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SUMMER 2017

Spa & Country Tourism SERBIA


INTERVIEW

MARIJA LABOVIĆ, DIRECTOR OF THE TOURIST ORGANISATION OF SERBIA

We’re Becoming A Serious Tourist Destination More than a billion dollars is earned from tourism annually, while an intensive campaign abroad contributes to guests staying increasing longer, with ever more tourists coming from Russia and more arrivals expected from China, Iran and India

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erbia was not a tourist destination, but fortunately that has changed during the last decade and a half, thanks to the many creative people that have turned Serbia into a good and exciting place for longer or shorter breaks. • Serbia has beautiful and very rich nature, archaeological treasures, monasteries and churches listed by UNESCO, food and drink, hospitable and nice people... What are TOS’s priorities in the further development of the Serbian tourism industry? - To raise the quality of the offer, motivate domestic tourists to spend their holidays in Serbia and cooperate with local tourist organisations and the media. On the international side, the goal is to position Serbia as a tourist destination and attract foreign travel agents and individuals to visit us. Our advantages are in the diversity of our tourist offers, rich cultural and historical heritage, traditions and good geographical position. Here two important international transport routes intersect: the Pan-European Corridor 10 road route and the River Danube - Corridor 7, which is navigable along its entire route through Serbia, while

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air transport connections are also good. Serbia is also located along Pan-European cultural routes – Transromanica Route, The Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route, the Réseau Art Nouveau Network, the Eropean Route of Jewish Heritage, the

Serbia is recognised as a tourist destination, both for short and increasingly longer holidays, and that includes breaks in cities, summer festivals, spas, mountains and rural tourism, but also holidays on rivers and lakes ATRIUM (Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th century in Europe’s Urban Memory) Route, as well as a cycling route Eurovelo 6 and walking routes E4 and E7. • In the past ten years we have attracted more guests from abroad, but they don’t stay for long. How can we retain them for a few more days?

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- Intensive promotion abroad has contributed to Serbia already being recognised as a tourist destination. We participate in numerous exhibitions, while there are also study tours for foreign journalists (150-200 annually) and tour organisers, special presentations, exhibitions and workshops with representatives of the tourism industry. As part of the regional offer, we present ourselves to the international tourist market together with the countries of the region, and as part of the tourist offer of Europe at the booth of the ETC (European Travel Commission). Thanks to these activities, Serbia is included as a tourist destination in more than 300 tours of foreign agencies. The highest numbers of foreign visitors to Serbia are still tourists coming from the countries of the former Yugoslavia, accounting for nearly 800,000 overnight stays of a total of almost 2.74 million in 2016. The number of tourists from Russia is rising again, while China is promising due to the abolition of visas for entering Serbia and the expected establishment of direct regular flights. There is also India as a large and promising market, and we are in the offer one of India’s largest tour operators. The main reasons for coming are short


city breaks, tours linked to visits to cultural and historical monuments, active holidays in nature, primarily skiing, hiking and cycling, in combination with rural and mountain breaks, as well as visits to summer music festivals and other events in Serbia. TOS is going for promotions through intensive TV and digital campaigns on BBC World and Eurosport. This year’s foreign market campaign is being conducted under the slogan “Serbia - The place to be”. We are also beginning a promotion in the countries of the region under the slogan “Days of Serbia - Sounds of Summer”. • It seems that the tourist potential of our rivers is underutilised even in Belgrade and Novi Sad. Why do we “flee” from the rivers and don’t offer attractive projects for holidays on the water? -The Palić, Bor, Silver and Vlasin lakes, then the Bela Crkva lakes, Lake Uvac and other smaller ones are recording steady growth in visitors. Advances are being made in the quality of offers, transport infrastructure and tourist facilities. There are also rivers – the Drina with its regattas and the Ibar, Lim and Nišava for rafting, the Danube with its overall tourist offer, as well as the River Sava... On the rivers we organise cruises, canyoning etc. Distributing vouchers increases the number of domestic tourists who holiday in Serbia, and we are now launching the summer campaign under the slogan “See Serbia”. • Serbian spas are renowned far and wide, but we are not utilising the possible benefits of health tourism that we could. Who needs to develop and invest in spa tourism and will the launched privatisation process yield the expected results? - During 2016, Serbian spas attracted a total of 477,102 tourists, which is up 12 per cent on the previous year. Last year’s most visited spas were Vrnjačka Banja, Sokobanja, Bukovička Banja in Aranđelovac, Banja Palic, Banja Vrdnik etc. We expect growth in the

number of users of spa/wellness products, due to the increasing demand for holistic medical treatments and therapies. The majority of spas have numerous facilities for entertaining tourists, while some specialise in health-medical treatments, like the health resorts of rehabilitation centres. • Kopaonik and Zlatibor are slowly approaching the leading destinations for winter tourism in Southeast Europe. What are your plans for other mountains, especially

