“Regardless of the fact that this year’s tourist season will be shorter and the costs for hoteliers have increased, I’m confident there won’t be any increase in the prices of this year’s summer holidays. On the contrary, holidays could cost less in certain instances,” says Mirko Bauk, director of the travel agency Odeon World Travel.
Although not officially, Odeon World Travel has always been in contact with its clients to provide them with the necessary information during the pandemic.
“I would like to underline that beach holidays will take place. We have already picked destinations we will be working with, mainly in Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Cyprus, Malta and countries in the region. We can see that measures relating to border closures and staying at tourist destinations are being relaxed or abolished. I am convinced that, by 1st July, tourists will be able to travel freely to most countries that are popular holiday destinations for Serbian tourists”, Bauk points out.
He also points out that the tourism sector has suffered the most from the pandemic and that all spring trips to European cities, Serbia and the region have been cancelled while the funds already paid have been withheld by the foreign partners of travel agencies.
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“Our real fear was that the summer season, for which a large amount of money has already been paid for, would not start. This would result in the complete collapse of all travel agencies in Serbia and about 6,000 people could lose their jobs. It is very important to understand that hotels, bus companies, national airlines, car rental agencies, tour guides and hospitality industry depend largely on business and cooperation with travel agencies,” Bauk adds.
He notes that none of the employees of his agency has been dismissed so far and that all of them have accepted state assistance stipulating payout of the minimum wage for three months.
“However, that’s not enough, because we are not generating any income and we have a lot of expenses that we have to cover. There are also salary tax and contributions that have not been cancelled but only deferred. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t listen enough to our problems. With the exception of the offered loans offered, we cannot expect any other help,” he warns.
“I do not want to be misunderstood, I agree with helping local hoteliers and we have a large number of hotels in Serbia in our offer, but people also want to have beach holidays. After all, we do not have enough capacity in Serbia to receive everyone who is interested in travelling here. It has been estimated that about one million people go on vacation abroad, with more than half of them usually holiday in Greece. If we don’t count the cities, Serbia doesn’t have sufficient accommodation capacity with the exception of Kopaonik, Zlatibor and some spas,” says Bauk and adds that people who want to should be allowed to go on holiday abroad, as the local capacities will certainly be full.
This post is also available in: Italiano