Damir Davidvić, Secretary of State, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro
For Montenegro developing tourism, protecting the environment and growing the economy are three things that go together, Damir Davidvić, Secretary of State, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro, told Real Estate Day.
The importance of tourism to the economy cannot be over-estimated, he said: ‘It represents about 24% of our GDP and it keeps growing at a record pace not just year-on-year but also month-on-month. There are between 3.5 and 4 tourists per inhabitant. Tourism is bringing much-needed foreign direct investment to our country which is creating job opportunities, raising living standards and bringing development and new technologies’.
The Government is keen to promote development and economic growth, but it has learnt from the negative experience of other countries that have seen over-development which has then made them less attractive to tourists.
‘We have learnt a lot since 2006,’ Davidvić said. ‘Environmental Protection is key for us, and we will not support projects which may be profitable in the short term but that are not good for the long term, not for our citizens, not for tourists and not for investors. Our Constitution protects the environment’.
The country’s biggest tourism project is Portonovi, a 26-hectare, mixed-use luxury resort and yacht marina on Boka Bay. ‘We are actually managing to show that very large projects can lead the way and show smaller projects how things should be done,’ he said.
Montenegro’s unspoilt nature is also a tourist attraction: aside from the coastline, the country has five national parks, which cover about 9% of the territory and are a sought-after destination for ‘high-end, well-educated, environmentally-conscious tourists’, he said.
Having strict environmental standards is part of the journey that Montenegro has made since re-gaining its independence in 2006, Davidvić said, along with implementing standards in line with the European Union, which the country is in line to join, or becoming the newest member of NATO two years ago.
Having high standards, being dependable and enforcing the rule of law is reassuring for investors as well as being good for the country and its citizens, he said: ‘Montenegro’s GDP is €4.3 bn. Portonovi and other projects are bringing in €300 bn of investments, which is 60% of our country’s GDP, so clearly it’s important for us to attract foreign investors. But we also want to make sure there are clear rules and standards and absolute legal certainty, because we know that certainty is always good for business’.
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