Tourism policy is reflected in the following sustainable development goals of the UN 2030 Agenda:
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
8.9. By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
11.4. Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
SDG 12: Sustainable production and consumption
12.b Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
SDG 14: Life below water
14.7. By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.
In terms of the National Sustainable Development Strategy by 2030 and the accompanying Action Plan, Montenegro committed to the following:
– Improve local entrepreneurial infrastructure and business environment for SME development and entrepreneurship (SDG 8.9.1) towards operationalising national and local tourism business zones through financial support for infrastructure development, better promotion, tax and administrative facilities at the central and local levels, as well as growth in investments in tourism fostered by fiscalisation measures. The aim is to provide additional facilities for investors in the northern and central regions of Montenegro through the model of tourism development zones (green investments in tourism), define the model for establishing, managing and operation of the zones of national interest, and introduce incentives for prospective investors by amending legislation and adopting specific regulations governing tourism zones (SDG 8 – 8.3). Strengthen incentives and tax facilities in tourism to foster the development of high-category hotels and building new forms of tourism products aligned with sustainable development principles and strategic planning documents (reducing the return on investment time in high-end hotels down from 20 to 12 years, increase the net positive impact on public finance and employment).
– Increase the significance of culture as a fundamental value of spiritual, social and economic development greatly conducive to better quality of life, promote culture tourism as one of the most important niches and achieve sustainable tourism with the emphasis on culture and eco tourism, given that through the development of culture tourism and other forms of sustainable tourism, agriculture, crafts and creative industries (SDG 11 (11.4) and SDG 8 (8.9)) there is a need to put cultural heritage to sustainable use.
– Resource-efficiency needs to be improved in tourism: foster greening of tourism and greater resource-efficiency through the support to green investments in hotel and hospitality establishments, as well as in water and waste management facilities during their construction; reduce waste generation from tourism activities and improve waste management; protect sensitive ecosystems impacting tourism development; foster the introduction of green technologies in tourism, and maintain the destination appeal in the long run, including the non-technological innovation through eco-management, marketing, new business forms or organisational setups; improve market regulation where pricing signals are ineffective (create better pricing signals and market instruments with the ability to reduce costs caused due to adverse environment externalities); introduce green procurement to foster green innovation (links with NSDS goal 4.5), SDG 6 (6.3), 7 (7.3), 11 (11.6), 12 (12.b), 15 (15.5).
The following EU Acquis chapters are relevant for the tourism policy:
Chapter 3 – Freedom to provide services, concerning tourism services, given that pertinent Acquis enables the functioning of the European internal market and includes the right of establishment in any of the European Union Member States. Right of establishment entails the right to start and operate a business in any member state by incorporating a company or as a self-employed person. The right of establishment will allow Montenegrin business entities to launch, start and perform business activity on a sustained and continued basis in one or more EU Member States.
Chapter 20 – Enterprise and industrial policy aims at creating an enabling environment for producers and entrepreneurs by supporting their competitiveness and fair participation in business activities in Europe and globally. Topics covered include industrial policy, financial support instruments for SMEs, tourism industry, aviation and maritime industry, wood industry, steel and metal industry.
Chapter 27 – Environment includes a wide-ranging body of acquis which is quite demanding even for the current Member States: horizontal legislation, air and water quality, waste management, nature conservation, industrial pollution prevention and risk management, chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMO), noise and forestry, whose consistent implementation will create an environment conducive to further development and promotion of Montenegrin tourism and Montenegro’s constitutional designation as an ecological state.
The aim of EU tourism policy is to maintain the position of a leading destination while maximising the contribution of tourism industry to growth and employment, and promoting collaboration among EU member states, particularly through sharing of good practices. In June 2010, the European Commission adopted the document entitled Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe, setting the new EU tourism strategy and the action plan. It hinges on four priorities:
The Commission package on tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond, adopted in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19, is composed of three guidelines and a recommendation to help EU countries gradually lift travel restrictions while respecting necessary health precautions. The package includes: a chapeau communication on tourism and transport; a common approach to lifting restrictions of free movement at EU internal borders in a gradual and coordinated way, mirroring the progressive lifting of domestic restrictions; a common framework to support the gradual re-establishment of transport whilst ensuring the safety of passengers and personnel; a recommendation to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement; and common criteria and principles for gradually and safely restoring tourism activities, in particular for health protocols for hospitality (hotels, etc.).
In 2015, one in ten enterprises in the European non-financial business economy belonged to the tourism industries. These 2.4 million enterprises employed an estimated 12.7 million persons. Enterprises in industries with tourism related activities accounted for 9.2 % of the persons employed in the whole non-financial business economy and 21.5 % of persons employed in the services sector. The tourism industries’ shares in total turnover and value added at factor cost were relatively lower, with the tourism industries accounting for 3.8 % of the turnover and 5.7 % of the value added of the non-financial business economy.
Coastal and maritime tourism is the largest maritime activity in Europe and employs almost 3.2 million people, generating a total of € 183 billion in gross value added and representing over one third of the maritime economy. As much as 51% of bed capacity in hotels across Europe is concentrated in regions with a sea border. EUROSTAT reports that over 656,000 tourist accommodation establishments active within EU-28 in 2016 compose the industry offer. Altogether, they provided more than 31 million bed places. According to the same source, the number of nights spent in tourist accommodation in the EU continued to grow in 2017 (5.2 %), reaching more than 3.1 billion nights.
EU Strategic Framework
Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe
Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond (13 May 2020)
The overarching strategy documents highlight the potential offered by this industry:
-Medium-term Government Work Programme 2018-2020 covers tourism policy within its priority 1 – Montenegro – A country of economic growth and new jobs and anticipates linking agriculture with trade and tourism through diversification of economic activities in rural areas and upgrading Montenegro as a tourism destination.
-In line with the development vision set in the Development Directions for Montenegro 2018 – 2021, the aim is to implement activities focused on continued development – building quality infrastructure and harnessing natural resources to sustainable limits through development projects, particularly in sectors where Montenegro has the competitive advantage, such as tourism as an industry whose key challenge remains to upgrade and diversify its tourism product, given that key limitations of the previous tourism development concept include insufficient number of high-quality accommodation establishments, regional disparities and still highly pronounced seasonality.
-the Economic Reforms Programme 2020 – 2022 sets tourism product diversification as a priority that will help extend the season for greater utilisation of accommodation establishments and job generation. The Incentives Programme in Tourism, worth EUR520,000.00, is focused on tourism product development through tapping into natural assets and cultural and historic heritage.
The prospects for health tourism development were recognised by the Smart Specialisation Strategy 2019-2024, and both tourism and culture are seen by the Regional Development Strategy as priorities for more balanced regional development, at the same time important for attracting EU pre-accession assistance for the period 2014-2020. There are also other sector-specific documents that elaborate specific potentials of this industry, such as Rural Tourism Development Programme 2019-2021 and the Programme for Culture Tourism Development.
In April 2020, within its Second Package of Measures to Support the Economy, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Assistance Programme for the Economy and Employees in Response to the COVID-19 crisis. As regards the tourism industry, subsidies were approved for business entities (entrepreneurs and companies) whose operation was not suspended, but was significantly affected as a result of health precaution orders issued by the Ministry of Health. All other entities in the tourism industry were put under the heading of subsidies for affected activities concerning subsidies for employee wages in the months of April and May 2020.
According to the Ministry of Finance forecasts, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the tourism revenues are estimated at approx. EUR650 mil in 2020, which is around EUR450 mil less than the year before, or a decline of 40% at the annual level.