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.
June 13, 2020 - Montenegro has partially enabled international bus transport of passengers with clearly specified conditions, and some of the regular international lines have been re-established with clearly defined requirements and rules. Bus traffic within the country is running smoothly. The lines are consistent, passengers respect the prescribed measures, but there are slightly fewer of them than there were before the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to data from Tivat bus station, they still do not have information on when the buses will be leaving for Belgrade, Novi, Sad, Nis, Dubrovnik, Tirana, or other destinations with regular bus lines before the COVID-19 epidemic. Now only the bus line to Sarajevo-Pale is functioning. And from the Kotor bus station, international bus transport takes place only with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Station chief Mirko Roganovic says:
"Carriers started operating on the route Ulcinj - Sarajevo at 7:40 from the bus station from Kotor. They run two companies alternately - Lalatović and Centrotrans. A line has been established with Doboj, where the carrier Lazaro runs on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays at 6.40 p.m. These are currently the only international departures from the bus station in Kotor."
One of the carriers that run from Boka outside the borders of Montenegro is Lalatović transport. Current international lines are for Serbia and Albania. Mostly seafarers travel to Albania, and most travelers to Serbia are Montenegrin citizens studying in that country. Director Vladimir Lalatović says that the interest is high, so they run twice a week:
"We are going from Herceg Novi, Tivat, Budva, Podgorica, Bijelo Polje, travelers from Niksić and Berane are also joining. It is a matter of free transport, and all passengers must contact our agency or branch office in Herceg Novi to get the necessary information. We are preparing a list of passengers, so we arrive at the border completely ready, and there is no delay. There is no transfer because the buses go directly to Belgrade. On Sunday, June 16, our coach will drive to Novi Sad. And direct lines to Albania function without any problems. "
When it comes to returning, there are no passengers, and according to Lalatović, the reason is to avoid mandatory quarantine upon entering Montenegro. The situation is the same as for the return from Albania.
Source: Radio Tivat
June 9, 2020 - The opening of borders has only just begun and it is very difficult currently, at the outset, to predict how things will pan out. We will focus on individual tourist demand and only in a later phase will we be able to think about organized tourist traffic this year, believes Dr. Ivo Zupanovic, a professor at the Budva Faculty of Business and Tourism in the field of crisis and risk management.
He pointed out that prices will be adjusted for certain market segments, especially those with larger accommodation capacity.
"I can see that those working in the tourism sector are doing their utmost to prepare. At the state level, there are detailed protocols for hotels and similar accommodation facilities." Zupanović stated.
When the epidemiological situation "settles down" in the countries of the region, which are our traditional markets, the number of tourists will increase, he believes.
“At the moment, the most important thing is digital marketing. We began with some national campaigns, which, among other things, are aimed at the local, domestic guest, who, in my opinion, will be all the more important as time goes on, and not only for this year, " believes Zupanović.
Boka Kotorska - photo Boka News
He mentions that local tourist organizations, in line with the inbound markets’ structure, have started some promotional work.
"One innovation I would like to highlight is an idea from the Tourist Organization of Herceg Novi, which offered award-winning accommodation in June, and this can be the trigger for further interest from tourist consumers. Company MMGY’s research shows that tourists make a decision 45 to 90 days after the peak of the pandemic in that country, which means that in this period we should advocate promotion through digital marketing as much as possible," explains Zupanovic.
He believes that travel agencies, as entities dealing with organized tourist traffic, will face serious problems.
"In such controlled conditions, we cannot count on classic methods of organizing tourist traffic, or on their classic services, such as the sale of airline tickets. This will reflect on their liquidity and especially on the profitability of the business. The question is whether smaller agencies, which do not have working capital for a longer period, will survive,” believes Zupanovic.
Speaking to Pobjeda, he stated that the Law on Amendments to the Legislation on Tourism and Catering will play a very important role, whereby trips arranged after 1st March can be used until the end of the coming year, as an incentive for both the service provider and the consumer.
Source: Boka News
June 8, 2020 - After a break of almost three months, commercial flights will start tomorrow at the Airports of Montenegro. A WizzAir plane from Budapest is expected, as well as a flight from Memmingham during the day, stated the spokesperson of the Airports of Montenegro, Marina Miketić Nikolić, for the morning program of Radio Tivat.
"According to our information, the government is very interested in the flight from Germany, so we are very much looking forward to welcoming the first passengers. We are also looking forward to having our national airline Montenegro Airlines have its first flights on June 12 to Ljubljana, the 14th to Frankfurt, then the 15th to Vienna, the 16th to Paris, the 17th to Zurich, the 20th to Dusseldorf and Copenhagen, and June 21st for Munich and Hanover. We also believe that the interest in flights of other airlines will be realized. We hope that tourists from various parts of Europe will come to Montenegro and that our tourist season and our airports will be as full of life again as they were last year. "
The flights announced are to and from Podgorica, and the spokesperson of the Airports of Montenegro, Marina Miketić Nikolić, recommends that those interested obtain specific information from the airlines' websites. She stresses that this is safer since slots are subject to changes depending on the epidemiological situation. Miketić Nikolić recommends passengers a new service of the Airports of Montenegro - online check-in:
"I warmly recommend it to all passengers leaving Montenegro. It's effortless. They have instructions on the site so that they can avoid any physical contact with the airport's ground staff. The possibility of any infection is reduced, although Montenegro is a Corona-free country. We are aware that the possibility of infection will increase with the arrival of people from outside. Prevention must be at the highest level. This innovation enables both passengers and staff to check in as quickly and efficiently as possible."
The airports are ready, and the company is pleased to expect the first planes and the first passengers, who are recommended to wear masks because it is prohibited to enter the terminal and the plane without them. Disinfection counters for arriving and departing passengers, as well as protective glass, have been installed at airports. The spokeswoman for the Public Company Airports of Montenegro expressed the hope that Tivat airport will welcome its first passengers very soon. Because, as she says, Tivat Airport is very busy, especially in summer when the interest in our destination is higher.
Text by Biljana Noković, Radio Tivat