38th International Tourism Fair opens in Belgrade

The year started with breaking records when it comes to Belgrade's Tourism Fair, Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said Thursday.

Source: Tanjug

This concerns "both in the number of participants and the number of countries our guests come from," he explained.

"Tourism received its rightful place in Serbia, thanks to policies pursued by the government. Last year, we were able to talk about tourism not just for the duration of the fair, but also all year round," Ljajic said at the opening of the 38th International Tourism Fair in Belgrade, set to run through February 21.

Ljajic pointed out that Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic was opening the Tourism Fair the second time, "a proof of the event's significance."

Serbia will invest EUR 10 million in the Danube this year to arrange the infrastructure and make the river a part of regional tourism, Vucic announced on Thursday as he addressed the event.

"The priorities for this year will be investments in spa infrastructure, roads and mountain resort infrastructure - in particular on Mt. Stara Planina - and sprucing up the city centers and facades in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Nis to make them the best city break destinations," he said.

"We will invest EUR 10 million in the Danube by the end of this year and in the beginning of the next, in particular in the sections from Apatin to Beska and from Smederevo to Kladovo," Vucic said, thanking Slovenia - a tourism powerhouse and a partner country of the fair - from which he said Serbia has still much to learn.

People from around the world are welcome in Serbia, he said.

Tourism is one of the most significant economic sectors for Belgrade and it registered record revenues last year, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali said, adding that the Serbian capital is among the top ten tourism destinations in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the fair, Mali noted that Belgrade has been named one of the top three conference tourism destinations.

"The goal is to break the records in the number of guests and tourism revenue this year," Mali said, adding that there were 14 percent more tourists last year compared to 2014.

"There are reasons for optimism. There were 76 hotels in Belgrade in November 2014, while there are 89 today," Mali said, adding that one out of ten employees in Serbia works in the tourism sector.

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