Trainings of Experts of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Held in Serbia
October 4, 2023
Belgrade, 4 October 2023 – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia and the Ministry of Tourism and Youth of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), jointly organised workshops on sustainable tourism. The two-day workshops were held in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Niš, while participants were representatives of the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, tourist organisations, as well as of the private sector.
The aim of the workshops, realised by the GSTC Chief Executive Officer Randy Durband and Dr. Sabine Mueller, the GSTC Expert, was to familiarise the participants with the standards of sustainable, i.e. community-based tourism. The participants became acquainted with what sustainability means for the local community and the ways it contributed to its economic development, improvement of the population’s quality of life, and enhancement of the authentic local experience for tourists, in addition to the preservation of the environment.
Assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Youth Dunja Đenić said that development of the tourism in the Republic of Serbia is based on the principles of sustainability, from the economic, cultural, sociological, social, and environmental points of view.
“Serbia’s membership in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council is both a privilege and obligation for all the actors in Serbian tourism that would, from now on, adjust the development of tourism to the globally accepted criteria. By the end of the year, the national sustainable tourism criteria will be created, in line with the GSTC criteria when it comes to three categories: development of tourist destinations, hotel industry, and travel organisers. The Ministry of Tourism and Youth, through its sectoral policy in tourism, stimulates the development of tourism with subsidies and grants intended for public, private, and civil sectors,” emphasised Đenić.
The workshops included a presentation of good practice examples, and the participants became acquainted with the implementation of the criteria of sustainable tourism development. “We believe that implementation of the aforementioned criteria, in addition to the public sector, would also be widespread in the private sector, which would be immediately reflected in the tourist market,” added Đenić.
The Team Leader for Sustainable Development Goals in UNDP, Jelena Manić Petronikolos, said that UNDP, in partnership with the Serbian Government and the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, created and implemented initiatives for the development of sustainable tourism in Serbia.
“Serbia has a great potential for the development of sustainable tourism, primarily its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, as well as authentic local culture and tradition, all these things being very much in demand by today’s tourists. Sustainable development of tourism is important since in this manner, we support local economic growth, especially the development of small and medium enterprises, as well as the acceleration of circular economy, which contributes to the prevention of migrations, especially in rural environments,” clarified Manić Petronikolos.
In May this year, with UNDP’s support, the Republic of Serbia became a member of the GSTC. Membership in this organisation would enable Serbia to receive support for harmonisation with the global standards of sustainability in tourism, in line with the country’s needs, so as to be promoted globally as a country of sustainable tourism.
The GSTC defined the sustainability criteria based on the goals of the Agenda 2030. These criteria are further adjusted to each country’s current situation, i.e. national criteria for the development of sustainable tourism are created. UNDP supports the Government and Ministry of Tourism and Youth in the process of creating the national criteria for the sustainable development of tourism in three categories: Criteria for the development of tourist destinations, Criteria for the hotel industry, and Criteria for travel organisers.
UNDP also supports the Government and the Ministry of Tourism and Youth in preparing a programme of incentives for the development of sustainable tourism in Serbia. The first pilot project for sustainable tourism in Serbia has been initiated in Sombor (Together for the Development of Sustainable Tourism in Sombor | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)), while the inclusion of additional destinations in similar initiatives is underway.