Serbian and Greek tourist attractions dominate the offer of the 40th International Tourism Fair that kicked off Thursday in Belgrade.
Under the slogan “Vacation awaits you”, the most important manifestation of its kind in the region, was opened by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Elena Kountoura, minister of tourism of Greece, this year’s special guest-country.
Kountoura said at the opening that the tourism is one of the most important branches of the industry in Greece and employs around 1 million people, while “the rich history, endless coastline and archipelagos comprised of several thousand islands made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world”.
At the fair Greece presented tourist centres, regions and cities including its continental part, islands and beaches to the Serbian and international audience, while Kountoura revealed that around 800,000 Serbian tourists visit Greece every year, spending around 800 million euros during their summer vacations.
Brnabic remarked that Serbia too became recognizable for its tourism offer lately, as CNN rated it recently as the second top destination to visit globally in 2018, while the New York times listed Belgrade among 52 cities to visit.
“Every euro that we invest in tourism multiplies, and this is why we are preparing many more tourist destinations,” Brnabic said.
National tourist organization of Serbia this year focused on presenting options for active vacation in Serbia, nature resorts, gastronomic offer, and the cultural heritage, and presents two brochures: “Active vacation with focus on hiking and biking tours” and “Russian heritage in Serbia”.
Museum of Ethnography in Belgrade promotes Serbian immaterial heritage listed by UNESCO – “Slava” (feast, a religious custom) and “Kolo” (a group folk dance).
This year the fair hosts more than 1,200 tourist agencies, associations and organizations, hotels, tourist centers, airliners and international tour operators from 55 countries.
Newcomers at the fair are South Africa, Palestine, Cameron and Morocco, while among regular participants are Egypt, Turkey, India, Tunis, Germany and Russia along with countries of the region – Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Slovenia and Hungary.
All of them come here to Belgrade to present their arrangements for the upcoming season, offering discounts anywhere from 5 to 50 percent for visitors that buy arrangements – attractive options for the summer or the ongoing winter season as well as mountain and spa resorts, villages of the region, Mediterranean cruises, sailing trips and many more travels and activities.
Around 75,000 people are expected to search for discounts, first minute offers and other options for cheaper holiday reservations during the four-day event.
Besides informing and buying arrangements for travels, visitors of the fair engage in tasting local delicacies, wines and rakija (local fruit brandy) and attend promotions of tourist destinations, festivals and manifestations from participating countries.
The manifestation also includes the international fair of hotel equipment, wine fair and the souvenir fair, surfacing some 15,000 square meters in four halls of the Belgrade Tourism Fair.