New incentives of the Government of Serbia for the tourism sector

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Subsidies for bringing foreign guests, but also for organized groups of domestic tourists, should help both tourism and agencies.
The new stimulus to the tourism sector brought by the newly adopted Decree on subsidies for the organized bringing of groups of guests from the country and abroad should accelerate the recovery of tourism in Serbia. Although, in the opinion of experts in this field, the decree may be a little late, every penny is more than welcome to tourism after the devastating crisis.
42 thousand euros have been allocated in the budget for subsidies, and the idea is to help the recovery of the sector with direct incentives, which otherwise has a great impact on other economic branches. According to this decree, the right to award subsidies have tourist agencies, organizers of tourist travel, registered in Serbia, which have a license, after the realization of organized bringing of tourist groups of domestic or foreign tourists (at least 15 tourists). According to the first information from travel agencies, this time the procedures for obtaining subsidies for domestic guests have been simplified, while the conditions for foreigners have not changed. The idea on the basis of which funds were allocated for receptive tourism earlier, before the crisis, was to motivate foreign guests to stay longer because they usually stayed in Serbia for two nights, and now the circumstances have changed.
There are still no foreign guests because the protocols in the countries are still inconsistent, so the emphasis is more on organized domestic tourism, ie on organized trips around the country.
“Any help from the state is welcome, and if the procedures are simplified, I believe that these funds will be used, however, we must work on developing organized trips around Serbia. Domestic tourists simply do not use agencies for a full tourist product in which they would have everything provided. They, for example, usually do not think that it is necessary to hire a guide if they travel around Serbia and usually organize themselves. Tourists do not understand what the difference is when the destination is presented to you by someone who specializes in it. There are very few tourists who see something outside the program or organize themselves for a tour. Tourism is an experience industry and that is why there are tourist products all over the world,” says Aleksandar Senicic, director of Utah.
He explains that a small number of agencies organize such trips because mostly people organize themselves and book accommodation through agencies and do not count on being able to get a full product. Even hotels in Serbia often do not recognize agencies as partners, but sell accommodation themselves. He adds that the idea of the state is to make it come to life and to raise the tourist service to a higher level.
When it comes to foreigners, it is still difficult to give estimates for now. This summer, guests from Israel can be expected, who mostly come in pre-organized and arranged tours, and this has been the case for years. For now, there are sporadically guests from Russia and China, but it is only about individual trips or small groups. Foreign tourism as we knew it until the beginning of the crisis is still not in the announcement. One of the objections at the expense of the state is that the protocols for the entry of foreign citizens are still slowly changing in our country. And while we are negotiating with many countries, mostly tourist ones, to facilitate procedures for our citizens, we are not doing that ourselves. Thus, for example, our citizens can enter certain countries with an antigen test, but upon returning to Serbia, they must have a negative PCR test. Tourists who travel by charter to Turkey, which is the most liberal in terms of protocol, do not have to have an entrance test, but they need it to return to Serbia.
The same is true for charters from Greece or Egypt. The question is whether we can expect foreign tourists if the conditions for entering our country are not brought at least to the level of reciprocity, Politika reports.