National Tourism Organisation of Serbia holds the first-ever destination workshop in India

National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, in association with Turkish Airlines hosted the first-ever Serbia Travel Workshop in Mumbai, India on November 12 at the ITC Grand Central. The workshop was followed by another one in New Delhi on November 14. Five leading destination management companies accompanied the delegation from Serbia, comprising Marija Labović, CEO, National Tourism Organisation of Serbia; Darja Butigan and Aneta Uskoković, Market Managers, National Tourism Organisation of Serbia. Ibrahim Hakki Guntay, General Manager-Western & Southern India, Turkish Airlines was also present at the event. The workshop was aimed at creating awareness and generating interest in the destination among the Indian travel trade community.

The day began with greetings between the DMC representatives and the travel trade from Mumbai. It was followed by a keynote address and introduction to the beautiful destination of Serbia by Marija Labović, CEO, National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, after which Market Manager Darja Butigan took over for a detailed destination presentation. She explained that since 2017, Serbia has removed visa requirements for Indian citizens, making it a free country to visit. She further added, with its rich culture and history, beautiful architecture, unspoiled natural beauty, Serbia is an all-year-round destination that has everything to entice the travel-hungry Indians looking for exciting new destinations to explore. With five national parks, cruising, skiing and hiking in its repertoire of activities-Serbia also scores big on the adventure and experiential travel quotient. She also revealed that Serbia’s capital city Belgrade is among the top 50 MICE destinations in the world. 

Talking to Travel News Digest, Darja revealed that the ideal length of stay in Serbia would be 3 nights, 4 days for city tours; 4 nights, 5 days for tourist highlights and 7 nights, 8 days for an immersive country tour. 

Serbia has experienced a recent rise in visitations from Indians, with the January to September period registering a 14% rise in Indian tourists. Even as FITs and MICE groups continue to dominate the visitations from India, Serbia is looking at attracting both leisure and bleisure travellers from the country in the coming days. Serbia lacks direct connectivity with India, but major airlines such as Turkish, Flydubai, Etihad and Qatar connect the two destinations via Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha. 

The Serbian tourism sector has seen a lot of activity in recent times, with as many as 180 new hotels coming up in various parts of the country. From boutique stays to luxury hotels, there is something for everyone in the country. 

In an exclusive interview with Travel News Digest, the CEO had a very important message for the Indian travel trade fraternity. Marija Labović said, “Come to Serbia, visit Serbia and to enjoy the wide variety of tourism products we have. I’m inviting you to come and visit our cities, enjoy the culture and historical heritage, the variety of seasons and experience the warm hospitality of our people. Once you visit the country, become an ambassador of Serbia to other Indians.”

She also added, “The response at the show makes us very optimistic. A large number of Indian travel trade community came to the event. Our tourism industry is ready. Our destination is ready for India.” 

With an impressive turnout and busy B2B meetings, the first-ever Serbian travel workshop was a great success.