April 26, 2019 - The new destinations and routes of the "Meeting of Cultures" project connect Sarajevo, Novi Sad and Kotor. It is just the beginning of the promotion of the memory of our ancestors, with the hope that this idea will expand to the entire region and be an example for the whole of Europe and the world, said the organizers of the seminar "Meeting of Cultures" in the church of St. Paul in Kotor.
25 April 2019 - Councilors in Bar have adopted the agreement on mutual rights and obligations of the municipality and Sonuba Montenegro company regarding the Maljevik project.
Using this agreement, Sonuba Montenegro is obliged to invest from 30 million to 60 million EUR since the commencement of works. Dušan Railević, president of the municipality, has reminded of the tumultuous history of this project.
“Unfortunately, in the last eight months, the local administration has been dealing with the issue older than ten years. Maljevik has had a tumultuous history and changed the owner three times. In each case, planning documentation has envisaged the construction of hotel structures with an area of 249.000 square meters. We missed a very good opportunity in 2011 and 2012. The degree of construction could have been reduced following the principle of exclusivity. I have said this was the project of the century. And it really is,” said Raičević.
The project itself is proof of the investors’ huge interest.
“To pay 11,5 million EUR for a project that is about to start – it is a big deal,” said the head of the municipality of Bar.
According to him, Maljevik was the best project that the municipality has concluded in the last 50-60 years.
“If we managed to sell the land for 32 million EUR, it is because we were not aware of the problem that it might arise. Investors even less so,” said Raičević.
How did residents of Sutomore benefit from the sale of Maljevik? Raičević said that 24 residents had a profit of 6,4 million EUR based on restitution.
Asked if there are any guarantees for the work, Raičević said that the enforceable and final judgment was the best guarantee.
“Was it necessary to request a bank guarantee on the occasion of the conclusion of the agreement? Probably. But if you had an investor that paid 32 million EUR immediately, what guarantee did we need? What other guarantee? The investor has been settling liabilities on a regular basis, and between 2010 and 2018, the investor paid 550.000 EUR based on the real estate tax,” concluded Raičević.
Source: Cafe del Montenegro
23 April 2019 - The fortress walls of the Old Town Budva, which reveal the marvellous Budva Riviera, are officially open for visitors, and the entry ticket price is two euros.
As announced from the Museums and Galleries of Budva, the price of the ticket includes a brochure about the history of the fortress wall, which interested visitors can request in English, Russian, Montenegrin and soon in the German language.
The access to the fortress walls of the Old Town Budva is currently available from 10 am to 6 pm. Starting from June 1, the working hours will be from 10 am to 8 pm.
Budva represents one of the oldest urban centres on the Adriatic, being more than 2,500 years old.
As vividly illustrated by Way to Monte, the mighty fortress wall around the Old Town Budva in Montenegro was rebuilt by the Venetians during the Renaissance after a devastating earthquake in the 17th century. The first defensive constructions of the city were erected at this location in the 9th century, and one of the ancient fortress walls was part of the Benedictine monastery that overlooked the coast. According to ancient engravings in the Museum of Budva, the city fortifications of the 16th century have six somewhat elongated towers and one round tower, between which there are stretched thick walls laid out of hewn stone. Its borders were unchanged for several centuries, as the number of residents of the city did not exceed 1000 people.
After the massive earthquake in Montenegro on April 15, 1979, Old Town Budva and its fortification wall were destroyed for the second time, and restored only later in 1987. To date, the Old Town Budva is an architectural monument of antiquity and is protected by UNESCO. The Old Town Budva is a whole open-air museum with a great number of attractions, cultural sites and historical monuments where people still live in medieval buildings of hewn stone. Its protective fortress walls are a famous tourist attraction, since the whole Budva Riviera is visible from the site. From this viewpoint, visitors can observe the modern residential part of Budva, fishing boats and luxurious yachts, various churches and temples, as well as ancient streets and ancient inner courtyards.
