State to invest 500 million dinars in promising tourist regions

Serbian ministers of finance, trade, tourism and services, and capital investment Mladjan Dinkic, Bojan Dimitrijevic and Velimir Ilic and representatives of 31 municipalities in Serbia agreed today on a state investment of 500 million dinars next year in tourist infrastructure of the seven most attractive tourist regions.

Dimitrijevic specified that these funds will be invested in the development of tourism in Lake Palic, Soko Banja spa, and the mountains of Divcibare, Stara Planina, Golija, Vlasina, and Kucajske Planine.

According to Dimitrijevic, funds will be invested in capital infrastructure for development of tourism in these regions in order to generate conditions yielding future private investment from within the country and from abroad.

Dimitrijevic recalled that this year profits from tourism in Serbia have exceeded $300 million, a record amount, while the income from foreign tourists rose by more than 40 percent.

He added that by late January next year the municipalities will submit concrete proposals on which projects need investment.

Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said the regions to which these investments would yield the highest profits in the shortest time have been identified. He added that as a result of the significant increase in revenues from foreign tourists, the state has tripled the 2006 budget for tourism development in relation to the 2005 budget.

According to Dinkic, this new type of project fills the gap where development of certain regional tourism infrastructure is impossible to carry out without the help of the state.

Dinkic stressed that the aim of this project is creating conditions for investing private capital, which, in partnership with state investment, would be used for building hotels, resorts, and restaurants in these seven locations.

The minister pointed out that the differing conditions in each region call for the investment of 500 million dinars, adding that meetings with domestic and foreign investors will begin already in the middle of next year.

Dinkic explained that apart from the state, the Goods Directorate, the Construction Directorate, and the Ministry of Capital Investment all took part in the process of coming up with the budget.

Serbian Minister of Capital Investment Velimir Ilic concluded by saying that additional funds contributing to the development of infrastructure have been set aside, recalling that this year there was around a billion dinar investment into Mount Kopaonik alone, first and foremost into the system of roads.