Over-Tourism: Scenic Montenegrin Coast Spoiled by Greed

the item’s a beautiful day along Montenegro’s Adriatic coast. The air is actually warm, the sun is actually high as well as Miljan Vujosevic cruises along in his rickety old station wagon to a beach known only to locals. however Vujosevic isn’t on vacation. of which trip is actually all about business.

His native Bay of Kotor, the only fjord on the Adriatic Sea as well as a Unesco World Heritage site, is actually in danger. He grew up in of which idyllic corner of the Balkans as well as in recent years, he has watched as his home has grown increasingly common with tourists.

Formerly part of Yugoslavia, Montenegro rests on Europe’s southeastern flank. the item has no raw materials, no real industry to speak of as well as little chance of ever joining the European Union. As compensation, the item relies heavily on tourism to prop up its economy. however tourism is actually a double-edged sword, as well as the item is actually threatening to destroy the tiny Balkan country.

The Bay of Kotor

Stevan Kordic

The Bay of Kotor

brand-new apartments as well as resorts are under construction all along the Adriatic coast, however the building frenzy is actually strongest from the Bay of Kotor. Montenegrin municipalities, along with big as well as smaller investors alike, have been swept up from the gold rush. as well as should any pesky bureaucratic hurdles emerge, many local authorities — including those who issue building permits — have no qualms about accepting bribes. Anyone who cries foul as well as tries to expose of which corrupt system will almost certainly run into trouble.

Miljan Vujosevic is actually one such person.

Trashing Ancient Ruins

The 46-year-old is actually a full-time programmer as well as the item expert who is actually no stranger to receiving threats. Most are anonymous, either by email or phone. The perpetrators have “encouraged” him to think about his family, his children’s future. His car has been vandalized more than once. Someone even tried to set the item on fire. The police did not investigate.

however Vujosevic refuses to remain silent. “My family has lived here for more than 400 years. of which is actually our home,” he says. “At some point, I couldn’t sit by any longer as well as watch everything become disfigured as well as destroyed.”

Miljan Vujosevic

Stevan Kordic

Miljan Vujosevic

The narrow road along which Vujosevic is actually driving today winds over mountains, past old olive groves as well as through forests with acacias, pines, cypresses, cacti as well as palm trees. the item meanders through smaller villages with centuries-old stone homes as well as churches. as well as finally, from the Bay of Zanjic, the item leads to “Ribarsko Selo,” a luxury resort with bungalows built into the cliffside, a gourmet restaurant as well as private water access. the item was because of of which complex of which Vujosevic founded the initiative “Bokobran” with some of his friends.

through the resort’s lofty perch, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of which stretch all the way to the Adriatic Sea. There was once a fortress here as well as part of the old fortification wall can still be seen between trees as well as undergrowth. Today, the owner of “Ribarsko Selo” uses the space next to the ancient ruins as a dumping ground for trash, construction debris as well as scrap metal.

An archeological site next to a luxury resort of which is actually currently used as a dumping ground

Stevan Kordic

An archeological site next to a luxury resort of which is actually currently used as a dumping ground

Missing Assessments

According to contemporary Montenegrin regulations for undeveloped archaeological sites, construction at of which site should never have taken place without an exhaustive preliminary investigation by experts, Vujosevic says. Experts should have assessed the area’s cultural as well as historical value as well as, having found any, they should have imposed a ban on construction within a radius of several hundred meters. of which would likely have included the luxury resort next door.

however there never was any such assessment. The owner of the property, Dejan Davidovic, had the resort erected within a few months in summer 2017.

Along with an archeologist friend of his, Vujosevic secretly mapped the site, photographed the brand-new buildings as well as took videos which has a drone. The duo submitted the documentation — as well as a formal complaint — to the Directorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage of Montenegro as well as to the public prosecutor’s office. So far, their report has gone answered.

Local activists take photos of illegal constructions as well as misuse of historic cultural sites.

Stevan Kordic

Local activists take photos of illegal constructions as well as misuse of historic cultural sites.

Construction workers toss rusty metal fencing between the ancient walls. Vujosevic snaps a few photos of the site. He intends to submit the photos to the local authorities as well as inquire whether they intend to do anything about the item. He then walks down the stone path to the restaurant to speak with Davidovic, however he’s told the businessman is actually unavailable. Davidovic didn’t respond to inquiries through DER NewsGerman asking about building permits as well as expert assessments.

