The 40th International Tourism Fair IFT 2018 (February 22 – 25, 2018, Belgrade) was held under the slogan Your Holiday is Waiting for You and as estimated by the visitors, participants and tourism journalists, the most comprehensive presented destinations were Greece – this year’s Partner Country and Serbia – the Host Country.
About 1,200 exhibitors from 55 global countries gathered in six exhibiting halls and featured the tourism offer, culture, habits, wines and gastronomic specialties. The most demanded destination was Greece, which, as declared by Ms. Elena Kontura, Minister of Tourism of Greece, „Was visited last year by 850,000 Serbian tourists, 15% more than in the year before and the early booking is better this year for 30%“. Serbia was interesting also to the local visitors, but also to the international partners, since there were 1.5 million international tourists in 2017 (17% more than in the previous year).
Mr. Rasim Ljajić, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, spoke about the tourism rising line of the Host Country – Serbia, reminding Serbia rebranding was under progress, tourism had double figure rise for years, 95% of foreigners were quite satisfied by their staying in Serbia, the deciding factors were the good relation between the price and quality, safety and easy accessibility of the destination“. Ms. Marija Labović, CEO of the National Tourism Organization of Serbia (NTOS), points out „Belgrade Tourism Fair attendance is a special event, since from the total number of tourists, 51% of them are the local ones“.
Along with the Tourism Fair, the events International Hotel Management and Catering Equipment Fair HORECA, Wine Fair BeoWine and Souvenir Exhibition were organized, as well.
Next year, 2019, the PARTNER Country of the Tourism Fair IFT 2019 will be BULGARIA.
Complete presentation of the 40th International Tourism Fair -IFT 2018 is provided by ISTN in the chapter Events.
According to the barometer of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the international tourism turnover grew for 7% in 2017, which is high above the trend so far since 2010, which was 4%. The experts expect this powerful boost to continue also in 2018 with the rate of 4 – 5%. The list of the most visited regions is led by Europe, which had 8% more international arrivals than in 2016. Regarding these data, the European Travel Commission (ETC) position is even more distinguished, as it gathers National Tourism Organizations of European countries, in order to promote Europe at distant markets, first of all in China, USA, Canada and Brazil and which will execute significant activities this year related to 2018 declaring as EU – China Tourism Year and the European Cultural Heritage Year. Ms. Marija Labović, CEO of the National Tourism Organization of Serbia (NTOS), who will represent Serbia in the Board of Directors of this institution in the next two years, says „Serbia, as an active ETC member participates both in the promotional activities, especially in China and the USA, and in the development of the products of so called thematic tours including tourism offer of several countries. The Board of Directors membership is the opportunity for Serbia to contribute more directly to the policy creation and decisions significant for Europe as tourism destination and thereby also for Serbia as a rising one“.
That tourism is an economic branch that reacts fast to bad influences, but as fast also recovers, shows the figure that after the years of crisis, last year was marked as the record one, with a billion and 300 million international travels. We would remind just the region where Serbia is located, was surpassing.
The interest in this region, especially Serbia, is shown also by Japan - Southeast Europe Business Association (JSEEBA), seated in Shintomi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan. Its President, Mr. Kihachiro Nishiura, signed (March 19, 2018) the Cooperation Protocol with the National Tourism Organization of Serbia, which includes opening of the Tourist Information Center of the Republic of Serbia in Tokyo (Japan).
For the united tourism product of Western Balkans, with the promotion financed by the Chamber Investment Forum (CIF), the funds should be approved in April this year, which will be used by Serbia, along with other CIF members. The product is intended for Europe and distant markets, such as United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, India, Iran, the United States of America and other overseas countries. Ms. Tijana Maljković, Secretary of the Association of Tourism of SCCI, highlights „The funds will be used for the Website production to promote all mutual tourism products and connection of all participants in the mutual offer“.
After the information Macedonia hosted about a million tourists in the previous year, which is 20% growth or three times higher than the assumption of the World Tourism Organization for the Balkans, and Serbia about three million of tourists, at this year's Tourism Fair in Belgrade and the Ohrid Evening in Belgrade, SCCI and the Economic Chamber of Macedonia presented the new project EXPLORING CULTURE AND NATURE. Under the working title FROM THE DANUBE TO OHRID three tours have been planned: The religious tour “SPIRITUAL HIGHLIGHTS of SERBIA AND MACEDONIA” (11 days), the nature fan tour „RENDEZVOUS WITH NATURE“ (16 days) and the WINE AND GASTRONOMY TOUR (12 days). The travel organizers from Serbia are the incoming travel agencies Magelan, Robinson and Panacomp, and from Macedonia Aurora Tours and Pine Holidays.
