Serbia is developing a strategy to double its foreign exchange inflow in the next four years by attracting more foreign tourists and developing more tourist destinations, said tourism minister Rasim Ljajic .
In his speech, Ljajic announced the Serbian government would adopt a tourism development strategy in the next month so as to define further development in this area.
He revealed that one of the key topics would be to expand the tourist offer that has so far traditionally been oriented to only five destinations where the majority of foreign tourists visited — Belgrade, Novi Sad, Mount Kopaonik, Mount Zlatibor and Vrnjacka Banja Spa.
Ljajic explained that 72 percent of foreign tourists in Serbia visit these five destinations and that “it is necessary to expand the tourist offer…because Serbia has much to offer.”
He said Serbia registers an annual 6.6 million overnight stays by tourists coming mostly from countries of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as well as Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Greece, and this injects an additional 2.5 billion U.S. dollars into country’s economy.
However, the plan is to increase the number of overnight stays to 9.6 million per year in the next four years which would, according to Ljajic, increase the turnover from tourism from 2.5 to 3.7 billion U.S. dollars, and thus double the foreign exchange inflow from 1.1 to 2.2 billion U.S. dollars.
“In order to achieve this, we will need a clear plan,” Ljajic said, appealing to representatives of local municipalities to prepare tourist projects to be funded by the government.
He said next year would be dedicated to the promotion of the country’s attractive destinations along the Danube River.
The aim of having a World Tourism Day on the United Nations’ calendar is to highlight tourism potential to contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and raise awareness about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.
This year’s theme is “Tourism for all: promoting universal accessibility”.