11 Sep 14
Montenegro Bank Urges Tourist Industry to Cut Prices
Central Bank warns that Montenegro is becoming too expensive – as tourist organizations blame infrastructure problems and pricey airline tickets for this year’s expected disappointing figures.
Montenegro’s Central Bank on Tuesday told the tourist sector to become more competitive in cost terms, saying the country risked becoming too pricey for many visitors.
Hotel accommodation and many other services – such as parking, beach equipment, beverages and food – were all too expensive, the national financial institution said.
‘We need to improve cost competitiveness if we want to keep pace with the others. Otherwise, we could lose more and more tourists every year,” the bank said.
Tourism officials maintain that the relatively high cost of accommodation is only one of the reasons for the expected drop in tourist numbers this year.
They have blamed unusually poor weather, bad roads, the price of airline tickets on the national carrier and dirty streets and beaches in the coastal towns.
The President of the Tourist Association, Zarko Radulovic, said the problem with Montenegro’s tourist industry was not simple and could not be solved with lower prices alone.
“To attract more tourists, the authorities need to do more to promote the country. Montenegro is still an unrecognized destination wordwide,” Radulovic told BIRN on Wednesday.
Hotel costs in the country are relatively steep. The average cost of a night’s accommodation in Montenegro ranges from 60 to 90 euros.
In Greece, by contrast, it is around 30 euros. In neighbouring Croatia, the cost is around 70 euros, or less.
But Radulovic said that in terms of the total costs for a tourist on holiday, Montenegro still works out cheaper than Greece and Croatia.
‘In Greece, you may find accommodation for 200 euros for seven days – but that visitor will spend at least 700 euros on meals,” he claimed.
The government has not yet released data for the 2014 tourist season. The last data, from April, showed that 1.5 million tourists visited in 2013, spending 721 million euro.
In anticipation of this year’s figures, tourism authorities have expressed concern that they may be down – partly also as a result of the devastating floods that hit the region in May as well as the crisis in Ukraine, which has affected business with Russia.
In June and July, travel agencies and hoteliers said the number of tourists was down by 15 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)