All these tours will be promoted with guaranteed prices and departures for the year 2019. Ms. Renata Pindžo, Deputy Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of Serbia, points out „The included countries have to work, under cooperation with the Chambers and Ministries, on the coordination of visa systems, service and accommodation standards, as well as on the mutual campaigns at distant markets“.
The project FROM THE DANUBE TO OHRID has been obviously planned as a very ambitious one, but if the tours of 11 to 16 days will be the right measure for the tourists famous for taking maximally 7 to 9 days for several countries in the Region, will be shown already by the first guests in 2019.
After the third meeting of the Working Group for Cooperation within Tourism of Serbia and Russian Federation of the Intergovernmental Russian – Serbian Committee for Trade, Economic and Scientific / Technical Cooperation had been held at the Tourism Fair in Belgrade – IFT 2018, where a precise agreement was achieved of the procedure beginning of Certification of the two cultural routes – the BYZANTINE and EARLY CHRISTIAN ones, Serbia featured its tourism offer at the Travel & Tourism Exhibition MITT 2018 in Moscow (March 13 – 15, 2018), one of the five most important Tourism Shows in the world, and won the prestigious award for the entire exhibiting attendance. Since the number of Russian tourists in Serbia is continuously growing (in 2017 it is 15% higher than in the previous one) and since the tourists from Russian Federation are mostly interested in the offers of Belgrade, Kopaonik, Zlatibor, spas, active outdoor holiday, as well as the cultural / historical and religious heritage, two new brochures of the National Tourism Organization of Serbia - RUSSIAN HERITAGE IN SERBIA and MEDICAL TOURISM (produced upon the initiative and under cooperation with the Ministry of Health of Serbia) were featured at the Travel & Tourism Exhibition in Moscow.
The growing tourism interest between Serbia and Russia is shown also by the fact that, participating in the Tourism Fair in Belgrade, Russian Federation offered Serbia, on the occasion of the World Football Championship and playing of Serbian national team in Samara (June 17, 2018), the special presentation opportunity, as well as the possibility of the construction of Park of Serbian – Russian Friendship. The new meeting of the Working Group of Serbia and Russia has been appointed for September this year in Moscow, during the fair Otdykh Leisure 2018 and many Russian tour operators arrive in Serbia in April this year, who will visit the most important destinations in the Serbian medical tourism offer.
The winter tourism season is not reduced at Serbian mountains – Kopaonik, Zlatibor (Tornik) and Stara planina. Thus, the Internet Serbia Travel News team visited just Kopaonik and assured itself the Ski Resorts of Serbia did their best to make this destination really the most attractive winter resort, not only of Serbia, but also of the Region. At perfectly arranged runs, all global languages may be heard. The staying of the youngest ones on the snow has been fully organized, as well. In accordance with the winter campaign of the Ski Resorts of Serbia called „The High View“, all facilities intended for the skiers, boarders and recreation fans are fully operating, there is enough snow, the runs have been maintained and regardless of the daily temperature, owing to the Ski Resorts of Serbia teams, each new day begins to the general satisfaction of all categories of Kopaonik guests. The figures arrive from the Ski Resorts of Serbia in the 100 days of the season „The turnover has been achieved as for the whole previous season, which was considered as absolutely the record one, the number of the sold ski passes is already now higher for 20% and the highest number of the skiers in a day – 11,000 has been achieved, as well“.
A contribution to the total offer of Kopaonik is given also by MK Mountain Resort (Grand and Anđela Hotels, as well as Konaci Apartment Settlement), as well as many other facilities, restaurants, ski schools and ski services joining the activities of the Ski Resorts of Serbia. The event Massive Descent – Massive Discount, held early March, attracted many winter sport fans. In three days, as long the Ski Resorts of Serbia were providing the 20% discount to the two and three day ski passes, there were more than 15,000 skiers skiing there.
What wrong is and what the comment of the Internet Serbia Travel News is, is related to the lack of activity of the relevant public services not preventing the illegal resales of the ski passes, which causes damage to everyone. The Ski Resorts of Serbia cannot fight against it alone.
