By David Robinson

The Montenegrin government has just held its first nautical tourism conference, reflecting the growing significance that this sector has within the country’s economy. The one-day event attracted in excess of 70 delegates and it reviewed future developments and strategy.

The conference was held at the Regent Hotel, opened earlier this year, within Porto Montenegro. Keynote speeches were made by Geoff Phillips, a director of Marina Projects Ltd, and James Lawson, a senior lawyer at Hill Dickinson.

Phillips told SB: “James and myself were the guest speakers and we basically played a double act with a focus on laws on yachts and the need for Montenegro to maintain a yacht-friendly environment to support the ongoing development of nautical tourism.

“My talk,” he added, “provided a general background on the development of nautical tourism across the Mediterranean and then looked at the issues/constraints faced by Montenegro and the opportunities for capturing a greater share of the Mediterranean market. I referred to the past eight years (2006-2014) as the First Chapter of Montenegro Nautical Tourism… a fantastic story so far but as we move into the second chapter it is important that the yacht-friendly environment is maintained and that Montenegro learns from the mistakes made by other Mediterranean countries.”

Opening speeches were given by Branimir Gvozdenović, Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, and Ivan Brajović, Minister of Transport & Maritime Affairs. Ivan Novosel, Mayor of the Municipality of Tivat, also shared in this session.

This was followed by presentations from Olivera Brajović, Director-General, Directorate for Tourism Development & Standards, Ministry of Sustainable Development & Tourism, and Snežana Đurković, Maritime Affairs Advisor, Ministry of Transport & Maritime Affairs, addressing the current situation and marina development strategy at the national level.

A look at future plans and current constraints included papers by Tony Browne, Marina Director, Porto Montenegro; Nikola Banović, Director of Marina Relations and Business Development, Dukley Marina, Budva; Omar Farid, Project & Development Director, Luštica Bay Marina, Tivat; Beckett Tucker, Senior Sales Executive, Porto Novi Marina, Herceg Novi; Marko Radulović, Marina Executive, Port of (Marina) Kotor; and Aleksa Ćorić, Director, Marina Bar.

Gosport, UK-based Marina Projects is actively involved in this market and has participated in the Porto Montenegro project since it started, as well as the Porto Novi development and also contributing to Dukley Marina.