Government favours three companies in allocating state subsidies for hotels

Three companies frequently favoured by the Serbian government have received the highest state subsidies for the construction of new hotels to meet growing tourism demand, reported the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

Responding to growing tourist demand, Serbia’s government has taken to subsidizing the construction of new hotels, but a BIRN analysis of the results suggests most of the money has gone to companies frequently favoured by the country’s ruling parties.

One project has been repeatedly delayed, another has cut staff numbers and generally speaking, experts have questioned the allocation of state funds to luxury hotel ventures, reported BIRN.

Serbia’s tourism sector is growing – the first 10 months of 2023 saw 15 per cent more arrivals than during the same period of 2019, pre-COVID, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, resulting in revenues of some 2.1 billion euros.

Russians account for 12.5 per cent of all overnight stays, followed by Turkish citizens (10 per cent), and visitors from neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina (6.6 per cent). More than half of foreign tourists spend at least one night in the capital, Belgrade, while local tourists choose spa towns or mountain resorts.

Between October 2018 and December 2023, in trying to keep up with demand, the Serbian government signed 15 contracts to subsidize the construction of hotels. The total value of the projects is 271.8 million euros, of which the state provides 48 million, but more than half that sum – 26.5 million euros – will go to three companies already involved in a number of state ventures.

Millennium Resorts, a subsidiary of Millenium Team, stands to receive a subsidy of 10.1 million euros for the construction of a wellness resort featuring two hotels and a treatment clinic in the Serbian spa town of Vranjska Banja, Promont Group will get 7.4 million for a luxury resort on Fruška Gora and Inobačka almost 9 million euros via its subsidiary for a new hotel in Serbia’s second biggest city of Novi Sad.

(, 19.03.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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