Health tourism in spas is increasingly developing, such as with treatment in rehabilitation centres, while many offer spa/ wellness products due to the increasing demand for holistic medical treatments and therapies Stara Planina and Mount Tara? - The TOS promotes mountain centres as tourists destination for both winter and summer. For the summer season they are promoted as holiday destinations in nature, with walking, hiking, mountain biking, various extreme sports etc. The offer is being enriched with the building of adventure parks, the marking of walk-

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ing trails and cycle paths, the adapting of winter infrastructure to summer activities (bicycle racks added to ski lifts) etc. • Rural tourism has great potential, both in attracting tourists and employing rural households. What are the TOS’s plans in this sector? - In Serbia we have over two hundred rural tourist households located in the vicinity of fifty towns and cities, close to national parks, nature parks, rivers, lakes, monasteries, archaeological sites etc. Contact with nature and delicious homemade food, freshly picked fruits and vegetables, will reveal hidden places and wonderful people who will familiarise you with rural customs and traditions. Prevailing in Vojvodina are salaš ranches with voluminous spreads on the tables, where hosts nurture a special love of horses. In the Šumadija and Morava areas you can stay on landscaped estates and “Moravian” houses. In the wine regions rural guest houses and wine cellars are often fused, while the mountain regions offer holidays in log cabins and wooden huts. • How much direct tourism revenue was generated in 2016 and what are your predictions for the current year? - According to the Serbian Statistical Office, in 2016 the Republic of Serbia was visited by a total of 2,753,591 tourists, which is up 13% compared to 2015, of which there were 1,472,165 domestic tourists and 1,281,426 foreigners. A total of 7,533,739 overnight stays were achieved, including 4,794,741 domestic and 2,738,998 foreign. According to the statistics of the National Bank of Serbia, foreign currency income from tourism in 2016 amounted to 1.151 billion dollars. The total contribution of tourism to the GDP of the Republic of Serbia is approximately 6.5%, with tourism directly contributing around 2.8% to the GDP of the Republic of Serbia. ■

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Ms. NATAŠA PAVLOVIĆ, DIRECTOR OF THE TOURIST ORGANIZATION OF VOJVODINA

Rest And Fun From The Plains In Vojvodina you eat and drink well, have great fun, play sports and deal with culture that transcends the borders of the province summer days, and all necessary information is available via www.vojvodina.travel.

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very day there are at least three musical, entertainment, cultural, sporting or gastronomic events being held in Vojvodina. And among the most famous, apart from the EXIT Festival, are certainly the Sterija Theatre Festival, the Film Festival in Palić, Zmaj’s Children’s Games and many others • When you look at the tourist offer of Vojvodina, it seems that there is an attractive event every day and for every taste. Apart from EXIT, what would you recommend for 2017? - Over a thousand events of a different character and scope are held annually in Vojvodina. We have cultural, musical, gastronomic and sporting events for every taste. Apart from EXIT, which is a brand of Vojvodina and Serbia, there are also smaller-scale events. Besides gastronomic events, which focus on making traditional fish soup and fish stew, we will also mention the Zrenjanin Days of Beer. The cultural offer of cities is also enriched by so-called cultural summers, which include a series of cultural and artistic events. There are also the Film Festival in Palić, the Sterija Theatre Festival, Zmaj’s Children’s Games and Cinema City in Novi Sad, Ladies’ days in Novi Bečej, the Sombor Theatre Marathon and many others. Alongside a wide variety of events, the nature of Fruška Gora, Vojvodina’s lakes and rivers, the Petroland aqua park and other bathing areas provide respite during hot

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• You recently returned from the Dubai Tourism Fair. What most attracts tourists from distant destinations to Vojvodina? - The Tourist Organisation of Vojvodina presented itself to the UAE market for the first time in December 2016, as part of the 45th National Day in Dubai, and at the end of April this year it also appeared for the first time at the Arabian Travel Market international travel and tourism fair, which was also held

