Final Documentation

Sustainable Tourism Development in rural areas, USAID Montenegro, 2008

    Authored by:CHF International in collaboration with Weidemann Associates, Inc

    This technical brief draws on and summarizes the experience of CHF International in founding the Centre for Sustainable Tourism Initiatives (CSTI), a local non-governmental organization leading the development of the tourism sector in northern Montenegro, and its for-profit partner tourism agency, Montenegro Adventures (MA). CSTI and MA were initiated in April of 2006 as an extension of the Tourism Marketing Unit within the USAID funded Community Revitalization through Democratic Action - Economy (CRDA-E) program in northern Montenegro. The goal of the CRDA-E program was to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the economically disadvantaged region through targeted assistance to small businesses and institutions serving the private sector.

    The economy of Montenegro has expanded over the past decade with GDP per capita increasing more than 70% from 2000 to 2005. However rates of employment creation and economic growth in the municipalities of northern Montenegro were much lower than those in the south. While just one-third of the population resides in the north, nearly half of those who fall below the poverty line live there. One result of the economic divide is considerable north-south migration, resulting in a net population decrease of 8% in the north over the last ten years. With recently privatized state-owned industrial enterprises in the north either not operational or operating well below previous levels, the main economic sectors are tourism, agriculture and forestry. Although tourism offers the most immediate prospects for significant job creation, the region unsurprisingly lags behind the Adriatic Coast in tourism growth. Increasing international recognition combined with the prioritization of tourism development in the north by the national government is beginning to curb this trend.