Narrow aisles and staircases on the fortress walls of the city are found in several places of Old Town Budva. One of these passages to the fortress is located near the gate opposite the hotel Avala. To get to it, a visitor just needs to go inside the Old Town, immediately turn left and go through the summer terrace of the Mozart restaurant.
The fortress wall has a shape of a horseshoe, which means that it is not closed and visitors cannot make a full circle around the Old Town. Despite this, they can spend a lot of time looking at the brickwork and ancient loopholes, as well as enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, the mighty rocks, the marvellous nature of Montenegro and the coastal settlements.
April 21, 2019 - Infrastructure is a key issue to the expansion of Montenegro's luxury tourism drive. An interview about Tivat Airport with aviation expert Thomas Jaeger, CEO of ch-aviation, a Swiss company leading the way in global airline intelligence since 1998.
1. Tivat Airport is crucial to the development of luxury tourism in Croatia, with Lustica Bay, Porto Montenegro and Portonovi about 2.5 billion euro in investments alone. What is happening with the running of the airport? There are rumours of Turkish company TAV taking over?
I have heard about the TAV rumours, but do not have any more information about it, but it is a move that would make sense and be in line with TAV's strategy in the region. They already run Zagreb airport in a joint venture, for example, as well as concessions in Georgia, Macedonia and Tunisia, so this would be a logical extension.
2. Tivat has grown exponentially in recent years, as tourism has increased. What plans are to upgrade the airport to meet the needs of the destination? What are the biggest challenges?
It is an interesting time for Tivat, but infrastructure continues to be an issue. This summer will see 10 new routes, which is great, but mostly 1-2 times a week, unlike Dubrovnik. The Russian growth will continue, and there will be new connections from Azerbaijan with the opening of Portonovi in Herceg Novi.
The arrival of Lufthansa is significant in that is it the first international hub carrier to come to Tivat. This will directly lead to more Western tourists. But the main challenge for Tivat continues to be its seasonality and seasonal employment needs from April to October, with little in the other months.
If you look at the capacity of Tivat, there is plenty of room to accommodate more flights. Looking at a regular Sunday in August, for example, there are about 25-30 flights a day, with 4-5 aircraft on the ground at any one time a rarity.
By spreading its schedule more throughout the week rather than a concentration on weekends, Tivat can handle 50-60% more traffic than at present, a model that has worked on some Greek islands. More than that, and an alternative new airport is probably the solution.
Currently, flights are concentrated during daylight hours, and I would need to check on the reasons for that (Editor's note – Montenegro Airports has also agreed to an interview, and this is a question TMN will be asking). But night flights only work with certain markets of origin.
This is not a problem for Russian markets, but there are Western European airport curfews to consider. Night flights also invariably mean lower average fares, which is a factor to be taken into consideration.
3. What in your opinion is the maximum capacity of Tivat?
As I said above, there is still plenty of capacity, which is not utilised in Tivat, and there are lots of holes in the schedule. Take a look at some of the Greek islands, which have managed to successfully increase capacity by moving to weekday arrivals.
4. Will FlyDubai return? There are rumours they may not.
The current situation is that the flights are scheduled up to three times weekly, but they are not really selling tickets on all flights. I suspect the aircraft availability due to the Boeing 737 Max crisis is a factor, if you look at the schedule, the first flight is scheduled for June 3. However, if you try and book, the first availability is June 21. I suspect they will continue flights where sales are good, but they will cut frequencies due to lack of aircraft availability.
5. As the luxury resorts get built, the Tivat region will become increasingly attractive for 12-month tourism, but year-round flights will be essential for this to work. How do you envisage major airlines entering year-round relationships with Tivat?
Each airline has its own strategy. Lufthansa has been very active in the last couple of years, and they are trying to move capacity to leisure markets on weekends when business demand is lower. If Tivat works for Lufthansa, expect Austrian, Brussels Airlines or Swiss to follow suit. But Tivat is also a classic Eurowings destination.
Air France-KLM usually look at routes where they fly several times a week, but KLM is now servicing more offbeat destinations such as Sardinia, so they could also be an option. Air France also has a codeshare agreement with Montenegro Airlines, so would not need to come in themselves. BA are engaged in the region, but not anywhere close to as much as Lufthansa – they are more growing leisure capacity to more established markets. Lufthansa is the key airline in this, even more so with its regional partnership with Croatia Airlines.
It would be hard to see a Western European airline servicing Tivat all year. Connections to Moscow are much stronger, and the lack of year-round flights to Dubrovnik is a key indicator. And one to watch, in terms of trends.
6. Dubrovnik Airport has been a major gateway to the Montenegrin coast for tourists. How much has the rise of Tivat affected that, and how do you see the future?
It would be great to have data on how many tourists for Montenegro are using Dubrovnik as a gateway, but such statistics would only possible if they were systematically collected, which they are not at present. Dubrovnik obviously has a much higher capacity, and therefore much better connectivity, so it will continue to be an important gateway to Montenegro.
If you look at a random week in August, you will see 70,000 seats scheduled in Dubrovnik versus 25,000 in Tivat. The Russian market is a major factor in the Tivat numbers, much less so in Dubrovnik. So, while Tivat will continue to grow, the capacity and connectivity will be focused on Dubrovnik. If you want to check the possibility of year-round connections to Tivat, follow what is happening in Dubrovnik, and the same will come in time.
7. Do you expect short-haul budget airline routes in the region to increase, given the poor state of road connections?
Well, we have Air Serbia in Tivat all year at the moment. Both Adria Airways and Croatia Airlines have potential, but they have their own problems. But in theory, yes, and there is certainly a case for using the hubs of Ljubljana or Zagreb, although those hubs are small. But one issue is the timing of the flights, which would probably necessitate night flights to Tivat. I am not sure that the infrastructure is geared for that (EDITOR NOTE – Montenegro Airports has agreed to an interview with TMN, and this is an issue we will be exploring). The other sensible option is Wizz Air from Belgrade, but traffic rights could be an issue, as they would be flying from one non-EU country to another.
8. How will Tivat Airport look in 10 years in terms of capacity and seasonality in your opinion?
Tourism will continue to boom, and Tivat has no serious airport competition, so it will continue to grow at about the rate of 10% as at present. That growth will continue until capacity is full.
As with the Croatian coast, I expect a few weeks of growth to be added to either side of the tourist season. Dubrovnik is a great benchmark to follow for trends. In a perfect world, there would be 3-5 flights a week from Western European capitals in December.
9. Your thoughts on the current situation at Montenegro Airlines?
Montenegro Airlines suffers from the same problems as other regional airlines. It has a small and limited fleet and has to deal with the issue of seasonality. They have to be there in winter, but in summer, everyone is competing with them. Seasonality is a major problem.
They also have small aircraft. Aircraft which are too small in summer, and too big in winter. As such, they can't send them to other locations. Other airlines lease their aircraft to Asia and Canada, where there is more winter demand, but this doesn't apply to the regional jets Montenegro Airlines operates.
They are doing the right things in terms of maximising maintenance in winter and being flexible in terms of human resources, but the market is small and there is limited potential to make Podgorica a hub.
Tourism obviously helps in summer, but in the long term, I do not see it working, and in terms of its cost structure, it is a very difficult business case. Its finances improved last year, but they still rely on the government one way or the other. But such reliance now comes under greater scrutiny with EU rules applying to a member candidate country, so the government will not be able to continue bailing it out.
Thomas Jaeger is CEO of ch-aviation.For over 20 years ch-aviation has been providing decision-makers around the globe with relevant and up to date airline intelligence and insightful news on the industry.
