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Mountaineering and tourism

"Activity holidays" have for some time been a very popular part of the tourist industry in Montenegro. Mountaineering and everything that goes with this sport seems to be sparking a lot of interest lately.
Image Montenegro has committed itself to eco-tourism and is striving to provide a competitive vacation alternatives for European visitors. Recently fifty Greek mountaineers recently spent ten days visiting the Bay of Kotor, Njegusi and Durmitor, as a prelude to the conference "Mountaineering and Tourism" organized at the initiative of the"Subra" Mountaineering Society. "The intention of this conference was to enhance interests of foreign tourists by offering rare and unique attractions. Impressions of the Greek mountaineers who visited recently were quite positive. We will endeavor with the help of tourist ambassadors to make the most out of what we have and to combine business and pleasure. In our opinion, there is a high likelihood that some of our plans will come to life in the near future, but we will atempt to raise the stakes and make this project a matter of national consideration", said Brano Perovic, president of the Montenegrin Mountaineering Association.

He also added that his organization was already working on a mountaineering guide to Montenegro which will soon be published, covering all the main mountains of the country which will be a first class handbook both for local nature-lovers and for all foreign visitors: "Besides this the Montenegrin Mountaineering Association together with the Green movement is getting involved in the concept of sustainable development: 7 days in the Montenegrin mountains, which begins in the Kuci mountains and finishes in Zabljak. One of the countries that is being mentioned a lot at the moment is Costa Rica which has adopted and implemented a sustainable development project relating to tourism which has generated a considerable income", concluded Perovic.

Of course in order to fully implement this initiative it is necessary to involve many other parties apart from mountaineers, first and foremost the tourist industry who would then have more to offer the public. The fact that this idea has fallen on fertile ground is confirmed by the presence of representatives of the tourist industry from Dubrovnik, Kotor and Herceg Novi, and their impressions give rise to optimism right from the start of the implementation of this project: "I am delighted with what I have heard at this meeting and with the specialized knowledge of the participants. This will make up for something that is missing in Montenegro and which is very popular across the world - activity holidays with as varied a program of activities as possible for which we have an exceptional potential. The Tourist Association in Kotor has already made an agreement with the 'Subra' mountaineering Society and extended offered range of activities and although this is a humble beginning we need to aim to produce a combined regional project, because if we work together within the Bay of Kotor, the whole region can compete much more effectively in the tourism market", explained Rade Coso the director of the Kotor Tourist Centre.

Of course such a project would never get off the ground without a someone who belongs both to the tourist industry and mountaineering, Zeljko Franic. Zeljko is the owner of the DAS travel agency from Dubrovnik and has been a mountaineer for fifty years since his father took him to Orjen at the age of 3, and when he fell in love with the mountain and with mountaineering. "I set out to make Orjen part of the future of tourism. We have already made a start, albeit sporadically, with jeep safaris, and from the 15th May we will be offering a full range of activities. Each day two groups will leave from Dubrovnik and from the Bay of  Kotor to Vrbanj by minibuses and jeeps, and there will be organized mountain walks and the other activities which go with them. We will provide organically grown food, bought directly from producers in Vrbanj and Krusevice, where you can still find houses where the fireplace is in the middle of the house, which is also an attraction for tourists. My father built the Dubrovnik Mountaineering Cabin in Vrbanj and I really love this mountain and I want to help the people who live there to use what they have in the best possible way. " said Franic.

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