The Destination Assessment – announced last week during CLIA’s Port and Destination Dialogue in Hamburg, ahead of Seatrade Europe – will be conducted by the GSTC and co-funded jointly by CLIA, and the municipality and port. The assessment process, which includes local stakeholder consultation, will help the city to identify priorities with respect to destination management, as well as any potential gaps and key risks.
The study will start in the coming weeks and is expected to conclude in early 2024, in time for the summer season. It will encompass all forms of tourism with the aim of setting the foundation for a sustainability action plan.
The announcement comes on the back of a successful season for cruise tourism in Kotor, a MedCruise member port.
‘A force for good’
Marie-Caroline Laurent, CLIA’s director general in Europe, said, ‘We are pleased to partner with the city of Kotor for this new study as part of our commitment to responsible tourism. Cruise tourism can be a force for good and brings significant social and economic benefits to communities. It is important that we work together and for destinations to manage tourism responsibly so that they remain great places to live and to visit.’
Raising the quality of services
Ljiljana Popović Moškov, president of the board of directors of the Luka Kotor company, said that the Port of Kotor, ‘as a socially responsible company, is extremely interested in being a partner in this very important project and creating a strategy for the sustainability of Kotor as a tourist destination.’
Moškov continued, ‘Our company wants to raise its services to the highest level of quality that it provides to shipping companies or cruise companies, and this project will help us greatly to do so.’
Moškov went on to express gratitude to CLIA ‘for recognizing the importance of our destination and including us in what is an extremely important project.’ The BoD president noted, ‘We expect that this project will be challenging in its creation, but also in its realization, considering that Kotor is a city located in the most beautiful fjord in this part of Europe, has only 22,000 inhabitants, and with close to 500 cruise ship calls annually, brings over half a million passengers to our city.
‘But no matter the challenges, the most important thing is that with this partnership with CLIA and the GSTC, we want the same thing: to make Kotor a sustainable tourist destination in the long term. And I am convinced that we will succeed in that.’
Mayor of Kotor Vladimir Jokić said that the agreement will contribute ‘on one side to the raising of the level of services offered by the town of Kotor and the port’ and on the other, ‘even more importantly, to enhancing the preservation and management of the UNESCO heritage site,’ as well as Kotor town and the surrounding areas. ‘By acting together, we are going to maintain the balance, preserve global cultural heritage – but also be unselfish and make it possible for the multitude of visitors to become acquainted with the natural, cultural and historical wealth of Kotor and Boka Kotorska Bay,’ Jokić added. ‘I believe that by exchanging good practices and by high quality management efforts we will be able to achieve the desired results to our mutual satisfaction.’
A significant project
Ioannis Pappas, GSTC’s director for the Mediterranean region, described the project as significant and underscoring a profound commitment to advancing sustainable tourism practices. ‘This strategic alignment resonates with the core principles of the GSTC and echoes the essence of the symbiotic relationship between industry stakeholders, local governance, and cruise infrastructure — a successful model of a holistic approach to destination sustainability,’ he said.
Pappas stated that following the decision by Montenegro’s Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism to become a member of the GSTC, ‘the assessment of Kotor not only reinforces the vision set forth by the Montenegro tourism development strategy 2022-2025, but also elevates the status of Kotor as a responsible tourism destination.’
Added the director, ‘It serves as a beacon of inspiration for the global tourism industry as a whole.’