Founded in 1998 in Chur in Switzerland, ch-aviation has become an influential airline intelligence provider and one of the very few Swiss aviation success stories. Today ch-aviation welcomes more than 1.8 million users each year and is proud to count hundreds of companies in the airline industry as its customers. Yet, we are still small enough to care about the details that have always made the difference between good and outstanding data.
You can learn more about ch-aviation from the official website.
21 April 2019 -As part of their tour, musical band Wings of Dixie will perform in the Montenegrin cities of Bar (April 21) and Kotor (April 22).
The U.S. Embassy Podgorica is excited to bring the musical band Wings of Dixie to Montenegro!
Wings of Dixie, which is part of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band, is an 8-member ensemble that epitomizes Americana with every performance. The band’s repertoire covers the full spectrum of American music, including jazz, Dixieland, the blues, modern pop, and rock hits.
The group provides a high-energy show that is instantly identifiable as American music. The only ensemble of its kind representing the United States Air Forces in Europe, Wings of Dixie has been entertaining audiences for more than three decades.
The band will perform in Bar on April 21 from 7 pm to 9 pm at the Promenade of King Nikola. The second performance will take place on April 22 in Kotor at the Square of Arms from 7 pm to 9 pm. The U.S. Embassy invites all locals and tourists to come and enjoy the wonderful music created by the ensemble.
20 April 2019 -For Earth Day, an annual event on which events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection, on Monday, April 22, the entry to all five national parks of Montenegro will be free.
National parks of Montenegro invites all nature lovers and fans of active holidays to visit the national parks Durmitor, Biogradska Gora, Lovćen, Skadar Lake and Prokletije. Visitors will be able to enjoy numerous activities, such as walking, hiking, cycling, kayaking, Skadar Lake cruise, observing birds and other contents offered within these protected areas.
National parks’ walking and biking trails, sightseeing areas and Visitor Centres are all ready to welcome their first visitors in the upcoming season.
National parks of Montenegro organization has recently launched a free mobile application National Parks of Montenegro, which all locals and tourists can download and explore the natural beauty of the country. All interested individuals who download the application will be able to choose one of the five national parks, and then do a search on the interactive map of more than 150 locations that are recommended. Each location has its own description, photos, and navigation within the application. Users will also be able to explore the natural beauty of Montenegro through the rich content of virtual tours, galleries, history and culture, and they will be informed about all events in the national parks.
The mobile application and website represent a digital guide through the protected natural areas of Montenegro through all five national parks. The application is available at the Google Play Store called National Parks of Montenegro. The download site can also be accessed via the web address www.nparkovi.me.
National parks are areas of special beauty, significant and rare natural phenomena. They constitute an ecological and geographical entity that is separated and protected by a particular part of the law that defines these issues.
The areas of the national parks of Durmitor, Biogradska Gora, Skadar Lake, Lovćen and Prokletije cover 7.7% of the territory of Montenegro. Each national park is characterized by a specific natural and cultural heritage.
14 April 2019 - Lipa Cave, the first cave adventure in Montenegro that offers a fascinating diversity of karst features to provide visitors with a unique experience of the underground world, officially opened for visitors on April 1.
Located near Cetinje and visited by more than 20 thousand people per year, the cave traditionally opened its beautiful and wild system of 2.5 km of passages and halls for visitors this April.
The representatives of tourist company Lipa Cave recently announced that the ticket prices remained the same as last year. The ticket price for adults is 10.9 EUR, for children up to five years 1 EUR, and for children from 5-15 years old 6.9 EUR. The family package costs 29.9 EUR and includes two adults and two or three children up to 15 years of age. The price includes parking, a train drive to the cave and back, a tour of the cave, a guide and insurance.
All the tours of the cave begin with a train ride that departs from the Lipska Cave parking lot and arrives at the cave entrance where all the visitors get off and eagerly await the start of their tour.