Arabs are famous for hunting with hawks, so such a specific type of offer is something we could think about more – particularly given that some of our citizens train these birds in the UAE and Halal standards in the hospitality industry are becoming essential in Dubai, and impressions are really positive. Considering the growing business connections between the two countries, but also Serbia’s visa-free regime for citizens of the UAE, there is indeed interest in the tourist offer of Serbia

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and Vojvodina. What proved to be the most in demand are the pristine nature and offers of cultural heritage. Although tourists from the UAE gravitate towards Belgrade, we presented Vojvodina as a destination that is striving from the traditional to the modern, so we offer rural areas, then the beautiful nature of Fruška Gora National Park, preserved nature reserves and, of course, the great wealth of water that we possess. Arabs are famous for hunting with hawks, so such a specific type of offer is something we could think about more. Halal standards in the hospitality industry will become essential if we orient ourselves more towards this market. • Based on experiences to date, what the priorities of Vojvodina’s tourism development strategy? - According to the tourism strategy of the Republic of Serbian, tourism products of particular interest are city break tourism, events, MICE tourism, cultural heritage, rural, wine, transit and other forms of tourism. All of the aforementioned products represent segments of the tourist offer of the province. Four key regions have been identified in Vojvodina, and those are Novi Sad with Fruška Gora and Sremski Karlovci, Subotica with Lake Palić and the River Tisa, Banat - Vršac and the Upper Danube. This year, the Tourism Organisation of Vojvodina joined the Network of European Regions for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism, NECSTouR, which endeavours to manage precisely this kind of destination. ▪


ZORAN LJUBOTINA, DIRECTOR OF THE TOURIST ORGANISATION OF THE CITY OF ZRENJANIN

Summer Packed With Happenings

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Alongside the already famous Days of Beer festival, guests to Zrenjanin can visit the Carska Bara (Imperial Pond) nature reserve and the Rusanda Spa, tour mansions and castles, and have fun around nightclubs

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renjanin, the capital of the Banat plains, is known as a city with an open heart, famous for its hospitality, multicultural lifestyle, culinary specialities and unspoilt nature in reserves and spa facilities. • With the construction of Pupin‘s Bridge across the Danube, Zrenjanin has become even closer to Belgrade, meaning increasingly more people visit you for weekend trips and holidays. What do you offer weekend guests; and what’s on offer for those who would like to stay longer? - With a warm welcome drunk, good wine and cuisine, the City of Zrenjanin presents the heart of its old town, with authentic buildings from the early 19th century, where every building has its own story; the County Court, the buildings of theatres, museums, Bukovčeva Palace, the City Garden (County Park), the Museum beer, the old Brewery within the Dunđerski complex, the Ečka castle mansion... For those who decide to stay longer, there is the kingdom of unspoilt nature of the Carska Bara Nature Reserve, the Rusanda Spa, Melenci, boat rides along the River Begej, a wealth of multicultural and multi-ethnic settlements, with art, culture and folklore, and organised tours. • Nature lovers quite simply “occupy” the Carska Bara Nature Reserve during the summer, while many also head to the Rusanda Spa. What are among all the contents that guests can expect?

- Carska Bara is a nature reserve, an unspoilt oasis and the habitat for hundreds of species of rare birds, and it is a real treat for all nature lovers. It is possible to tour this unique reserve by boat or by walking along the health trails. With lavish dining spreads, accommodation at the Sibila Hotel or within the reserve in the settlements on its periphery (Belo Blato, with its capacity), unforgettable moments are spent. The Rusanda Spa Melenci, a known health resort, offers accommodation in its facilities, which

In Banat and Zrenjanin they are proud to highlight events presenting local settlements through song, dance, acting, painting and other forms of entertainment and cultural events are increasingly focused on relaxation and spa tourism, recreation and rest with expert medical support. • An increasing number of young people from Belgrade and Novi Sad are coming to Zrenjanin for a good time, and there is a real throng of visitors when the Beer Days and other events are held. What programmes with the coming summer bring?

