Over ten thousand people have been recently enjoying a stay in Kotor, around five percent more than in the same period last year, said the director of the local Tourist Organisation, Ana Nives Radović.
She added that this is never a real indicator of how close to capacity they are, as year on year there is both more hotels and private accommodations.
“Statistics, however, do show that occupancy is at the same level as last year. On the other hand, in Kotor, there is greater awareness of tourist registration, particularly in private accommodation. It’s extremely laudable that owners of accommodation recognise that they have a responsibility to register guests, and on this issue Kotor is number one in Montenegro,” stated Radović to Skala Radio.
She mentioned just a few of the newest features of Kotor, which this year is second on the list of best and most interesting cruise destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean. It occupies the same spot in the list of top 15 European destinations this year.
Radović believed that the praise speaks for itself, but the most important way for tourism employees to improve business is by listening to tourists’ comments.
“One of the main complaints is the noise in some places in the Old Town, and then there is the issue of cleanliness, or rather lack thereof, particularly regarding beaches and bathing spots. Most problematically, there is a lack of litter bins,” said Radović.
She added that traffic congestion wasn’t so much a problem for tourists, but for locals who feel it most in the high season.
“There is a longstanding problem of unresolved and overlapping responsibilities between the Municipality, Morsko Dobro, Kotor Utilities Company and the Directorate for Planning and Development of Kotor. This is particularly a problem when it comes to maintenance of promenades along the sea, benches, fixtures, and public lighting,” said Radović.
Due to the lack of clear information as to who is in charge and responsible for which work, locals and tourists often turn to the media and the Tourist Organisation.
Radović highlighted the problem expressed at the start of the main tourist season in Kotor, which is parking for an even higher number of tourist buses.
“This reached a peak when there was a change in the local authority in Kotor, and there was no coordinating body to monitor the tourist season, because it had not been established for this year by the former authorities,” stated Radović.
She believes that such a body should be in place throughout the year, as Kotor generally relies on excursion and cruise tourism.
Since there had been no local assembly sessions, no decision had been made to collect a fee for the economic use of cultural goods, or a fee otherwise collected from tourist buses.
“Because of this, we lost a significant sum daily, some several hundred euros, with only one bus paying a 15 euro tax. Already in March, a large number of agencies were asking where and to whom they should pay the fee,” Radović stated.
When it comes to tourist buses, we also have a problem of stopping, parking, holding, noise, crowds and a lack of alternative locations, all at a time when the tourist season is already well underway.
“Kotor Tourist Organisation managed to inform the agencies of where the buses should be, maintain contact with them and announce all the arrivals to all those for whom the unresolved situation and confusion could be a reason to not return to Kotor,” concluded Radović.