Marija Labović: Last year was a record year for Serbian tourism

Marija Labović, director of the Tourist Organization of Serbia, at the “Summer 2023” conference, presented data related to the visitation of our country during the previous year, which, by all accounts, was a record.

“In Serbia, we felt and realized the first results of that so-called “revenge” tourism, because, let me remind you, last year we had even 49 percent more foreign overnight stays than we had in the previous year, in 2021. What is even more important is that we surpassed the previous record year, 2019, when we had the last record results, by some twenty percent. When it comes to the arrivals of foreign tourists, we had as many as 86 percent more arrivals than the previous year. So last year ended with some 3,869,000 arrivals and 12,245,000 overnight stays,” she said.

Regarding the forecasts for the current year, Marija Labović has positive hints: “We see that, according to the official results we have for the first two months of this year, the trend has continued and that we have even 42 percent more foreign overnight stays than we had in 2022, which is as I said, a record for our tourism. And what is just as important, it is 49 percent more tourist arrivals than the previous year.”

As far as destinations are concerned, Labović says that the situation has remained “more or less” unchanged.

“Last year, when it came to domestic tourists, Soko Banja was in first place in terms of overnight stays, followed by Vrnjačka Banja, then Zlatibor, Belgrade, Kopaonik, Kuršumlija, Lukovska spa, Čačak, Novi Sad and Tara. When it comes to foreign tourists, Belgrade generates over 60 percent of all overnight stays by foreign tourists, so the capital is in first place with 2,681,000 overnight stays, followed by Novi Sad, Subotica, Zlatibor, Niš, Kopaonik, Vrnjačka Banja, Banja Koviljača, Banja Palić, and Kragujevac,” she added.

Regarding the structure of tourists, the data show that the situation has only partially changed.

“All destinations expect the return of Chinese tourists in larger numbers because they have only recently opened up for travel.” Last year, we were ranked first by tourists from the Russian Federation, followed by Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, China, Romania, and Slovenia. In the previous record year, in 2019, tourists from China were the second most numerous, and we expect to see an increase in foreign tourists this year in that context, given that we have introduced two direct flights between Serbia and China,” she says.

Marija Labović has high expectations for the upcoming season: “We can rightfully expect a good summer season this year and I hope that, if we gather again, we will state that this 2023 is a record year for Serbian tourism.”

The entire conference can be viewed HERE.

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