25th Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition
13–15 March 2018 • Expocentre, Moscow

Destination Focus: Montenegro

News
Back in March 2017, Irina Tyruin, Spokesperson for the Russian Tourism Organisation, told the Interfax news agency pre-season sales of holidays to Montenegro had grown 50% compared with 2016.
Destination Focus: Montenegro

Relations between Russia and Montenegro run deep. Not even political tensions can stop Russians heading there in ever-increasing numbers.

The Montenegrins were back at MITT 2017, so we had a quick chat with Miladin Radisevic, Exhibition Manager, Montenegro Tourism, on just what makes their country so attractive to Russians – and what they do to keep them coming back.

How has MITT 2017 been for you?

We had a lot of visitors to our stand, our old partners, but lots of new partners, which is the main thing for us. We had lots of new, good opinions on our stand for this season.

Who have your new partners been mainly?

The major new partner for this market is R-Tours and through them we have a lot of partners, as they cover almost everything in this region – especially in Moscow.

They are a major partner for our tourism industry, and through them and their business we have gained even more new partners.

How was 2016 for Montenegro’s tourist sector?

It was great! Visitor numbers grew by 5%. We had a longer average stay time too, compared with the 2015. For 2015, and the years before, 8 days was the average for Russian tourists. In 2016, it rose to 9.1 or 9.2 – which is unbelievable. The figures have been very good for us. Our average stay time is only behind Spain and Turkey now.

But we are a small country, with a small tourist board, unlike Spain or Turkey. We don’t have a long coast, or a lot of hotels, compared with them. Because of that, we are very proud of our results.

Is there a shortage of hotel rooms in Montenegro?

No.

We don’t have that many four or five-star hotels – I could probably count the number on one hand – but we have a lot of small, family hotels across Montenegro. I think that gives us an advantage.

Because we are smaller than France or Greece or Turkey, as soon as you arrive you feel the openness of our people. When you come to Montenegro, you have the freedom to be wherever or whoever you want. You won’t feel frightened or anything like that. If you need anything, you can feel free to knock on any door and someone will help you.

In our small place, we have a lot of things to see: beaches; the sea; mountains. Because of that, tourists that come to Montenegro fall in love at first sight.

According to our analysis, on our exit questionnaires 4 out of 5 said they are coming back to Montenegro next year, so that’s very good. That’s what gives us an advantage: we are an open, friendly market.

We are also not an expensive destination. We’re not cheap – believe me – but we are not expensive!

Do you have any tourist products that are growing? What about any specific tourist sectors?

Over the last five years, we have attracted more tourists who are interested in hiking and biking. In our country, we have over 3,000 km of roads and paths for that kind of tourism.

Almost all my friends who I’ve invited here, they go and see those kind of attractions – and they are left speechless!

But every trip to Montenegro is different.

For the last two years, we have been promoting a new product that I’ve only seen in Scandinavia: jet-skis through the mountains. In Norway and Finland, though, they do not cover the peaks of the mountains. On Montenegro, you go from Kolasin to Zabljak, you start in the city and you go over the tops of the mountains to come to Zabljak.

On that tour, they cover lunch and dinner, where Montenegrins stay at the top of the mountains. These people give you home-cooked food. Some who live there haven’t visited our cities for over 30 years – they live at the peaks and don’t come down. So, our tourists get to see them and have a great adventure.

Is Airbnb popular in Montenegro?

Yes, Airbnb and booking.com are very popular. 50% of our hotel rooms are sold individually, but the rest, private sellers, are on those websites.