The skiing and winter sport fans are expected by another discount within Your Ski Zone, on April 5 -8, 2018. By the end of season, the ski resorts Kopaonik, Stara planina and Zlatibor (Tornik) will have new opening hours, from 8.00 a. m. to 3.30 p. m. and in the ski resort Tornik, the 20% discount to the ski pass price will be valid by the end of the season.
With all compliments to the Ski Resorts of Serbia for the results at the ski resort Kopaonik, ISTN provides attached the price list of the Ski Resorts of Serbia for the Winter Season 2018.
National Tourism Organization of Serbia (NTOS), along with 18 local Tourism Organizations and representatives of economy, promoted at the ITB Tourism Show in Berlin (March 7 – 11, 2018) the tourism offer of Serbia and won BEA (Best Exhibitor Awards) Award for the eighth best exhibitor (https://cbs.de/en/practice-career/student-initiatives/itb-best-exhibitor-award/winners/#1520695962178-3247688a-d8e5). On this occasion, Ms. Marija Labović, CEO of the National Tourism Organization of Serbia, highlights „For most of the winners, the BEA Award means success in the international marketing. In the busiest and visually cost effective way, the best exhibitor award shows many characteristics and cultural diversity of tourism, which respects the factor that attracts the Show visitors”.
The key position in Serbia presentation at the ITB Show was taken by Belgrade, which had the growth of the number of tourists from Germany for 26% in 2017, as well as the active holiday offer. In this respect also NTOS presented in Berlin the new brochure ACTIVE HOLIDAY IN SERBIA – TREKKING AND BIKING, after the promotion at the Tourism Fair in Belgrade IFT 2018, taking the interested parties through the Western, Central, Eastern and Southeast Serbia, Belgrade and Vojvodina, on the Eurovelo biking routes Eurovelo 6 and Eurovelo 13. This very informative brochure, so far in Serbian and German languages and soon in English, as well, provides full information of the routes, length, the necessary visit time, arrangement, the total ascent and descent, the heights of the starting and final points, as well as of the attractions available on the way.
After its participation in the Tourism Fair IFT 2018, Special Hospital Kanjiža Spa, in which the application for the vouchers of the Government of Serbia to the amount of RSD.5,000 is still going on, will feature its offer also at the specialized fair of nutrition, dietetics, Wellness, the alternative medicine, medical and cosmetic care – the 17th Spring Health Festival in Belgrade (April 12 – 13, 2018, Serbian Armed Forces House), attending it with the medical rehabilitation programs, prevention programs for Osteoporosis treatment, attractive Wellness programs, such as My Weekend, „Wellness and Sport Team Building, Shopping and Spa Weekend and others.
As declared by Kanjiža Spa Management, „Our programs provide the guests with the opportunity, in addition to the holiday and recreation, also to get insight of their health condition. Our examinations include the analysis of the existing medical documents, physical functional examination, medical doctor’s report with the expertise, as well as the use of all resort’s Wellness and Spa capacities”.
An innovation in this Spa, which in our experience enables its guests the real combination of healthy, beautiful and useful, is this year’s great action – 10–40% discount for retired persons.
ISTN provides attached current programs of Kanjiža Spa.
Medical and Spa Center Merkur from Vrnjačka Spa, characteristic for the long tradition of natural factor implementation – mineral water for medical purposes, under the slogan Rest and Relaxation with Health Control, entered the market with the latest campaign GURGLING, which reminds of the salutary mineral water and its ‘gurgling’. Merkur, in which the renewed Aqua Center started its operation, having a large swimming pool with thermal mineral water with the temperature of 28 - 30°C, hydro massage guns, body-jets, massage showers
and geysir, accomplished, as declared by Dr. Sci. Med. Dejan Stanojević, Merkur CEO, „The record number of nights in the previous year is a combination of supreme medicine, balneotherapy and spa features“. Mr. Stanojević announces also the execution of a big project – the exclusive Splendor Center (4*), which should be a connection of medical, sport and convention tourism.
The idea is that the guest gets complete medical and spa service at one place, to unite the therapies, diagnostics and treatments, what he gets anyway, but now at a higher level, adapted to the guest who wants comfort and luxury. In this out seasonal period Merkur has got special packages at the prices 13% lower than the regular price list.
Anyway, Vrnjačka Spa celebrates this year 150 Years of Organized Tourism Dealing (1868 – 2018) and the central celebration will be held on July 14, with many new tourism features.
