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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Forging stronger ties: Western Balkans and U.S. collaborate on tourism development

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Visitors from the United States travel year-round, presenting an opportunity for the Western Balkan countries. By crafting a collective and enticing tourism package showcasing natural beauty, gastronomy, and tradition, the region can draw a significant number of tourists from this market.

This was underscored at the inaugural event held at the Montenegrin Cinematheque as part of the project “Enhancing Transatlantic Tourism Cooperation between the Western Balkans Chambers of Commerce and the United States.” Organized by the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, the Transatlantic Leadership Network think tank from Washington, and the NGO Choose Tourism from Montenegro, the event signaled the beginning of a collaborative effort.

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Following the opening remarks by the director of the Montenegrin Cinematheque, Goran Bjelanović, project coordinator Željka Radak Kukavičić expressed gratitude to the presidents of the Chambers of Economy of the region and the vice president of the Think Tank organization, Saša Toperič, for their support in integrating this project into the TLN initiative aimed at enhancing transatlantic cooperation in tourism.

Radak Kukavičić stressed the significance of tourism as a connector between continents, noting the challenge of seasonality. She emphasized the importance of offering year-round attractions to encourage visitors to explore outside peak seasons fully. With American travelers journeying throughout the year, there lies a prime opportunity for the Western Balkan tourism industry.

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Through regional collaboration, the plan is to promote the region’s natural beauty, gastronomy, and tradition. The focus is on inclusive growth, providing diverse and compelling tourism experiences for all visitors.

The President of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, Nina Drakić, highlighted tourism’s pivotal role in Montenegro’s economy and the wider region. She emphasized the chance to promote the Western Balkans as an undiscovered gem, offering unique cultural experiences and natural wonders to American tourists.

Drakić emphasized the need to cater to American travelers’ preferences for personalized experiences and hidden gems. Additionally, she stressed the importance of attracting digital nomads, highlighting the region’s potential as a remote work destination.

The U.S. Ambassador, Judy Rising Reinke, expressed appreciation for everyone’s contributions to the initiative, underscoring the importance of fostering cooperation between American think tanks and regional chambers. She emphasized the economic significance of tourism and the commitment to strengthening ties between the United States and the Western Balkans.

The initiative represents a step toward deeper economic cooperation and mutual understanding, with the signing of a memorandum in Washington marking a milestone in the collaboration between the two regions.

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