Zafiris Lampadaridis, President Of The FIC Tourism & Hospitality Committee (Hyatt Regency Belgrade)

Important Momentum For Strategic Positioning

The FIC played a key role in creating the new Tourism Development Strategy, and effective implementation – primarily by the public sector – is now crucial for Serbia to sustain its strategic positioning amid rapid changes to the global tourism market

Many of the key recommendations proposed by the FIC relate to the tourism and hospitality sector. First and foremost, it is important to address issues that are relevant to the new Tourism Development Strategy, the adoption of which is expected in the period ahead.

During the pandemic, we at the FIC already knew that it was necessary to define a new strategic framework for the development of Serbian tourism. Tourist preferences, but also tangible changes to the climate, sustainability, and inclusivity represent critical criteria for millions of tourists worldwide when it comes to choosing a holiday destination. We should additionally keep sight of digital transformation and new marketing tools. It is essential to determine where the tourism sector of Serbia stands today realistically, what its key comparative advantages and disadvantages are, the existing tourist capacities and the profile of tourists that Serbia wants to attract. All stakeholders must be aware of the current trends of the international tourism market, especially with regard to the experiences of foreign guests and tourism products that are essential to achieving a competitive advantage.

The fight against the grey economy is an increasingly important factor that’s considered by both serious individual and institutional investors when deciding whether or not to invest in a tourist destination

With a deep understanding of the current situation facing Serbian tourism, the FIC contributed to formulating a new strategic framework. And there must be no delay not only when it comes to the adoption of this strategy, but also its implementation, especially by the public sector, because Serbia must maintain the important momentum it has gained in strategic positioning, because changes in the global tourism market come quickly.

Apart from the strategic framework, we also dealt with the new Law on Copyright and Related Rights, considering that the existing solution (payment according to the size in square-metres) serves to demotivate, particularly when it comes to accommodation facilities, while the new law should see us focus on business performance (e.g., occupancy rate). Unfortunately, we have yet to find understanding from the authorities. We have also been very active with regard to the new Law on Foreigners and the Law on the Employment of Foreigners, the development of financial services, ESG standards etc.

Last year’s FIC White Book included tangible and detailed recommendations for solutions to minimise the grey economy in tourism. A year later, we cannot say that systematic measures have been taken. Taking on the fight against the grey economy is primarily a strategic decision of the government, and one that not only represents a decisive step towards the normalisation of the tourism industry, but also represents an increasingly important factor that’s considered by both serious individual and institutional investors when deciding whether or not to invest in a specific tourist destination.

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