It is the combination of various project attributes that create conditions for something that is quite unique in the region. Encompassing seven million square metres along the Luštica Peninsula of the Adriatic coastline, our size and scale alone sets us apart from others; being one of the largest – if not the largest – projects of its type in Southeast Europe. We are also the only greenfield project in Montenegro. This means that we are developing in a completely undeveloped and initially inaccessible area of land that lacks all the required infrastructure, which we have included in our plans with the intention of developing the project according to the highest contemporary architectural and ecological standards.
As opposed to ‘one-off’ resorts or hotel destinations, Luštica Bay is being created with the clear intention of becoming a sustainable, fully-integrated, state-of-the-art town that will operate year-round and not only deliver an outstanding tourism offer, but also provide a permanent home for around 3,000 to 4,000 people upon completion of the project, notes Luštica Bay CEO Darren Gibson.
What kind of contents will Luštica Bay offer through this superior tourist offer and what categories of guests are you targeting?
Our Master Plan envisages the construction of seven hotels of four- or five-star category, two marinas with berthing and support facilities for up to 226 vessels, an 18-hole championship golf course, a combination of real estate typologies consisting of apartments, family houses and villas, as well as a town centre – “Centrale” – equipped with all the facilities necessary to support permanent residents. Despite this impressive list of features, bricks and mortar will cover only around ten per cent of the leased land, with the balance being allocated to nature and the like. In terms of the residential and guest experience, our diverse topography allows us to deliver a collection of stunning sea, bay and golf view properties, set amongst the lush greenery of the surrounding landscape.
Our ideal Luštica Bay resident is an aspiring community member, not merely a property buyer. We want people who share our vision of creating a vibrant, inclusive and sustainable year-round resort town, attracting regional and international renown for its value proposition, high quality natural and built environments, diverse offers and experiences, a relaxed lifestyle and a strong sense of community. We see our clients as people who appreciate comfort, quality and privacy.
Centrale will be constructed on an area of 240,000 square metres alongside the existing village of Radovići and will serve as a link between the villages of Luštica Bay and bordering villages, as well as with Tivat and Kotor
With this August’s opening of the hotel The Chedi and part of the marina, the construction of this complex has just begun. At what tempo will its development continue?
Our immediate future plans focus primarily on the commencement of construction in Centrale, which will form the core of the town of Luštica Bay. We believe that through seven phases over the next ten years, Centrale will become an attractive place, ensuring the privacy that is so often lacking along with the privileges of cosmopolitan life. Centrale will be constructed on an area of 240,000 square metres alongside the existing village of Radovići and will serve as a link between the villages of Luštica Bay and bordering villages, as well as with Tivat and Kotor. The apartments in the Centrale are already selling, with very competitive pricing on both the domestic and regional markets.
We will also be ‘rounding off’ the first phase of the Marina Village, with finishing works expected on the second stage of the main marina and the completion of real estate projects.
Separately, we are working closely with the relevant authorities to create the conditions necessary to recommence works on our golf course. We will also be looking to commence the development process for the second hotel of 300 keys in the Marina Village in the coming period.
This project is worth €1.1 billion and is the only greenfield investment in Montenegro to promise outstanding economic potential. How much will this project impact on the advancement of Montenegro’s tourism potential?
Overall, the impact of Luštica Bay and investment projects like it goes far beyond satisfying the profitability aspirations of investors. For example, one of the inevitable and desirable by-products of such projects is the global destination promotion that takes place; marketing the country’s attributes and potential to an international audience. The substantial and diversified offer of Luštica Bay, its quality and service standards, also adds significantly to Montenegro’s ability to attract and accommodate tourists with higher spending capacities for longer periods, and to drive repeat business. We firmly believe that the complete package we bring to the industry in Montenegro, including our needs and expectations for quality and standards, will see a continuous improvement in the quality, standards and overall offer of the tourism sector in the years to come. Of course, our success as a foreign investor in Montenegro will also instil confidence in other investors and drive interest in further investment in the industry in Montenegro.
We have been particularly effective in selling the vision of Luštica Bay across a wide range of markets and are proud of the fact that our buyer pool comprises 38 different nationalities
Have your expectations been met in terms of the number of potential buyers of houses and apartments in this new city?
Yes. We have sold around 250 properties in the project to date and this number continues to grow each week, with new sales and reservations. We have been particularly effective in selling the vision of Luštica Bay across a wide range of markets and are proud of the fact that our buyer pool comprises individuals and families from 38 different nationalities.
How would you assess the competitiveness of the Montenegrin tourism market, especially during the off-season period?
Seasonality remains an issue. Montenegro needs to continue to develop ways to grow its offer to cater for and encourage increasing visits during the winter months. The development of winter tourism in the north, including its ski slopes and hotel capacities, is a key part of this, as is the diversification of the offer in the tourist areas of the coast that are already developed. This diversification could be achieved, for example, through the establishment of MICE facilities and indoor facilities. Further development of other year-round outdoor leisure activities is another important element. The establishment of our golf course, and others like it, is an example.