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Cable Car from Kotor to Lovćen, First Hotel at Ski Resort, and Hyatt Enters the Market – Retrospective of 2023, Tourism Investments

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Montenegro broke records last year in terms of tourist arrivals and overnight stays. According to data from Monstat, nearly 1.5 million tourists stayed in collective accommodation, generating around 5.1 million overnight stays.

These results show a growth of 23% compared to the previous year, while the number of tourist arrivals compared to the record year of 2019 increased by 11%. Regarding overnight stays, there was a growth of 18.75% compared to 2022, and a growth of 9.5% compared to 2019.

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In terms of investments, more than 2.3 billion euros were invested in priority tourism projects on the coast alone, according to data from the government published in October.

The most significant investments were made in Tivat – over 1.3 billion euros, followed by Herceg Novi, where the value of investments amounts to 904.7 million. Investors have invested over 26 million euros in projects in Ulcinj, while investments worth 11.7 million euros are being realized in Budva.

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When it comes to the north and the tourist valorization of sites in the area of Bjelasica and Komovi, a lease agreement for the location of the mountain center Kolašin 1600 has come into force, where the construction of a hotel-tourist complex with a total value of 77 million euros is planned.

Investments in tourism were also contributed by the economic citizenship program, through which the construction of nine hotels in Kolašin was initiated, two each in Tivat and Budva, and one each in Čanj, Bar, and Žabljak. The total value of these projects is 444.32 million euros.

The program has been discontinued, but there were investments and announcements of hotel construction during the past year. This is evidenced by the list of tourism projects that attracted the most attention from eKapija readers, starting with a unique investment that undoubtedly enriched Montenegro’s tourist offer.

The Kotor-Lovćen Cable Car

The idea of ​​building a cable car that will connect Kotor and Lovćen has been around for a long time. The realization of the project has been announced several times, but it was finally completed last year.

Construction began in July 2022, and the cable car was officially opened just over a year later. The investment was realized by the companies Leitner and Novi Volvox. The cable car route starts from Dub, located in the municipality of Kotor, and leads to the Kuk site on Mount Lovćen, at an altitude of 1,348 meters. The cable car has 48 gondolas, which can transport up to 1,200 passengers per hour, and the travel time in both directions is 22 minutes.

The project will, by all indications, receive an extension, as the Senate of the Royal Capital Cetinje gave full support for the construction of a cable car from Lovćen to Cetinje earlier this year. As stated, the construction would include a second intermediate station at Ivanova korita and the final station in Cetinje, with a total length of about 10,780 meters. The Ivanova korita intermediate station is located in the center of the Lovćen National Park at an altitude of 1,265 meters, and the initial station in Cetinje is planned to be located near the Summer Stage.

Tourist Complex Otrant Reefs Ulcinj

The realization of this project was first announced in May last year by the then Prime Minister Dritan Abazović, stating that the investment had received approval from the chief state architect and that construction would begin after the season.

The future five-star hotel complex Otrant Reefs on Velika Beach in Ulcinj will cover over 40,000 m2. It will consist of the existing Otrant hotel, villas – annexes, as well as a new building – a hotel with three towers.

The total number of beds in the tourist resort is 518, with 238 in the new hotel and 280 in the Otrant hotel and villas. The investment is being realized by the company Argos.

Swissôtel Resort Kolašin – Kolašin Valleys

Montenegro received its first hotel on the ski slopes at the beginning of 2024 – Swissôtel Resort Kolašin was opened within the Kolašin Valleys mountain resort.

The opening of the hotel was announced in January last year, and as stated then, the hotel will operate under the Swissôtel brand, which is part of the Accor hotel group.

This hotel is part of an ambitious development plan for the Bjelasica area, which is being implemented within the year-round Kolašin Valleys mountain resort, the first hotel-residential complex on ski slopes in Montenegro. As announced during the project presentation in August, the opening of four hotel buildings with 317 units is planned by the end of 2024, with an additional six buildings in the next three years, providing hotels with over 700 accommodation units. The three-year plan also includes the development of at least 30 exclusive mountain chalets, as well as numerous other facilities and exclusive venues, restaurants, bars, and wellness areas and facilities. Kolašin Valleys encompasses two connected but distinct ski villages: 1450 Nest and K16 Peak. Both are ski-in/ski-out destinations.

The Swissôtel Resort Kolašin itself is located on the slopes of the K16 Peak ski village, offering 116 accommodation units with direct access to the Kolašin 1600 ski slope, ski storage services, two restaurants, a fireplace bar, a cigar bar, and shopping space for global ski brands.

Bigova Bay

The Bigova Bay project is not new; it has been discussed for several years. It is a tourist complex with an estimated value of around 400 million euros, and as announced last year, the focus is on developing the overall infrastructure, along with negotiations with the most prestigious hotel and restaurant operators who will be part of the project.