Each year, Lipa Cave offers two types of tours, so visitors have the opportunity to choose The Cave Tour that is accessible to everyone and has the length of 600 meters and The Extreme Tour aimed at adventurers. "Aside from the regular tours, additional services such as wine tasting and a mini-concert of classical music in the cave will be organised," said the company's representatives.
As explained by the tourist organisation Lipa Cave, the cave was open for tours since 2015. All visitors of the cave are accompanied by local guides who are kind, helpful, and well-trained. Cave tours are easily accessible as Lipa Cave is located only 33 km from Budva, 35 km from Podgorica, and 5 km from Cetinje. Its built-in trails and modern lighting make it even more attractive and perfectly safe. The cave is preserved in line with high environmental conservation standards. Only a year later from its opening websites like Montenegro Travel, Trip Advisor, as well as many others recommended Lipa Cave as one of the best places to visit in Montenegro. All the efforts of the TO are focused on providing an unforgettable cave adventure to the cave’s visitors, which has placed it on the list of the attractions you must see in Cetinje.
April 11, 2019 - "Strategic development of tourism based on the valorisation of cultural heritage" is the theme of an international conference organized by the Secretariat for Tourism, Economic Development and Entrepreneurship of the Municipality of Herceg Novi in cooperation with the local Tourism Organization and within the project "Network of Tourist Cities for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage".
09 April 2019 - To enrich the tourist offer, but also to support music bands in Montenegro, the Tourist Organisation of Budva Municipality is organising a Rock Band Competition on April 29, which will officially mark the beginning of this year's Carnival May Evenings in Budva.
From April 29 to May 5 the resort town of Budva will host the 17th International Festival - Carnival May Evenings, which will open the summer season in this coastal region of Montenegro. The annual spring carnival takes place at the walls of the Old Town of Budva and is one of the most important and most significant in this popular city of tourists from all over the world, located on the Adriatic coast.
From 29 April to 5 May, the squares in front of and within the Old Town of Budva will turn into a podium for lovers of good music and energy, thanks to a varied entertainment and music program prepared by the organisers for their fellow citizens and visitors.
At the beginning of Carnival May Evenings, rock bands from Montenegro will get the opportunity to show their skills to the audience and compete on the very first day of the event - April 29 at the Painters’ Square, starting at 9 pm.
The best bands, selected by the expert jury, will receive cash rewards: the band that takes the third place will receive a 300 EUR cash prize, the second-placed band will receive 500 EUR, while the winner will leave with 1000 EUR prize. More importantly, the first and second-ranked band will receive a unique opportunity to perform on April 30, as an opening act before famous bands which will come to Montenegro from all over the region.
The Tourist Organisation Budva, which organises the seven-day event, invites all tourists to visit the resort town of Budva in the first week of May, support the local rock bands and become a part of this great holiday and unforgettable events that will mark the beginning of the summer season of 2019 in the famous tourist city of Montenegro.
April 9, 2019 - Kotor cannot develop a sustainable tourism offer without the construction of a hotel and the related infrastructure said tourism engineer Ivo Županović for Radio Kotor.
According to him, there are collisions in the concept of a tourism product of Kotor when it comes to primary macro-level strategic documents. In the Master Plan - Montenegro's Tourism Development Strategy by 2020 and the Draft Special Spatial Plan for the Coastal Zone of Montenegro, Županović further stated, Kotor is recognised as the destination of small and boutique hotels and in the market offer as a destination for cultural tourism. The draft plan of the coastal area identifies Kotor as a destination of cruise tourism.
Asked what he considers necessary for the further development of the city, Županović said that he is defined by the master plan - Montenegro's tourism development strategy by 2020 within the Boka Kotorska cluster.
"In practice, although I consider it to be the most efficient aspect of the organisation of the tourist product of Montenegro, the cluster organisational structure has never lived, and in this context the tourist cluster of Boka Kotorska. On the other hand, there is a collision on the one that defines the Master Plan - the Tourism Development Strategy of Montenegro by 2020 and the Draft Special Spatial Plan for the Coastal Zone of Montenegro in certain parts when it comes to the treatment of Kotor's tourism product.
