The geopolitical situation in each country of Europe greatly influences the results of tourism every year. Since the beginning of the terrorist attacks, we have witnessed a sudden change in the turnout of tourists, so some countries like Turkey and the North African countries had a drop in the number of tourists by 40 percent and are still recovering due to the increase in tensions. Yet, for cities like Paris and London we have witnessed only short-term decline and rapid return to positive figures.
From the aspect of investment, London, along with the terrorist attack and Brexit, is still considered to be the most interesting destination for investing in tourism by investors. Even all the projections of consultancy houses were suggesting an uncomfortable economic period never came true. Even so, London seems to be more attractive than ever. In Europe (and in the world), there are fewer individual investors, and they are more and more institutional, and it is estimated that investment in hotel investment will remain at last year’s level.
Global trends, of course, also affect the Western Balkans, so Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, in the past two years, are increasingly attracted by international investors (still largely from Eastern European countries and countries of the Middle East) as well as by institutional investors. Belgrade has been developing very fast in the last two years, and hotels (mostly run by international hotel chains) open almost every month on average. Also, in the first half of 2017, the number of guests in Belgrade grew by 19% (the largest number of overnight stays being made by Turkish and Israeli tourists), which is certainly connected with the accomplishment of excellent air links with several important destinations. And Ljubljana feels significant growth but it seems to be somewhat weaker than Belgrade.
During the first months of 2017, Ljubljana increased by 12% in the segment of overnight stays. A new airport has opened in Zagreb, enabling faster development, but there is still a lack of large hotel development that seems necessary. Sarajevo, where global hotel brands also find a place for their growth, has a huge growth in the number of tourists, especially the Muslim population. And Bosnia, with quality strategic planning, could become a particularly interesting cultural destination of Eastern Europe. Albania, which has the highest attendance during the summer months, just like Croatia, counts more than 100% increase in arrivals in the first six months of 2017. Depending on the political situation, it is likely that Albania will have a remarkable growth over the next few years. On the other hand, Croatia has grown by 22% more in the first six months, which is more than average in comparison to other Mediterranean countries (averaging 10%).
But there are two important questions here:
1.Are we managing growth or does it “happen” to us
2.Are we competitive (which brings us back to the first question)
The first question is certainly the most important: is the development governed or the greatest increase in made due to the geopolitical situation. And if the second is the answer, is the region aware of the advantages and risks of it.
Being aware of the advantages we are facing at the moment yet also the challenges we might face in soon future, our program talks about the most important issues like: