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Dejan Šoškić, Ph.D. Economist, Regular Professor At The Faculty Of Economics, University Of Belgrade

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Renata Pindžo, FIC Communications Director

Tourism Plays A Key Role In Inclusive And Sustainable Growth

At a juncture when it’s evident that international demand for tourism is changing and pressure is mounting on the global tourist market, it is important to redefine the strategic orientation and the way tourism is managed, and to make Serbia an authentic, globally recognisable and competitive tourist destination

Renata Pindžo

Tourism was recognised globally, even before the pandemic, as an important and powerful branch of the economy, with importance and influence that extends far beyond activities related to holidaying and free time, and which represents a unique and significant source of new jobs and the generating of funds for the life of local communities, particularly when it comes to sensitive sections like young people, women, persons with special needs etc. In other words, tourism represents a genuine opportunity to achieve more sustainable and balanced regional development, at the global and national levels.

At the same time, the UN General Assembly hosted its first major debate on tourism in May 2022, emphasising tourism’s key role in ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth and the development of modern societies. It is likewise important to point out that, over the last decade, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has made tourism a high priority in the scope of its economic agenda. The implementation of key infrastructure projects across the country has created the prerequisites required for the future development of tourism. The Government support that was provided during the most critical periods of the pandemic was essential to preserving jobs, but also ensuring the survival of many companies. However, we should not lose sight of the fact that, alongside highlighting the importance of tourism to the Serbian economy, the pandemic also highlighted outstanding issues that need to be resolved in order to make serious strides on the future development of Serbian tourism.

That requires an intensive, cross-sector approach from the government that will enable predictability and the improvement of conditions for doing business and investing in this sector, innovative sources of financing, but also effective coordination of the public and private sectors aimed at achieving a shared vision of Serbia as an authentic, globally recognisable and competitive tourist destination.

Everything that I’ve mentioned motivated members of the Foreign Investors Council to initiate the forming of a new FIC Committee for tourism and hospitality, with the desire to utilise their vast international experience and repute – especially in the human resources domain that’s crucial to this labour-intensive branch, in technological and organisational solutions, but also in the building of a corporate culture – to provide their contribution to redefining strategic priorities and improving the business and investment climate of Serbia’s tourism and hospitality sector. At its founding session, this Committee stressed the particular importance of regulatory solutions to the issue of workforce seasonality, the rationalisation of costs, including tax policy, combating the grey economy through the improving of the regulatory framework and the proposing of measures aimed at discouraging and preventing such activities, as well as creating an effective and approachable framework for improving investment in tourism and hospitality for all investors.

Furthermore, with its 20 years of experience and positive reputation, the Foreign Investors Council will provide specific additional weight to resolving the aforementioned issues, signalling to the Government how important this prospective economic branch is, but also signalling to companies operating in this sector that they are not alone, but rather the entire business community stands behind them with only one desire: to advance and ease the business and investment climate for their benefit, but also for the benefit of Serbian citizens, as our member companies are respectable and reliable employers for more than 100,000 citizens of Serbia.

Renata Pindžo