‘Discover the Soul of Serbia’ – for the development of Serbia’s Rural Tourism Master Plan
lot has been written, a lot analyzed, but a lot more is to be done to develop rural tourism in Serbia and this is why we are working on a programme, which will provide us with concrete action plans and enable us to work towards desired results’, said Dr. Goran Petkovic, State Secretary (Ministry of Economy and Regional Development) during a public discussion of the draft ‘Rural Tourism Master Plan for Serbia’ held in Belgrade on 1st December 2010.
Over 250 people attended the public discussion workshops, which were organized in South Banat on the Danube, East Serbia, Central Serbia and Lower Danube as well as in Belgrade in the period from 29th November to 3rd December 2010. Participants included representatives and members of local governments, local tourism organizations, civil society organizations, national parks representatives, citizens, academia, and media representatives.
Within the UN Joint Programme ‘Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development’, UNWTO experts developed the Rural Tourism Master Plan documents, which include the Strategy and Action Plan, aiming to contribute to the diversification of the rural economy in Serbia. Following this stage, the public discussions were organized to consult the people of Serbia in order to improve these strategic documents, reflect the needs on the ground, aiming to present a holistic and nationally owned
Strategy to the Government of the Republic of Serbia. “We wish to work with people who are working in tourism, we want their voices to be heard and this is why these workshops are highly important”, said Dr. Goran Petkovic in his address and invitation to participants to submit additional comments and suggestions in order to enhance the Strategy.
Some of the key action plans proposed by the Strategy include: addressing the lack of synergy that currently exists between the rural activities and rural accommodation on offer in rural Serbia, creating ‘activities’ centers that can become leisure, entertainment or education centers for visitors and tourists, and implementing a full human capacity development programme. The Rural Tourism Development Strategy also proposes to focus on 12 Rural Tourism Clusters including: Golija, Zlatar Zlatibor, Kopaonik, Central Serbia, Lower Danube, South Banat, Soko Banja, Eastern Serbia, South Eastern Serbia, Fruska Gora, Upper Danube and Northern Serbia.
‘The Strategy proposes that the positioning and differentiation of the Serbian rural tourism focuses on multiple layers of ‘Unique Selling Propositions’ contributing to an integrated position of Rural Tourism in Serbia, namely to ‘Discover the Soul of Serbia’, said Nanita Ferrone, an expert engaged by UNWTO within the UN Joint Programme Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development to develop the Master Plan.
The Strategy is closely aligned with and contributes to the achievement of the national MDG targets including the reduction of the unemployment rate, environmental sustainability and development of dynamic and sustainable GDP growth, aiming to bring back life to the Serbian villages.
About the Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development Joint Programme
UN Joint Programme Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development works towards the diversification of the rural economy through sustainable tourism to improve the quality of life, reduce poverty, and address environmental degradation in rural Serbia. One of the key activities of the programme is the development of the National Rural Tourism Master Plan. Activities of the Programme are implemented in South Banat on the Danube, East Serbia, Central Serbia and Lower Danube.
Five UN agencies, namely UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) in cooperation with a number of Government of the Republic of Serbia national partners, namely the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and the National Tourism Organization of Serbia are implementing the Joint Programme.
The Spanish Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) is providing 4 million USD for the implementation of the Joint Programme.
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