Montenegro’s Empty Resorts Await Summer Season With Anxiety

Locals in Montenegro's coastal resort towns fear another bad tourist season lies ahead, as most of the resorts on the Adriatic are still almost empty. The country is recording a high number of COVID-19 cases, restrictive health measures remain in force and curfew is enforced from 10 pm to 5 am. Intercity traffic is also prohibited.

Gazing around the empty, narrow streets of Kotor's usually packed Old Town, Igor Racic said last year was hard for Montenegrin tourism, and few customers are visiting his souvenir shop now, either.

"When cruise ships entered the Boka Bay, the Old Town was full of tourists and business was good. Now there are no cruise ships due to the pandemic, and no schools visit the Old Town, so nobody buys any souvenirs," Racic told BIRN.

For years, the money spent by tourists flocking to Montenegro's sunlit coastline has been a mainstay of the republic's economy, generating about 21 per cent of GDP last year.

Statistical Office data say that during the last year, tourist visits fell by a seismic 83.2 per cent. It said 20 percent of visitors were from Serbia and 17 per cent from Russia, while 8 per cent came from Ukraine.

Trying to rescue the tourism-dependent economy, the Health Ministry has allowed entry without a COVID test to citizens of neighbouring Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo. Citizens of other world countries can also enter Montenegro with a negative test.

Meanwhile, the ministry has allowed cafes and restaurants to reopen, though only outdoors, and two guests can sit at the same table with 1.5 meters distance between tables. But live music, concerts and public gatherings remain prohibited, while shopping malls and fitness centers are also closed.

A pizzeria worker in the...

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