A combination of medicine and tourism is a fairly new tourism type for Serbia. The statistics show almost 5% of all international travels are related to the medical tourism and the market value of this tourism type is more than 100 billion US Dollars. Within the Belgrade Tourism Fair IFT 2018, the event MEDICAL TOURISM BY BEL MEDIC, devoted to individual visitors, local and international companies operating to support health and beauty, as well as travel agencies and organizers. Upon our question how much the medical tourism is developed in Serbia, Ms. Zorica Marjanović Vasilijević, Marketing Director of the First Private General Hospital in Serbia BelMedic, says “This fair attendance is our pilot project. Serbia is a country with great potential for the medical tourism development. The increasing number of medical service users come to Serbia from abroad, first of all from Scandinavian countries, from England and Scotland, due to much lower prices, high quality services, skilled staff, as well as excellent conditions for diagnostic examinations, surgical operations, esthetic and dental interventions. We cooperate also with Tourism Organizations in Serbia and worldwide, insurance companies, but the travel agencies from Serbia, unlike the international ones, still do not recognize their interest”.
This project of BelMedic Hospital, which provides various medical services – examinations, state of the art diagnostics, surgical treatment (operations), inpatient treatment and postoperative hospitalizing in luxurious apartments, home visits, ambulance transport of patients and other services and which is situated at five locations in Belgrade connected by the unique Call-Center and the integral computer network, under the working title HEALTH TRAVEL & BEAUTY, gathered the representatives of Bel Medic, Hemofarm, Pharmacy Belgrade, Eye Clinic Professional Dr Suvajac, Laboratories Ericson, Carbofit, Donnerberg and others. As highlighted by Dr. Ivana Petrović, Medical Director of BelMedic, „Medical tourism is the name of a quite new and growing industry, which enables people to solve their medical problems while they are at the same time traveling for their holiday and enjoying the beauties of the country, in which the medical service is provided to them”.
The information has been recently published, the first travel agency specialized in medical tourism started its operation in Montenegro (March 1, 2018). It has been further stated in the information „Coordination Board of Medical Tourism of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Montenegro expressed its full support to the attempts of the Ministry of the Sustainable Development and Tourism and the Ministry of Health to create the Medical Tourism Development Strategy in Montenegro“. Such news is the natural consequence of the statistics showing 5% of all international travels is related to the medical tourism (In the structure of medical tourism total sales, about 40% belongs to dental services, 42% to the orthopedics, cardiology, cardio surgery and neurosurgery and 15% to esthetic operations).
Such agency specialization is certainly awaiting also Serbia in the future, but so far, the pathway to Serbian medical institutions by international clients and vice versa develops in diverse ways.
Within the medical tourism, one of more demanded institutions is DIVA LASER CENTER in Belgrade, the dermatological institution with the longest tradition, which focuses in the esthetic medicine PREVENTION, as the best available antiaging therapy. Ms. Nataša Zmbov, Founder of DIVA LASER CENTER, says „At recent seminars in this branch in Tel Aviv and London, our expert team returned refreshed by new know-how in this branch and it introduces the feature HEALTHY AGING MEDICINE as a quite new approach to the treatment. Healthy Aging Medicine is actually a quite new philosophy, by which regular physical activity, healthy balanced nutrition, with the positive attitude to oneself and the people around, under the implementation of the relevant laser and other procedures, is the golden standard in the therapy against the skin aging. This contemporary medical approach gives the best results and ensures the therapy success”.
In DIVA LASER CENTER, visited by the patients from the whole Region, dermatoloGICAL laser CONSULTING IS FREE OF CHARGE.
Singidunum University presented the study programs of the basic, Master and Doctoral Studies within the Tourism Fair in Belgrade – IFT 2018. Beside the Tourism and Hospitality Management studies, special interest is caused by Food Economics, a popular branch, studied at many Universities in the world. Prof. Dr. Slobodan Čerović, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Singidunum University, highlights „Bearing in mind the new trends, we started educating the experts in this branch.
At the Food Economics Department two types of subjects are studied – the first ones are general courses within economics and tourism and the second ones are the expert ones, such as restaurant industry, international gastronomy, food technology, nutrition, food safety, etc. The students also gain practical knowledge in cooking, both at the Faculty and within the several months long practice, which will be carried out under cooperation with prominent hotels in Belgrade. After completion, the Graduate Economists within Food Economics will be able to work primarily as Restaurant or Kitchen Managers or like other students of the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, they will be qualified to work within tourism, in Tourism Organizations, business entities, agencies and similar institutions”.
