I have been travelling regularly along the Adriatic coast for business and pleasure for some 15 years now, watching how both Montenegro and Croatia have developed tourism on the coast. Many mistakes were made for sure, and the property madness of 2004 and 2005 led to an extraordinary change in the way the coast looked, particularly in Montenegro, where some areas were overbuilt. But then something changed in the approach of the two countries.
Back then, if you had asked me which of the two countries would have featured in luxury international media such as Superyachts.com, the answer would have been Croatia of course. Apart from having much more of a coast and more than a thousand islands, its tourism was more developed and better known. It was the ideal location for a project such as Porto Montenegro, a project should have actually gone to Croatia, but...
The opening of luxury Porto Montenegro transformed the tourism scene completely. Sleepy Tivat was suddenly playing host to superyachts and the rich and famous came to visit this unknown land of wild beauty somewhere on the Balkan coast. While mistakes had been made in the past, here was a statement of intent for a new direction.
A direction which continues today. As the major hotel brands continue to ignore Croatia, they are lining up to invest in Montenegro. Construction has now started on Portonovi near Herceg Novi, where the One & Only brand will operate, and on Lustica Bay, the biggest investment in the history of Montenegro is slowly taking shape. There is no talk of overbuilding on the Lustica Peninsula, just the well-coordinated execution of a stunning 7 million m2 project which will take luxury to the next level on the Adriatic.
The luxury tourism story of Montenegro continues, as explained by Superyachts:
"It’s no surprise to read about future developments along the dazzling coast of Montenegro. One of the future players in the top charter destinations stakes, this sleepy corner of the Adriatic is home to a number of new advances. Luštica Bay – which plans 2 marinas, 1500 properties and seven hotels – is the latest to open for business.
"Founded back in 2008, as a joint venture between Orascom Development Ltd. (90%) and the Government of Montenegro (10%), Luštica Development AD set out to create a secluded spot, which would eventually develop into a 690-hectare town.
"Blending in seamlessly to the country’s rich natural beauty, the development was to offer a cascading mountain backdrop, yet push the boundaries of modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure."