Uroš Kandić: We are halfway to our goal in wellness tourism!
Progress in the field of tourism in Serbia has seen a new dawn, but according to the words of Uroš Kandić, State Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, we are only halfway there. Regardless of the significant progress achieved in the wellness and spa tourism during the last ten years, there is still room for additional growth and development.
During the opening of the 6th Balkan Spa Summit in Belgrade, Kandić particularly emphasized that Serbia possesses exceptional potential in this area. With 29 spas boasting a two-century-long tradition, a unique opportunity opens up for the advancement and promotion of tourism as a whole, which, as he points out, has a major impact on the domestic economy.
Considering that in the global economy five percent of the world's gross product comes from wellness and spa tourism, Kandić notes that it is necessary to stay in trend with this industry in order to properly identify and meet the needs of modern tourists.
The results of previous work are already visible and can be expressed in numbers. Thanks to the successful cooperation between the state and the private sector, significant progress has been made. The market has recognized the value of this form of tourism and, as a result, there is an increasing number of hotels offering wellness and spa facilities. Every fourth hotel in Serbia now has such services, making these facilities magnets for domestic and, especially, foreign guests.
In addition to Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, the key cities for this type of tourism, spas are also extremely popular, whose popularity not only does not decrease, but records constant growth. The rehabilitation of once-neglected facilities and offering curative facilities, along with a modern approach and quality services, have stimulated renewed interest and increased the number of tourists.
To be even clearer, the most modern wellness resort is currently being built in Vranje Spa, while Kuršumlija Spa is already modernizing its capacities. These investments are a testament to the profitability and benefits of wellness tourism.
We do not record progress only through infrastructure development and capacity modernizations. Statistical data show that the number of overnight stays in spas has increased by a million in the period from 2012 to 2022, reaching a figure of three million overnight stays. This means that spas make up a quarter of the total tourist traffic in the country, measured by overnight stays, which further emphasizes the potential of this segment of tourism.
While Serbia is rapidly paving the way towards achieving its vision, the fact is that the path to the full development of wellness and spa tourism is not short, but it is certainly not unattainable.