Montenegro Tourism Association – CTU will chair the regional East-European Association of Tourist Agencies (ISTA) over the next two years, and its President will be Mr Zarko Radulovic.
This was the decision of the Board of Directors of this association, members of which met in the Hotel Splendid in Becici.
Associations from Slovenia and Bulgaria want to join the representatives of the six countries since, as stated, they share the same objective – promotion and creation of a single tourism product in the so-called distant markets.
ISTA members representatives: the association of Macedonia (ATAM), Albania (ATA), Croatia (UHPA), Bosnia and Herzegovina (UTA BiH), Montenegro (CTU) and Serbia (YUTA), agree that institutional support of decision-making centers of the member states is necessary in order to enable the region to standardize the single tourism product and promotional strategy in distant markets by 2016.
“The tourism product already exists and it is ready for marketing; however the institutional support, i.e. the support of governments of member states is necessary in order to standardize it to the level of such product in developed countries,” underlined the newly elected ISTA President, Mr Zarko Radulovic.
“Every route by South East European countries has to be standardized in all segments in accordance with the European parameters, starting from the border crossing, through transport to accommodation facilities and diversity of the offer. At the same time, a standard set like that will enable access to European assistance funds, without which implementation of such projects would be difficult,” said the representative of the Serbian Association YUTA Mr Milan Lainovic and added that projects that would be submitted for access to European funds have already been prepared.
Representative of the Croatian Association of Tourism Agencies – UHPA Mr Igor Vasilic underlined that the moment was perfect for a joint presentation of South East European countries to distant markets as, he said, these were the only markets from which group arrivals could be expected, considering that on-line sale was taking the lead in tourism.
Members call on the governments of the region to assist promotion of regional tourism product in so-called “distant markets”.
Complicated visa regime procedures, road and infrastructural links are only some of preconditions needed to have this concept work in a year, and this is only an additional step towards intensifying the cooperation of the competent ministries of the six countries, the president of the Association Mr Sokol Hoxha believes.
“Small countries, not known worldwide, that have for years individually been spending huge funds on promotional and fair activities; however, by strengthening of cooperation, the South East European region can achieve a share in the world tourism map it can and should have, more efficiently and rapidly, in line with the natural potential and diversity of the offer,” the representative of the Bosnian Association, Mr Ismet Sijercic, said.
Tourismologists from the region consider that the particular advantage is the fact that ISTA has been recognized over the past six years by security towards tour-operators, while the South East European region has been recognized as safe.
They believe that the competent ministries would recognize the interest of countries of the region and assist in resolving the obstacles that are more-less shared by all regional tourism entities, particularly the border crossing procedures, air and road transport, as well as support in accessing the European Union funds.