The Stakeholders Workshop “Entrepreneurship for Smart and Sustainable Tourism in Montenegro - From Policy to Practice” organised by the Ministry of Economy of Montenegro in the framework of the NEST project, was held on December 18h, 2020, from 09.00 – 12.30.
The workshop, involving SMTEs and businesses along with sustainable tourism initiatives, was aimed at downscaling and streamlining policies to practices – business and organisation, which activities affect or contribute to sustainability of tourism sector in the Country. Gathered participants were informed of the existing financial mechanism in Montenegro for tourism industry, serving not only as informative but rather as awareness tool for entrepreneurs and organisations to benefit of the financial resources that could support their operations, especially in the current challenging times resulting from COVID-19 pandemics. The business and initiatives that presented their sustainability activities form an informal network of sustainability tourism actors that could support each other future actions and new initiatives emerging from cooperation, adding value to the webinar aims.
The main conclusions of the webinar suggest that Montenegro needs to turn the trend of “overtourism” into diversified visitor experience packages and build on its abundant natural capital, which will allow less-visited areas to be more explored and developed sustainably. Rural tourism has been distinguished as the tool that could be an “agent” of the future sustainable tourism development of the Country.
Diversification of the products and attracting different tourists, while decreasing tourism seasonality need time, patience, perseverance and political will on one side and sustainable and smart destination development and management on the other.
In the era of tourism and the digital transformation the potential of digitization in destination management and marketing need to be realised, due to the fact that technology has the power to transform the industry and support actors to address key challenges.
The sustainable tourism sector in Montenegro needs to significantly engage local communities, enforce greater gender equality, diversity, inclusiveness, and develop governance best practices, with women to be more represented in senior management positions and with favourable conditions and financial mechanisms for stimulating entrepreneurship.