Podgorica, January 7, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Adnan Prekic
Forbes magazine has listed Montenegro as one of its top three travel destinations for 2015. Forbes says the country, whose population is a little more than 600,000 is poised to become a world-class luxury travel destination thanks to its idyllic, 180-mile-plus coastline and rugged interior. Forbes predicts that Montenegro could become a hub for the super-rich.
In the article for Montenegro, the magazine states:
“Long overshadowed by Croatia, its captivating neighbor to the west, Montenegro is poised to become a world-class luxury travel destination thanks to its idyllic, 180-mile-plus coastline and rugged interior dotted with river canyons, glacial lakes and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the singularly spectacular Durmitor National Park. Already home to the stunning Aman Sveti Stefan resort, which hosted the wedding of Novak Djokovic in July, the Balkan country is luring other top-tier operators, including the esteemed One&Only chain, which will open its first European property in Kumbor on Tivat Bay in 2016.
Meanwhile, on the UNESCO-protected Bay of Kotor, Porto Montenegro, whose chief investor is Barrick Gold founder Peter Munk, is vying for the title of Europe’s leading marina, with berths up to 180 meters to accommodate superyachts; tax and duty-free fuel at a 45% discount versus countries within the EU is another incentive sure to lure uber-wealthy mariners”.
Forbes magazine, apart from Montenegro, has listed Lithuania as one of its top three travel destinations for 2015. The magazine also praises the country’s Curonian Spit for its spectacular beaches; the peninsula stretches south into Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave.
Tourism is one of the most important branches of the economy in Montenegro. In 2013 the direct and indirect contribution of tourism to the GDP was 714.2 million euros, or 20 percent of the GDP. Montenegro has achieved positive trends in tourism for five years in a row.
In the 2013 Montenegro was visited by nearly 1.5 million visitors, 3.6 percent more than in 2012. Montenegrin coast achieved a little more than 9.4 million overnight stays, an increase of 2.8 percent compared to 2012. The total number of nights of foreign tourists accounted for 89 percent, and most of the guests came from Russia and the former states of the Soviet Union, followed by Serbia and the EU member states.
The average length of stay of foreign tourists in the last year was 6.3 days. Tourists from Russia and Kosovo stayed the longest, a little less than eight days. Domestic tourists spent on average about 5.9 days. The total income from tourism last year, according to estimates of the relevant Ministry, amounted to 721 million euros, which is 3 percent higher than that in 2012.