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- With the support of the City, every event has its own authentic form and tradition, based on a multicultural, multi-ethnic environment, unity and the rich diversity that characterises our area. Entertainment and sporting events are unavoidable in this city of sport, so there are constant competitions in the “Crystal Hall”. Summer is characterised by the Korzo Fest – a multimedia music and art programme in the city centre, then there is the Banat Fairytale – summer in the City Garden, with a programme of urban artists, a folklore and music school through outdoor concerts and a children’s programme. Also interesting is the presentation of settlements on weekends through singing, acting, entertainment, folklore, art and the like, as well as the fair of female entrepreneurs. I would also mention the Banat stories ethno fest and Banat valuable hands – the fair of creativity and Banat traditions. Of course, there are also the famous Beer Days, which are held annually in the last week of August and have long since outgrown their local character. The Beer Days are attended during their six days by about half a million visitors and this event has become a kind of trend of the city on the River Begej. Central events take place on two city squares and we try to satisfy the most demanding tastes, to ensure that our guests take away the best impressions. ▪

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BOJANA BOŽANIĆ, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC ENTERPRISE GOLD GONDOLA ZLATIBOR, ČAJETINA

Zlatibor Closer To The Clouds The gondola lift is considered the tourist project of the century on Zlatibor, but disagreements between the competent institutions and the Municipality of Čajetina are hindering construction

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ue to its natural characteristics and constantly improving offer, Zlatibor has become an outstanding sports and recreational tourism centre, both for elite athletes and recreational visitors. The season lasts year-round, and construction of the ‘Gold Gondola’ should ultimately serve to attract a million tourists a year.

• The idea to construct a gondola lift on Zlatibor is not new and you have launched serious preparations. What will such an investment mean for tourists and bring to tourism? - The Zlatibor gondola project has been under preparation for a full decade already. It was necessary to develop the appropriate planning documents and feasibility study, determine the route, prepare the tender etc. The tourist project of the century will impact on the development of tourism, primarily by increasing numbers of visitors to Zlatibor and Western Serbia. Our goal following the implementation of the gondola is for Zlatibor to be visited by a million tourists annually after 10 years, and for us to realise 10 million overnight stays. Numerous studies of the Tourist Organisation of Zlatibor show that the motives for holidaying in Serbia are natural attractions, clean air and climate, medical and health reasons and hospitality, while Zlatibor was singled out

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as an example of a good tourist offer. Just with the announcement of the gondola’s construction we noticed increased interest among investors, mostly related to additional contents and capacities on Zlatibor. That says a lot about the good setting of objectives by the Municipality of Čajetina. • You still haven’t received a construction permit from the competent ministry for the entire project. Why has permit issuance stalled?

The Municipality of Čajetina, along with several other municipalities in the district, has recognised the importance of Ponikve Airport and is ready to invest in the completion of works and maintenance, in order to maximise the export of goods and the “import” of guests - It should be noted that the Municipal Administration of Čajetina, in accordance with planning documents and relevant legal regulations, launched the procedure for issuing permits for the gondola. However, the ministry was made competent for the issuing of permits a year ago, so the procedure had to be conducted again. We have overcome

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major obstacles in document and preparation and reached the problem of resolving property rights relations - with the State! In order to overcome this obstacle, it has been determined that the permit should be issued in phases. Five phases have been defined, including three stations and two parts of the route with pylons. The disputed state property, on an area of 2,213 hectares, was illegally awarded two years ago to a private individual by the Minister of Construction. After the municipal leadership protested, the minister herself acknowledged the error and annulled the decision, only for it now to turn out that this was again contrary to the letter of the law. The case is now facing the Administrative Court, while state institutions like the State Attorney’s Office and the Republic Geodetic Authority will not act and give consent to the transfer of property along the gondola’s route until the dispute has been resolved. The Government confirmed a year ago that the construction of the gondola on Zlatibor is in the public interest. This decision should provide the basis to settle property relations easily and smoothly. And that was indeed the case, albeit with private individuals. On four out of the five phases the land is owned by the State, in which the holder is registered as a privatised agricultural combine, with unclear rights to the same. • The panoramic gondola will undoubtedly be an attraction. Where will it set off from, how far will it reach and where will it go?


