Goran Miljković, President of the Municipality of Bela Palanka

Tourism Is Our Chance

Bela Palanka, one of the smaller municipalities in southeast Serbia, measures up to developed municipalities successfully when it comes to the infrastructure of equipped industrial zones, and in activities on the development of tourism, as its greatest potential, it has also outdone some cities

Goran Miljković, President of the Municipality of Bela Palanka

We’ve laid solid foundations in previous years and it is certain that 2019 will be a successful year for Bela Palanka. The goal we are targetting is the economic development of Bela Palanka and the creation of a better environment for the life and work of our fellow citizens, especially young people, says the President of Bela Palanka Municipality, Goran Miljković.

The development of tourism occupies an important place in all strategic documents of the Municipality of Bela Palanka. On what do you base your plans? Have you applied for funding from the relevant ministry and EU funds?

– The Municipality of Bela Palanka actively implements all measures aimed at improving economic development, and we have singled out tourism as a driver of development because we have lots of potentials. Testifying to the seriousness of our intention to work continuously on the promotion of our tourist offer is also the fact that we are the second municipality in Serbia to have created a four-year Tourism Development Programme. It is aligned with strategic national and European documents and opens the doors to ministries and EU funds for Bela Palanka. With the development of this programme, Bela Palanka has become more competitive than other places in Serbia, and tourism development can also be based on agriculture, protected treasures like Sićevac Gorge and Suva Planina, the promotion of traditional products, as well as tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

With the further reconstruction of the “Remezijana” archaeological site, we will improve the tourist offer of our town, which is why we competed for funding with this project at the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, which has actually been the patron of our biggest culinary-tourist event, “Days of banica”, for many years. The complete ecological and recreational landscaping of the “Banjica” centre is planned and under the auspices of the Serbia-Bulgaria IPA cross-border cooperation programme we’ve competed with the project “Tourism as an Initiator of Regional Economic Development”.

The Municipality of Bela Palanka’s priorities for 2019 include investments in developing tourism infrastructure, the development of rural tourism and the adaptation of accommodation facilities

Can the development of tourism lead to the development of other economic sectors, such as agriculture and entrepreneurship, and improve the standard of living of all citizens?

– Tourism is one of the most promising branches of the economy that is of benefit to all citizens. We want to encourage people to engage in rural tourism, which is why we will provide subsidies to citizens who want to start their own business in this area.

The tourism development plan has defined extremely ambitious tasks for the development of this area, and achieving them leads to increases in revenue year-on-year.

We are recording constant increases in tourist numbers thanks to the “Days of banica” event, which was attended by around 30,000 tourists in 2018, generating revenues exceeding a million euros.

You have shown that you’re proactive with the opening of an industrial zone in the vicinity of Corridor 10. Are there any potential investors?

– Equipping industrial zones in terms of infrastructure is a long process that requires the compiling of planning documents, the construction of access roads and water supply and sewage networks. We have fully equipped the “Murica 1” industrial zone, covering 8.5 hectares, and are continuing to procure land.

Negotiations are underway with serious investors regarding the construction of factories, while we are also working on brownfield investments. For the “Murica 2” industrial zone, covering an area of 4.5 hectares, we’ve compiled a Detailed Regulatory Plan and are working on a project for infrastructure equipment, and our priority when it comes to greenfield and brownfield investments is the creation of 500 new jobs by year’s end 2020.