The Nautical – Tourism season in Belgrade started also officially (on March 19, 2018) by the ship Viking Lif sailing into the International Passenger Harbor Belgrade with the tourists from the USA, Germany and Canada.
For the tourists who visited Belgrade and its sights, such as Kalemegdan, 25th of May Museum, Ada Ciganlija, Royal Complex, Topčider, Avala, Skadarlija and others, the welcoming service was prepared, as well as the cultural / artistic program and the surprise gifts. As declared by Mr. Miodrag Popović, CEO of the Tourism Organization of Belgrade (TOB), “Since about 400 tourist ships sailed into the Belgrade Harbor with about 50.000 tourists last year, we expect to exceed this figure this year. This shows Belgrade is an increasing attractive destination at the Danube nautical map”.
The data show the most interested tourists in the Danube cruising are those from Germany, the USA, Switzerland, UK, Canada, Austria, Spain, France, Italy and Scandinavia.
During the Nautical – Tourism season, culminating by the Ship Carnival, within the rivers Sava and Danube promotion, the travelers will have at their disposal at the Passenger Harbor Belgrade the seasonal information center of the Tourism Organization of Belgrade with promotional leaflets in the city and its features.
Under the slogan „Let’s Create the Event Future in Serbia Together”, 11th MEETING OF EVENT ORGANIZERS 2017/2018, (March 2 – 3, 2018, Student Rest House Ratko Mitrović, Zlatibor) was held. At this event organized by the Serbian Tourism and Events Association (TEAM of Serbia) and under cooperation with the High Tourism School from Belgrade and the Tourism Organization of Zlatibor, the lecturers launched several interesting topics, such as “Strategy of Tourism Development and the National Minorities Events” (Ivan Đoković, Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of AP Vojvodina), “The Role of Cultural Events in the Tourism Development” (Jasna Dimitrijević, CEO of the Kolarac Foundation in Belgrade), „Organization of the Events for Children” (Ivana Cvetković and Vlastimir Veljović, UG ERA, Užice), “Importance of the Events for the Accommodation Facility Development” (Prof. Dr. Ljiljana Kosar, Faculty of Hotel Management, Belgrade).
After the attendees’ voting, Ms. Milanka Cvetković, President of the TEAM OF SERBIA Association, granted the
awards TOURISM PUZZLE 2017:
- The Most Successful Traditional Event – BANICA DAYS, Bela Palanka
- The Most Successful New Event – TANDERBAL – Festival on the Tisa, Bečej
- Deserved Individual within the Event Tourism – LJILJANA TODOROVIĆ, TO Oplenac Topola
- The Most Successful Local Self-Government – The Support Pillar to the Event Organizers - Belgrade (GO Mladenovac)
- The Best Event Promotional Film: CHILDREN’S ST.GEORGE CARNIVAL – Kragujevac, INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL IN THE VILLAGE VLAŠKA – Mladenovac and OPLENAC GRAPE PICKING - Topola
In accordance with the global trends and the tourists’ interests, the ACTIVE and NAUTICAL tourism are become increasingly interesting both in the market demand and supply.
Organized by the Tourism Organization of Niš, the 19th International Tourism and Active Holiday Fair (March 29 – 31, 2018) is held in this city, one of the major events of this part of the Balkans. It is followed by the Conference of Adventure, as a cultural heritage form. As declared by the organizer, “In addition to the active holiday as the Fair topic, this year the focus is also on the gastronomic and wine offers, which is first of all related to the presentation and tasting of the characteristic local cuisine of the exhibitors”.
Belgrade Fair is preparing the Nautical, Hunting and Fishing Fair (April 3 – 7, 2018), a specialized event, where the local and international manufacturers exhibit ships, ship and outboard engines, hunting weapons, camping equipment, nautical and hunter garments and the water sport equipment, charters and nautical tourism. It is followed by many lectures and presentations.
Belgrade Fair - Nautical, Hunting and Fishing Fair
Feratel company, travel information system provider, with its offices in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Benelux countries, Spain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, organizes the 6th edition of the trade show Austrian Travel Trade & Adventure Days 2018, attended with the adventure tourism theme, by the exhibitors from the regions including the Alps, the Danube and the Adria.
As declared by the organizer, “During the two days, more than 90 exhibitors from Austria,Italy, Croatia, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Portugal, Ireland and other countries will present their offers.”
The event takes place on April 20 – 22, 2018 in the Austrian mountain-ski center Mayrhofen in Tirol.