- Gold gondola Zlatibor departs from the centre of Zlatibor. The nine kilometres of the most modern elevated route of the gondola will connect tourist settlements with the Tornik ski centre, via Lake Ribnik, next to which will be located an interstation. The gondola has a current capacity of 600 passengers per hour in 55 private cabins, each with 10 seats. Its maximum possible capacity is 90 cabins and 1,000 passengers per hour. A ride in this gondola will offer an impressive 25 minutes of stunning views over the picturesque landscape of Zlatibor. The heart of the gondola will be located at the Lake Ribnik interstation, where it is planned to develop the New Zlatibor project, to cater for high categories of tourism, on more than 200 hectares of land and with a centre for health, sports and recreational tourism, while the gondola’s final station will be at Tornik peak. Compliance with global environmental standards in the construction of the gondola is in line with the Municipality of Čajetina’s drive to become Serbia’s first ecological municipality. Today a real mountain experience is almost unthinkable for all even remotely demanding tourists without a panoramic gondola that journeys under the clouds. • When it comes to mountain tourism, similar projects elsewhere in the world include other contents. Are you planning to include some entertaining contents? - In addition to the aforementioned attractions, there is a plan to expand the adventure park on Tornik, with a zip line, the charting of new hiking trails, cycling routes, the expansion of ski slopes in cooperation with public enterprise Ski Resorts of Serbia, encouraging the construction of wellness centres and interesting hospitality facilities that will satisfy even the most demanding foreign guests. The gondola’s construction should also lead to the developing of the area around Lake

Ribnik, with the creation of bathing areas, beaches, parks, golf, basketball and tennis courts, as well as parts for sport fishing. A precondition for developing Western Serbia to its full capacity is construction of the highway to Požega, then to Zlatibor, as well as making the Ponikve Airport fully operational. • Will the Municipality of Čajetina build the gondola itself, or do you intend for that to be a public-private partnership, or just a private investment? - This investment is worth about 13 million euros. Equipment worth a total of 9.95 million euros has been paid for in full. The largest part of the equipment, except cables and parts of the cabins, have already arrived. All resources

have been allocated from the municipal budget, along with a loan that is regularly serviced from the same source. With the aim of managing the gondola, the Municipality of Čajetina established public enterprise Gold Gondola Zlatibor, to which the installation will be entrusted following its commissioning. Apart from gains from the transport of passengers, significant resources are expected to be generated by ancillary services. • Staff at the competent ministry say that they are willing to grant you permission for phased construction. Why are you seek permission to build the entire route?

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- The Municipality of Čajetina has utilised the possibility of phased construction, so it submits requests for permits accordingly. However, as stated, the biggest obstacles are still in unresolved property relations with, absurdly, the State. We initially considered that working with state institutions would be the easiest, because the gondola is a project of public interest. Currently, the key institutions for us to start construction are the State Attorney’s Office and the Land Registry, the bottleneck for any serious investment, particularly for opposition municipalities. It is unfortunate that the personal interests of political opponents are blocking this investment of importance to the whole of Serbia. That kind of thing doesn’t exist in Europe. The interest of citizens must be primary. We are also led by this at the Municipality of Čajetina. We know that the people are backing us and this obliges us to persevere in our struggle for justice, for the country and for better living conditions. • Tornik is becoming increasingly popular as a ski resort. Are new lifts and slopes being prepared, and how does this centre’s development fit into the construction of the panoramic gondola? - The process of preparing documentation for the construction of the gondola is underway, while the Municipality is also collaborating with Ski Resorts of Serbia. Our joint aim is to improve the ski resort, expand routes and improve the attractiveness of facilities for guests. Just 4km extension of ski trails would double the number of skiers on Tornik, while the construction of the gondola to the peak makes this extension essential. The offer will also be complemented with a cross-country skiing trail, for which Zlatibor was once known throughout Europe. ■

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DR SNEŽANA KOSTIĆ, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE FOR REHABILITATION IN BELGRADE

Top Rehabilitation And Quick Recovery The Selters Spa near Mladenovac is bubbling these days, filled with patients who arrive after the most varied medical interventions but who return home recovered, their confidence restored and their steps more certain, thanks to the team of top experts who lead them through the most modern methods of rehabilitation

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he Institute for Rehabilitation is unique in that it consists of three organisational units in three cities and two countries - two in Serbia and one in Montenegro, one in Belgrade, at Sokobanjska Street 17, the second in Mladenovac, at the famous Selters Spa, and the third in Vrmac, in the most beautiful part of Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor.

