Activity holidays to put Montenegro back on Europe's tourist map

Surrounded by conflict, the Balkan state hopes to revive its fortunes, writes Oliver Bennett

The latest European destination pitching for British holiday-makers' custom will be familiar to most of us from television news programmes - the former Yugoslavian republic of Montenegro.

The latest European destination pitching for British holiday-makers' custom will be familiar to most of us from television news programmes - the former Yugoslavian republic of Montenegro.

This week, the National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro (NTOM) faces the task of changing perceptions of the country, which have been blighted by trouble in the border countries of Serbia, Kosovo and Albania.

"We've had a very positive response so far," said a spokeswoman for NTOM. "UK tour operators seem to be interested."

Yet none has so far taken up the challenge of promoting the country - a situation that NTOM hopes to change with a series of "familiarisation" trips for agents and operators to be staged over the next few months.

The country is hoping to sell itself by way of its miles of sandy beaches on the Adriatic and its opportunities for skiing and for activity holidays such as rafting, climbing, trekking, mountain biking and extreme sports in the mountains.

There is also excellent scuba diving - Jacques Cousteau once described the Montenegrin sea water as the purest in the Mediterranean. Not to mention that Montenegro is apparently famed for its coffee shops. The NTOM believes Montenegro is likely to appeal to "adventurous travellers. You can ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon".

At present, the only direct flights to Montenegro are via Dubrovnik in neighbouring Croatia, courtesy of Croatia Airlines, followed by a 40-minute bus trip. The flight costs around £320.

In an attempt to promote tourism no visa is required, apart from those who enter the country via Serbia.

But it may take a few years to get going. "We did a very successful tour there a few years ago," said Derek Moore, operations director of tour operator Explore Worldwide, which goes to 106 different countries. "But I do think it's a little early to contemplate going back."

Montenegro is not on the Western tourist map - although it attracts many Russians to its shores - but it once enjoyed a reasonably big influx of visitors from Britain. In the late 1980s, when tourism was the republic's biggest industry, it drew up to 1.3 million foreign visitors a year, nearly a third of them British.

During the 1970s and 1980s, package tourism was based around the so-called "Montenegrin Riviera", centring on the coastal resort of Budva and its nearby stunning neighbour Sveti Stefan, which was once a honeypot for yesterday's glitterati, including names such as Sophia Loren.

"Because of its past tourism industry, it has already got the infrastructure in place to cope with visitors," said the NTOM spokeswoman. This time around, however, Montenegro is poised to position itself as a fashionable "ecological" destination rather than a package fleshpot.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells