More than 1.000 rural households engaged in tourism

State Secretary for tourism Miroslav Knežević has said that in Serbia there more than one thousand households engaged in tourism, adding that this type of tourism makes less than 10 per cent of the total touristic turnover in our country.

According to his words, the interest for having holiday in rural households is increasing over years, so this year it actually had double more foreign visitors than in 2016. Apart from the guests from the region, we usually have guests from Israel, Turkey, and a lot of Chinese tourists lately.

He says that the interest in rural tourism has been increasing in the world in the past 20 years, and that Serbia follows those trends.

“We have a similar situation, since that in the past couple of years the touristic offer, when it comes to the rural households, has significantly improved”, says Mr Knežević to Tanjug.

Answering the question if one thousand households are enough, he says that at this point is realistic and in line with the market tendencies.

He estimates that it is a good thing that the interest of guests for staying at these households is going up.

“The guests and the fact they are satisfied with the services provided might be the best promotion of rural tourism in Serbia”, says State Secretary.

More than 1.000 rural households engaged in tourism

He draws attention to holiday in rural areas, adding that there are more domestic tourists than foreign ones, but that it is changing.

As he says, it is an indicator clearly directing and speaking how we should give it a try at the international market as well.

“Of course, it is not easy, the competition is great, primarily in the countries in the region – Slovenia, Hungary, Romania”, adds Mr Knežević, but as he has stated there is a hope that our rural households with their quality services will catch up with them and attract foreign tourists and adjust their offer to them.

“Through loans approved by the ministry for improving the quality of the touristic offer in 2016, 30 million dinars were allocated for rural households, which are substantial funds”, he says.
Stating the missing infrastructure, and access to rural households, he expects that in the near future this will change.

Answering the question what is necessary to change and what investments would be enough, Mr Knežević says that it is difficult to say at this point.

“It is a matter of placing the issue from the government to the local level, that local self-governments make assessments on what destinations are important when it comes to rural tourism, and then jointly to create a plan and to have a picture of what measures are necessary when it comes to the infrastructure. I think that the awareness has changed and that people living in rural areas have realised that apart from agriculture and cattle breeding, tourism can be an additional source of funds, and that they have focused on that”, says Mr Knežević.

What is important here and what we are going to work on in the future is the education since the guests do not go to a village only to stay there.

“We’ve got two groups of guests, classic tourists and tourists who want an active holiday-recreation, tracking, learning about natural, cultural, historical facts in the imminent surrounding”, says Mr Knežević, explaining that all these should be presented as one touristic product.

“In this way I am sure we could increase the number and of course change the structure of guests”, he concluded, adding that the procedure for registration of households is not complicated.

According to his words, everything has been quite simplified so that those who would like to actively participate can contact the local touristic organisations or self-governments and get the necessary information.