• In terms of the results of rehabilitation, the Institute is very highly regarded. What do you need in order to treat more patients at an even better way? - We have 380 beds for the rehabilitation of cardiovascular and respiratory patients, neurological rehabilitation, the rehabilitation of orthopaedic and rheumatology patients, as well as for children’s rehabilitation. Thanks to the close proximity of Belgrade, we are able to fulfil our contract with the Health Fund. We also have 187 beds that are used to treat patients who are not treated through official referrals. We have a license for them from the Ministry of Tourism. And both of these categories are acred for by a highly specialised staff of doctors, nurses and therapists. Thanks to the natural healing factor, human resources and modern diagnostic equipment, at the Selters Spa we achieve the highest standards in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation – for patients who come through medical referrals and those who come by themselves to recover and rest. Under the auspices of or new and modern Wellness Centre, guests can take advantage of an indoor swimming pool, sauna, hot tub baths and underwater massage, healing mud which we produce, as well as all other therapeutic capacities.

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• You are proud of the newly renovated paediatric ward at the Selters Spa. - We have also dealt with child rehabilitation for a long time; we have physiatrist doctors who are subspecialists in paediatric physicality, and additionally trained therapists work with these children in two new and adapted halls for the youngest patients to exercise. Alongside that, we also recently renovated the pediatric ward, where children who cannot come as outpatients can now stay in comfortable rooms where they have everything they need for a new and more certain step. • Can spas develop more on a commercial basis through primary health prevention and health tourism? - Taking care of one’s own health is a global trend, and spa centres are ideal because they possess the necessary staff. We all know that it is much cheaper to invest in the prevention of diseases than treatment later. The fact is that only the use of natural healing factors integrated with a conventional medical approach can yield the desired results in both prevention, which is neglected in our country, as well as in treatment and rehabilitation. This summer our offer will include a large outdoor swimming pool and a children’s pool. Projects have been completed for the arranging of a children’s playground, as well as health trails and sports fields, with which we will complement the variety of content that we offer. We want to develop ourselves further in terms of preventative health. At Selters we have developed less in a commercial way in the previous decade, and we

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want to make up for that - our aim is for patients and guests to be as satisfied as possible with the medical and hospitality services at our facility, and for us to continually invest in knowledge, improving the quality of work and living conditions, as well as continually expanding additional content for us to be the number one choice in the region, and thus attract a larger number of guests, both domestic and foreign. • “Vrmac” Prčanj in the Bay of Kotor is also part of the Institute. Which patients are usually treated there and does the climate impact on the flow and pace of recovery? - “Vrmac” Prčanj is multipurpose health-tourist institution. Here there are specific natural factors and many years of experience in the rehabilitation of mainly respiratory, cardiac and locomotive diseases among children and adults. Prčanj has over 260 sunny days annually. Following the dissolution of the shared state, this organisational unit of our institute was quite neglected, but new management, with a different vision, last year and this year allocated part of funds for the renovation of hotel rooms right on the waterfront, so although this major complex of ours still needs a lot of investment, we have tried to use very affordable prices to attract guests who, alongside good food and a beautiful beach, also have the oversight of medical personnel. ▪ For more information visit www.rehabilitacija Tel. – Selters Reception: +381 11 8241425 Tel. – Admissions: +381 11 8241109 Email: seltersbanja@gmail.com Mob. +381 64 8690381


INSTITUT ZA REHABILITACIJU

Tel. recepcija Selters: +381 11 8241425 Prijem: +3818241109 e-mail: seltersbanja@gmail.com

Mob: +381 64 8690381

www.rehabilitacija.com SERBIA - SUMMER 2017

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BOBAN JANKOVIĆ, PRESIDENT OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF MIONICA

Gem Of Western Serbia Moinica is a town with a long tradition, a rich history and personalities that have marked its development. With the proclaiming of the status of a town in 1895, during the reign of King Aleksandar Obrenović, a new era began for this place, and a new history. Today Mionica is growing and developing rapidly, while the desire of its people and leadership is for the municipality to become modern and strong, an example of good practice for other municipalities, a centre of culture, tourism and sport whose doors will be open to all of its guests, both from the country and from abroad

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The beauty of the Mionica area has been illustrated in many works of art and described in many books, with scenes in many films having been shot in some of its villages, but it still has to be experienced; its traditions, history, folklore and the beauty of its landscapes must be felt. • Mionica has been known since ancient times as a place where the body and soul are treated. To what extent is that natural potential utilized today and what are your plans for the near future? - With untouched nature, beautiful landscapes and magical thermal springs, our town is ranked among the most beautiful places. Tourism represents a very important economic sector of this municipality, based on numerous cultural, historical and natural resources. Tourism is a developmental opportunity for our municipality, and our goal is to attract investors to improve the overall tourist offer and increase accommodation capacities and additional facilities. • The Vrujci Spa is undoubtedly the star of tourism in Western Serbia. How do

