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Durmitor National Park. Photo: flickr/Kiwiapteriformes
Durmitor National Park. Photo: flickr/Kiwiapteriformes

What one can see clearly all along the coast is the extent to which Montenegrin economic growth – and, in turn, investments in services and construction – is being propelled by tourism.

Montenegro is certainly a fashionable destination. In 2006 it was the set for James Bond's Casino Royale; in 2007 the Rolling Stones played on the beach at Budva; and in 2008 Madonna was due to perform.

Tourism generated 480 million euros of revenue in 2007, up 39% on the year before. Over 1 million tourists chose Montenegro as their holiday destination. Most come from Serbia, Russia and Italy; there are also 17,500 visitors from Germany, over 16,000 from Austria, and 4,500 from Switzerland. The number of tourists is expected to rise every year as facilities improve – and is projected to triple by 2016.

Infrastructure problems need to be addressed, however. As Richard Cowper wrote in the Montenegro Times:

Poor infrastructure is having an adverse impact. Apart from the water shortages, towns and villages along the coast have yet to build a single sewage disposal plant. Driving along the dramatically beautiful, but jam-packed coastal road, was for many a truly disheartening experience in 2007. Darko Konjević, executive director of the Montenegro Business Alliance, echoes these views: "Montenegro is in a transition process from mass tourism. But it will take time. We are hoping the process of pushing these infrastructure projects through will speed up, as the Prime Minister promised at his inauguration last week. We have a big 10% budget surplus of 96 million Euros. We can borrow more too. This is really crucial. I mean it can be a nightmare in a town like Budva at the height of the summer season. Last year some 80,000 to 100,000 guests were staying there without water for 14 hours a day".

April 2008

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27 April 2008, 00:00