Therefore, taking into account the above facts, in order to be able to talk more seriously about the strategic directions of the development of the tourism product of Kotor, I think it is necessary to conceptualize the official tourism development strategy in Kotor with the action plan and measures that would be monitored and implemented," explained Županović .
In his view, in the context of economic sustainability, Kotor has considerably greater potentials than those currently used.
"In the context of relaxation of the urban core, a better connection of cruise tourism and cultural tourism is needed, in the sense of visiting the ramparts, but not just the ramparts but the complete cultural-historical and religious fundraiser in Kotor. In this context, a clear destination policy and synergy of all in the destination is needed. The mentioned synergy inevitably results in the creation of a series of formal and informal clusters, marketing networks and alliances at the destination level. I think that the development of the models of primarily diffuse hotels, Kotor, significantly extended the time spent on guests when it comes to cultural and entertainment events and even some sports events at the national level," Županović says.
He recalls that the integrated tourism product is a derivative of three components: natural and social resources, traffic accessibility and receptive factors. "In particular, I think that Kotor has extraordinary natural preconditions for the development of congress and business tourism, as well as sports tourism. However, Kotor does not have adequate receptive potentials for the development of congress tourism, which is simply unobtrusive for me," Županović said.
"As an example there is Opatija, a geographically small city, which has exploited its market capacities, not poisoning the ambience or sociological sustainability of the destination. There are over 500 business conferences - seminars, congresses, and training sessions in the city. In the overall structure of business meetings, congresses participate with almost 50%. But besides a series of small and boutique hotels, Opatija has the Ambassador Hotel as the crux of the development of congress tourism. The Ambassador has a congress hall for 525 participants, which, by its multifunctionality, can receive up to 1000 participants and six smaller halls," says Županović who thinks a similar hotel in Kotor should have been on the site of the former Fjord.
Due to climatic factors, Kotor can be a respectable destination for sports tourism. "In addition to the development of accommodation capacities, the development of sports infrastructure for the organisation of international events is indispensable, because if we do not have events of this type, sports competitions are reduced to the level of nationality, which limits the tourism development of Kotor in this sense."
Tourism engineer Ivo Županović particularly emphasises the importance of completing works on the winter pool. "The pool is the backbone of the development of Kotor's sport for decades, but it is also a significant social content for the city. I think the reputation of our athletes is inadequate or not used when it comes to branding Kotor as a destination for European champions," Zupanovic said.
Read the article in Montenegrin at www.radiokotor.info
08 April 2019 - According to the official announcement by the Public Works Directorate, National Park Biogradska gora will launch a new segment of the tourist offer for this site, tourist land trains, by April 20.
"The delivery of all necessary equipment for the completion of tourist land trains, which will be used to transport visitors from Kraljevo kolo to Biogradsko jezero, started last Friday in the Biogradska gora National Park, and will be completed in the next ten days. After all the trains have been assembled and examined, we will organise an official test drive, after which the land trains will be officially delivered to the user company," said the announcement from the Public Works Directorate.
The tourist land trains, according to the report, consist of a locomotive, two trailers for the transport of passengers with 20 seats and one trailer with 16 seats for persons with disabilities.
"The total value of the vehicles, according to the contract of the Public Works Directorate with the best bidder, Montenegrin Telekom, amounts to 549.757 EUR, with the delivery date by April 20," the statement said.
The largest share of the investment, about 419.000 EUR was provided by the Government of Montenegro from the capital budget.
"The rest of 130.800 EUR is financed by Montenegrin Chamber of Economy, based on the grant agreement with the National Parks of Montenegro, within the project" Development of low-carbon tourism in Montenegro ", where the UNDP is an implementing partner," the statement said.
The Public Works Directorate conducted the tender procedure for procurement of two tourist land trains.