to consider measures of competitors in the tourist market (Croatia, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.), which over time are taking more and more tourists from the traditional incoming markets and are therefore decreasing the chances for some sort of rescue for at least part of the tourist season.
“We already have seen a number of examples where flights from Belarus that were planned for Montenegro were redirected to Albania, where the first flight arrived on 12th June. The first flights from Minsk, which were planned and sold to Tivat in mid-June, were diverted and landed in Tirana. The flight was welcomed at Tirana Airport by the Minister of Tourism of Albania. Belarus is not yet on the list of countries from which it is possible to come to Montenegro because they have more than 25 active patients per 100,000 inhabitants, which is completely realistic considering that mass tests are performed in that country, between 15,000 and 20,000 a day,” states Fly Montenegro.
They add that for now, flights from Minsk to Tivat have been moved to start on 10th July.
“If a sustainable solution is not found, the airline Belavia will be forced to completely cancel flights to Montenegro this year and redirect all its flights to competitive markets. How important the Ukrainian market is is best shown by the fact that negative PCR tests for Ukrainian tourists are not required by Croatia, Albania, Greece, Turkey or Egypt,” said Fly Montenegro.
As they explain, the last change according to which Ukraine was put on the list of countries from which tourists can visit Montenegro, but with the obligatory negative PCR test not older than 48 hours, cannot be applicable to tourist arrivals for two reasons.
Beach - tourism
“The first is of a technical nature because in Ukraine the minimum turnaround for PCR tests is 72 hours or longer, as the number of laboratories that issue PCR tests is limited. The second is economic in nature because the PCR test costs about 80 euros, which automatically removes us from the market as competing countries can attract them by not insisting on a negative PCR test. For example, a family of four has to pay over 300 euros for tests alone, and there are huge queues for PCR testing. In addition, no one can guarantee that the tests will be issued between the 48 and 72 hours as required by us, and therefore tourists opt for competing countries where there are no such requirements,” the agency clarified.
The outcome of this situation, they say, is that the planned flights from Ukraine to Montenegro from 1st July have been cancelled.
June 22, 2020 - Last weekend, the Tourist Organization of the Municipality of Tivat hosted representatives of a study group of media and travel agencies from Bosnia and Herzegovina and a group of influencers from Albania.
The visit of a group of media and tourist agencies from BiH to Montenegro was organized by the National Tourism Organization of Montenegro, in cooperation with local tourist organizations along the coast. On Saturday, June 20, the group stayed in Tivat. TO Tivat, in cooperation with partners, designed an interesting programme to showcase what the area has to offer and present the potential of the municipality of Tivat as a tourist destination.
The programme included a tour of the Porto Montenegro marina resort, a walk along the Tivat Pine waterfront and a tour of the luxury complex Luštica Bay. The tour of Luštica Bay, accompanied by a guide, included a visit to “The Chedi” hotel, “The Rok” beach bar and “The Spot” restaurant, where dinner was organized in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The gathering was attended by representatives of the media: BHT1, TV Sarajevo, Face TV, Klix portal, Exclusive, SA Radio and portal, and Gracija magazine, as well as representatives of Relax, Sirius, Castanea, M97, Viptravels travel agencies.
Sunday, June 21st, was reserved for a visit by Albanian influencers, who were guests of the Regent Hotel in Porto Montenegro from June 19th to 21st. Well-known influencers from Albania had a full programme organized by the management of the Regent Hotel, with Sunday morning organized by TO Tivat. The tour organized by TO Tivat in cooperation with the agency “Montenegro Destinations” included a ride through the city in attractive tuk tuk vehicles, followed by a visit to the beach complex “Movida”, where after refreshments in the beach bar influencers had the opportunity for a walk and to take some stunning photos. The authentic taverna "Vino Santo" was a perfect spot with just the right atmosphere for the group to enjoy lunch, arranged to include tasting of fish specialties.
The previous Saturday, June 13, the Tourist Organization of the Municipality of Tivat hosted a group of local influencers, also guests of the Regent Hotel, and in cooperation with Montenegro Destinations, organized a picnic in the atmospheric village of Gornja Lastva.
June 17, 2020 - The Union of Medical Doctors of Montenegro (SDMCG), Action for Human Rights (AHR) and the Center for Civic Education (CCE) are calling on the Minister of Health and the National Coordination Body for Infectious Diseases (NKT) to allow entry into Montenegro without institutional quarantine to all persons with a negative PCR test, not just those who enter the country on private planes and yachts. Tourists will be required to bring a negative PCR test result that is not older than 48 hours, and Montenegrin citizens and residents will be able to be tested directly at the border.
AHR and CCE have previously pointed to discrimination regarding the fact that people are allowed to come to Montenegro on private planes and yachts from all countries, regardless of the infection rates, if they have a negative test not older than 48 hours, while this is not possible for those who want to enter the country in usual ways, for example, by car.
It is known that citizens and residents, coming from Serbia, are entering Montenegro through Bosnia and Herzegovina, without any quarantine or testing. Rumours are circulating that in this way several people who have been infected with the Covid virus have already entered the country -19 who were infected at a recent football match in Belgrade. We call on the authorities to confirm or refute these rumours.
Also, many people are entering Montenegro unhindered from Albania, although the scope of testing there is worryingly low, meaning that the numbers of people infected and the risk of importing the virus cannot be realistically assessed.
Given this, we believe that it is far more rational that, instead of there being a “narrow gateway” into Montenegro through Bosnia and Herzegovina with no testing or monitoring, everyone should be allowed to enter via the "large gateway", but with a negative test, not older than 48 hours, or indeed they should be given the opportunity to undergo a test at the border crossing. In the latter case the person would be obliged by the decision of the sanitary inspector to wait for the test result in self-isolation. Symptoms can be monitored by the Institute for Public Health (IPH) via an application they have developed and is already in use.
If the NKT and the Minister of Health believe otherwise, we expect them to inform the public of all the reasons behind their position in an open and considered manner. We also expect the Ombudsman to give a reasoned opinion on whether the orders of the Minister of Health are discriminatory or not.