SW Associates, LLC: Sustainable Development through Tourism

USAID Serbia MEGA Program Tourism Success Story

USAID Serbia - MEGA Program

Knowledge is Power in Attracting Tourists

 The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that  overall revenues attributable to tourism brought 232 billion RSD into Serbia and provided 128,000 jobs in 2009, representing 7.4% of GDP and 6.7% of all jobs. By 2020, the WTTC estimates the total impact of tourism could triple to 631 billion RSD and create over 30,000 additional jobs. In order to realize this potential, the government (both national and local) and the tourism industry need to be proactive in their planning, development and marketing.

“It is difficult, if not almost impossible to develop and market tourism in the most cost-effective way without research, especially visitor surveys,” according to USAID’s tourism consultant Scott Wayne who held strategic planning sessions for USAID partner municipalities earlier this year (2010). The USAID Municipal Economic Growth Activity, in coordination with the National Tourism Organization, launched online surveys in pilot municipalities (Zajecar, Pecinci, Novi Sad and Sombor) and held workshops on market research and surveys in order to better target and plan tourism development. Over the past two months, USAID and the National Tourism Organization also conducted a national survey of municipal tourism offices to assess their needs and capacity.

The best way to know what visitors want is to ask them

USAID and the National Tourism Office (NTO) launched national and international visitor surveys through the NTO and selected municipalities across the country in order to increase the capacity for tourism market research in Serbia. Results will be published by early September, when marketing plans for 2011 need to start taking shape. NTO planned to expand this initiative with other local tourism offices in Serbia – 110 of them, to be precise. With better knowledge of where guests are from and what kinds of tourism offerings they are looking for, municipalities can better meet the expectations of existing tourists and better attract future visitors.USAID has supported tourism development in Novi Sad, Sombor, Pecinci and Zajecar through 280,000 dollars in grants. USAID supported Novi Sad’s “Revival of Danube Banks” project, including construction of a Tourist Information Center on the Danube bank and tourism signage in the city; Sombor’s “Ethno Houses Reconstruction, Old Crafts and Organic Food Production” projeccts; and in Pecinci the “Revival of Obedska Bara”, including construction of a visitors’ tower in Obedska Bara.

while others are looking for history!
In 2008, the Government’s Statistical Yearbook reported that 34 per cent of all domestic and foreign tourist arrivals were concentrated in just Belgrade and Novi Sad. For foreign visitors, the concentration was nearly double with 412,000 (64 per cent) arrivals concentrated in these cities.

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