The Government, state enterprises, and hoteliers also expect the tourist season to be successful this year. To a large extent, tourist season will depend on traffic availability, air transport, but also local traffic, above all on the Kamenari-Lepetane line.
The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Goran Đurović, said in the show “Okvir” that Morsko will do a good job on the ferry line, which the president of the Montenegrin Tourist Association, Žarko Radulović, doubts. The purchase of four more ferries, as well as two planes in the fleet of the national airline, was announced.
Đurović said that since last year’s tourist season, we earned one billion and 55 million euros, or 95% compared to 2019. The strategy of the Government and the Ministry from the start was to conquer new markets and preserve traditional destinations.
– We went to several fairs, Slovenia, Belgrade, we also presented ourselves in Germany, where there was great interest. We need to get out of the seasonal story and have visits 365 days. Last year we had little funds for promotion. The NTO only had EUR 300,000 at its disposal, but this year it is more and we will have the opportunity to present ourselves on world markets – said the minister.
The President of the Montenegrin Tourist Association, Žarko Radulović, said that he is a real optimist, but that talking about a good season starts and ends with how accessible we are, especially by air. With two planes ToMontenegro, as he says, we can expect very little.
Radulović: The new ferry is old and not insured
He expressed a lot of skepticism about the work of the new ferry company, considering that the two ferries we currently have are not in good condition and safe for that business.
– I am afraid of what is happening with maritime traffic and now I claim that Boca will be blocked even if we have six ferries. Because such work requires time and experience. They will be different ferries with different engines, and they need teams of trained people ready to intervene 24 hours a day, not to mention the logistics. I think they got into something, but they don’t know what they got into – said Radulović.
He added that the ferry “Prizna” does not have insurance, and according to the rules, it would not be able to sail without it. “Prizna” is, as he says, old, the boat has doubled its life and it is feared that, even if all the engine parts have been replaced, the bottom sheets are in bad condition.
Lots of spins, no reconstruction of docks, “Prizna” and “Vasily” in good condition
The President of the Board of Directors of JP Morsko dobro Blažo Rađenović replied that there are a lot of spins and false information, and that “Prizna” is in good condition, and “Vasilije” was re-registered and received all the necessary licenses for passenger transport.
As for the staff, Rađenović emphasizes that they have all the necessary staff for as many as six ferries.
– We all know how the transformation of Maritime Transport took place, people have been trained there for years and have knowledge, including captains and managers and people in the administration. They will continue to do the same work, only in a state-owned enterprise and we have crews for six ships. There is no need for the reconstruction of the docks, as has been the case these days, and tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, when the new ship starts sailing, it will be clear to everyone. The boat is insured as required by law, and when fares start in early April, all vehicles and passengers carried will be insured until the ferry leaves. We cannot be responsible for everything that happens on the way out – says Radjenović.
Đurović added that the rule of law must be established, and that the state took the step it had to, in order to collect revenues from that line, without reducing services.
– No transformation can go quickly and smoothly. We also have numerous obstructions, but I believe that we will have enough ferries by the season, because intensive work is being done on it, and then we will have a stable income during the season – says Đurović.
Radjenović added that the ferry “Prizna” was paid EUR 569,000. The price, he says, is dictated by the market, as was the case with this ship, but they expect it to pay for itself very quickly.
By June, two new planes in the ToMontenegro fleet
The representative of the airline To Montenegro, Saša Radović, emphasized that it is important for the state to have new companies that will work according to the rules and licenses and be safe.
– ToMontenegro planes are safe, they are maintained by licensed mechanics, engineers, and there are no obstacles to their proper functioning. Currently, in the winter period, we only fly on three lines, to Belgrade, Istanbul and Ljubljana, and now the opening of new lines is starting. We are in the process of procuring two planes, one will be included from April, and another from June. They will be rented, one is from our fleet, an Embraer type with 116 seats, and one is a so-called charterer with 180 seats and it is focused on supporting the tourist season. We have provided the money for the deposit, the negotiations are going their way – pointed out Radović.
As for the advertisement for the sale of the aircraft of the former flag carrier Montenegro Airlines, Radovic points out that he will not respond to that tender, because that type of aircraft does not suit them.
– The MA planes are on the list for sale, and one of them could be put into airworthy condition, but that requires a lot of funds, and switching to another type of plane is not profitable for us – explained Radović.
He says that he will successively introduce about 20 new lines, starting from April, with two cities in Poland, Israel, four cities from France, in addition to last year’s Prague, the new line is to Brno. They expect around 4,500 flights.
As he added, they expect the state to invest in ToMontenegro, and Minister Đurović emphasized that the difference in relation to MA is that, in old company everything was unknown.
– Debts were everywhere, engines on four continents. We will not allow that with the new carrier, and precisely because of the tof, it only flies to this many destinations in order to be profitable. There is no company that can be profitable now with these kerosene prices. We will look for a way to invest in the company in accordance with EU rules. We have to understand that no expert will come to work for 700, 800 euros, that expert staff for an airline company costs money – emphasizes Đurović.
Lovćen-Kotor cable car until July 13
The interlocutors of “Okvira” agree that the opening of the Lovćen-Kotor cable car will be a good thing for the tourism of Montenegro. It is expected to be completed before July 13, that is, to be in operation already in the summer season.
“All the feedback says that visitors are most fascinated by Kotor and this project is very important. I believe that there are other destinations in Montenegro that are this interesting and where we can do similar cable cars,” said Đurović.