Representatives of the investors, BBI Development and Bigova Bay companies, met in May with government representatives and briefed them on the project. According to earlier announcements, the plan includes the construction of a resort that will include hotels, villas, and commercial facilities. Planning documents indicate the construction of two hotels, one with 478 beds, while the other is smaller, along with a certain number of villas.

Kondo hotel complex in Žabljak

VHM Development company plans to construct a condo hotel complex in Žabljak. It will consist of two buildings that form a functional and architectural whole.

On the ground floor of building B, there is a restaurant with a restaurant kitchen, as well as a large restaurant terrace on the ground floor.

As for building C, the ground floor is intended for a spa zone, which includes changing rooms, a pool, and a sauna area. Additionally, in front of the building, there is an outdoor pool with accompanying facilities. Accommodation units for hotel guests are located on the floors and in the attic. Building B comprises 35 rooms, 7 apartments, and 2 studio apartments, while building C will have 31 rooms, 4 apartments, and 4 studio apartments.

Glamhill Resort & SPA

Kolašin will be getting another prestigious five-star hotel, Glamhill Resort & SPA, announced by Dritan Abazović last year. The complex will have three levels. On the lower level, a hotel complex with 43 houses is planned. There will also be waterfront villas, each with a projected area of 132.6 m2.

In the central part, paired villas are planned, each with an area of 135 m2, as well as duplex villas with an area of ​​245 m2 each. This part of the complex will also include a hotel building, an ethno bar located next to the pool, and a restaurant with a panoramic view. The resort will also have an Education Center and exhibition space.

Tourist Resort at Maljevik

Another old project that has finally been revived is the construction of a tourist resort at Maljevik.

The Government determined the public interest for the expropriation of private property at a session in May last year, and as it was heard then, this investment was blocked due to 800 square meters of land. A few days later, the Municipality of Bar also provided funds for expropriation.

The dispute between the Municipality of Bar and the investor in the Maljevik case, Sonuba Montenegro company, was finally resolved in January of this year. The expropriation of land has also been completed, creating conditions for the construction of a road with accompanying infrastructure for the needs of this project.

Recall that the Sonuba Montenegro company purchased about 20 hectares of land from the Municipality of Bar in 2007 for the construction of the luxury tourist complex Maljevik, but the investment has not been realized to this day. According to announcements, the plan included the construction of hotel capacities covering an area of ​​80,000 m2, tourist apartments, rental villas, a marina, and accompanying catering facilities that will meet the categorization of four and five stars. The investment is valued at around 500 million euros.

Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort

Last summer, Montenegro welcomed another luxury hotel – the Krolbay company and the Hyatt Hotels Corporation officially opened the Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay Resort.

The hotel features 252 modern and comfortable accommodations, four restaurants offering international cuisine, several bars, and three state-of-the-art conference rooms. The resort is complemented by a natural beach and offers 2 outdoor and one indoor pool.

In addition to all this, the resort includes a fully equipped fitness center, a yoga and Pilates room, as well as a spacious spa and wellness area, providing guests with relaxation and enjoyment in peace with a unique view of the bay and mountain landscape.

Hotel Galeb, Ulcinj

The construction of another luxury hotel in Ulcinj has been announced. It’s the Galeb Hotel, and the investment will be realized by Sunny Palace from Kotor, which acquired attractive land above the Suka peninsula in Ulcinj from the Podgorica-based company Rokšped and took on the obligation to build the new Galeb.

As previously stated by the director of Sunny Palace, Radoica Vuković, although they have taken over the obligation of the previous owner to invest over 15 million euros in the construction of the new hotel, that amount will certainly be exceeded multiple times.

The new Galeb will blend perfectly with the surroundings of the pine forest that surrounds the property. Additionally, it will have a lower number of floors compared to previous projections and a high level of environmental protection.

Magnum Residence, Kolašin

Magnum Residence, a modern luxury hotel located in the center of Kolašin, is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2024. The construction of the hotel is already underway, and according to earlier statements to eKapija by Magnum Development company, the investment in the condo hotel will exceed 13 million euros.

The gross floor area of the hotel will be 11,368 square meters, and it is planned to have 105 units ranging from 24 to 64 square meters. Additionally, it will feature additional amenities to enrich the offering of the property. Within the complex, there will be a spa center, gym, boutiques, a modernly designed pool, and a restaurant with 126 seats. A significant part of Magnum Residence will be the restaurant with an aperitif bar located within the spacious hotel lobby, covering an area of 270 square meters.

Magnum Development company has signed a cooperation agreement with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), so Magnum Residence will operate under the Crowne Plaza brand.

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