A newcomer on the tourism scene, the eastern Mediterranean destination emerged after years of isolation, but with a powerful potential. Its punch-line “Wild Beauty” accentuates the pursuit of nature-based tourism, still largely untouched by mass tourism.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Montenegro is currently the second-fastest growing tourism market in the world which reaps the obvious financial rewards. However this same growth is a double-edged sword, threatening its most valuable qualities: uniquely untouched and diverse environment. In the 1992 Constitution, the government agreed to commit itself to the protection of land and natural habitats, with complete regard to sustainable development for the prosperity of current and future generations, giving it a designation of an ecological state.
An often elusive concept throughout the following decade of hardships, environmental responsibility only resurfaced recently and the country is now pushing for a strong responsible tourism agenda. Restoring its tourist offer following years of neighbouring wars, economic sanctions and isolation from the world scene was no easy task. It faces the ramifications of years of uncontrolled development and inadequate construction, affecting areas that are extremely environmentally valuable, especially along the Adriatic coast and the Dinaric mountainous region.
Future development activities are agreed to be planned and implemented with complete obligation to respect the principles of ecological and sustainable standards and their impact on the environment. Its slogan ‘Wild Beauty’ serves to promote a pristine yet adventurous package that advocates nature-based tourism and the implementation of eco-friendly practices. The country seems determined to achieve its goal, realizing that an intact natural landscape is extremely valuable to its precious territory, not only for sustainable economic and tourism prosperity, but primarily a preservation of its appeal as a place for its citizens to call home.
© Deja Dragovic, Editor [published in National Geographic Go Green, April 2009]