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you see the development of this spa is a public-private partnership for a larger investment expected? - Vrujci Spa is the gem of our municipality, the Kolubara District and this part of Serbia, and I’m certain it will become one

With the aim of preserving the memory of their illustrious townsman, in 1997 Mionica residents declared the birthday of Duke Živojin Mišić as the Day of the Municipality of Mionica. This year it is preparing a special review of the life of Lujza Mišić, the wife of Duke Mišić. This cultural and tourist event brings together renowned artists and cultural and scientific workers, with sporting events and children’s shows

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of the most beautiful spas in the country and the region. What is very important is that every investor who comes to Vrujci Spa will have the full support of the local government. We are trying to secure all the necessary conditions in order for potential investors to invest in this location and provide the tourist offer that will set Vrujci Spa apart on the tourist map. It is necessary to utilize the vast potential that this spa has in order to create a modern spa and health resort, sports and recreational tourism centre.


• You have healing waters and mud, healthy air and local food, a spa and other facilities. Can this be utilised for the expansion of medical tourism? - The healing mineral water and mud at Vrujci Spa is the basis for the development of health tourism, with the quality of these healing factors indicated by the results of a large number of studies that have been undertaken by numerous prominent institutions. This spa is unique for its abundance of thermal springs that make it the first in Serbia. This water is used in the therapeutic treatment of numerous diseases, such as hypertension and neurological, dermatological, gynecological and ophthalmic disorders. It is especially suitable for treating states after bone fractures, surgical intervention and sporting injuries. The reserves of healing mud are exceptional, and this mud has very important balnaeological potential, which makes it perfect for use in posttraumatic conditions and rheumatism. Of course, these two therapeutic agents can be used by completely healthy individuals during numerous wellness and spa treatments aimed at preventing diseases and preserving health. • This area is known for historical events and personalities, religious buildings and the remains of medieval castles. What are the most famous sites and can tourists reach them easily? - The personality for which our area is most recognised is certainly Duke Živojin Mišić, and everyone who visits Mionica must visit the house where he was born in Struganik. Also of great importance to our municipality is the Ribnica Natural Monument, which covers an area of about 28 hectares. Within this complex is the Ribnica cave, then the Ribnica river canyon, which has been bridged by a suspension bridge that leads to the cave and the 19th-century monastery. Plans envisage the building of another tourist attraction on the River Ribnica – a lake covering an area of 60 hectares. Apart from enjoying the rich natural environment, traditions, culture and cuisine on offer, Mionica can

also nurture your spirit with visits to many religious buildings. • Sports and recreational tourism and... - With the help of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the completion of works is underway on a sports hall and the project of the National Training Centre for handball. Mionica will soon have a sports hall built according to the latest standards for competitions and preparations in handball and martial arts. In addition to the sports hall, it is planned to construct

For lovers of sports and recreation, there is a large choice. Apart from numerous pools with mineral water, there are many hiking trails, various sporting facilities for almost all sports, excursions to churches and monasteries, archaeological sites, and, not far from the centre of Mionica, is the special “Lepenica” sports centre

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accommodation facilities that will be able to meet the needs of athletes who will come here to train. • ... and events? - The most important event in our community is certainly the Mišićs’ Days, which will be held this year from 15th to 22nd July. With the support of the Ministry of Tourism, we have prepared a rich programme for this important cultural and tourist event. A significant part of the event will be dedicated to Lujza Mišić.

The new large festival that will be held from 8th to 12th June in the village of Paštrić has the intention of conquering the regional trance scene. Forest Fest aims to offer visitors a top visual and audio experience. In addition to world sounds, visitors can enjoy a large number of artistic contents. Vrujci Spa can boast of two events: the “Creative Magic” festival of children’s creativity, intended for schoolchildren to express their creativity in film, art, literature, drama and music competitions; and the event “Vrujci sources”, which is held in late August with the aim of preserving ethnological values, traditions and natural and cultural heritage, as well as advancing rural development and promoting old and artistic crafts. ■

SPA & COUNTRY TOURISM

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SPA & COUNTRY TOURISM

SERBIA - SUMMER 2017


SERBIA - SUMMER 2017

SPA & COUNTRY TOURISM

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Summer 2017