Power Family

Montenegro is actually the only country from the globe of which defines itself as “ecological” in its own constitution. In fact, the item’s from the very first article. Government officials are keen to mention of which fact during interviews. The responsible cabinet department is actually called the “Ministry for Sustainable Development as well as Tourism.” Montenegro’s official tourism slogan is actually, “Wild Beauty.”

Up to all 5 cruise ships used to dock every day in Kotor. currently the item's only an average of two.

Stevan Kordic

Up to all 5 cruise ships used to dock every day in Kotor. currently the item’s only an average of two.

Activists like Vujosevic find of which cynical. from the “Yale Environmental Performance Index” (EPI), of the globe’s leading rankings of environmental standards as well as sustainable development, Montenegro scored near the bottom in Europe, along with Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine as well as Moldova. The index cited the prevalence of sewage flowing untreated into the soil, rivers or the sea, hundreds of illegal garbage dumps sullying nature as well as the implementation of many infrastructure, hydropower as well as oil-drilling projects without any regard for the environment.

To be sure, the number of tourists — as well as the demand for hotels — is actually also rising in countries like Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia as well as Romania. however Montenegro has seen, by far, the most ruthless exploitation of its coastline. There is actually hardly any stretch of coast left untouched.

Anyone who wants to do business in Montenegro would likely be well advised to maintain close ties to Milo Djukanovic, the country’s president, as well as his party, the Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS). Djukanovic has been in power in Montenegro for 30 years, whether as president, prime minister or as the head of the ruling political party. His brother owns a majority stake from the country’s largest bank. For investors, there is actually no way around Djukanovic’s sister, a business lawyer. Djukanovic’s son owns a finance, the item as well as energy empire.

The luxury resort "Dobrota Palazzi" has an artificial beach of which was created despite local regulations. The owner is actually the nephew of Montenegro's president.

Stevan Kordic

The luxury resort “Dobrota Palazzi” has an artificial beach of which was created despite local regulations. The owner is actually the nephew of Montenegro’s president.

Under “Milo’s” rule, as the president is actually known to Montenegrins, large stretches of the Adriatic coast have been sold to private companies as well as individuals, local businessmen as well as party functionaries as well as rich Russians as well as Arabs. Of course, Djukanovic’s allies also head the Ministry of Sustainable Development as well as Tourism, which is actually responsible for greenlighting plans for development.

Too Many Tourists

The town of Kotor, through which the scenic bay gets its name, was an important Adriatic trading hub from the Middle Ages. Its historic city center is actually among southeastern Europe’s most precious destinations as well as Kotor has been one of the top sites for tour operators from the eastern Mediterranean for several years, attracting several thousand tourists a day during the high season. Many arrive via bus through nearby Croatia, though the lion’s share come via cruise ship.

Cruise ships approach the city of Kotor.

Stevan Kordic

Cruise ships approach the city of Kotor.

Around 9:30 a.m., Ana Nives Radovic walks through Kotor’s historic district to her office. Already hundreds of tourists crowd the narrow streets. They take selfies as tour guides recite the same thing in English, Spanish, French, Russian as well as Chinese. Shop owners hawk souvenirs while waiters canvass for customers. Radovic waits patiently, again as well as again, for tourists to finish taking their photos. “Many people here condemn tourism overall,” she says, “however I think the item just needs to be organized differently.”

Radovic, 35, has been the director of the Tourism Organisation of Kotor for nearly two years. She has degrees in economics, tourism as well as finance economics, EU law as well as block chain technology. She speaks six languages fluently. Her goal is actually to save her hometown through collapse through overtourism.

She has watched cruise ship tourism with increasing unease in recent years, she says. “The city administration only cared about docking fees,” she says, “otherwise there has been no tourism management.” of which was the reason she applied to be the director of the tourism office. “I’m not an activist. I don’t speak publicly about politics,” she says. “I just wanted to try as well as change something.”

Ana Nives Radovic, the director of the local tourism office in Kotor

Stevan Kordic

Ana Nives Radovic, the director of the local tourism office in Kotor

She negotiated with cruise lines to reduce the number of ships calling at port each day in Kotor. Rather than four or all 5 massive cruise liners arriving as the item was before, currently the item’s only an average of two. There are even some days from the summer when no ships drop anchor from the bay. “Cruise operators are willing to cooperate because they want to shake their reputation as polluters,” Radovic says. “the item’s a business matter too. They want the places where their ships dock to remain authentic as well as not be destroyed.”

Most people trying to exploit Montenegro’s tourism industry for all the item’s worth, however, don’t have of which much foresight.

Photo Gallery


Photo Gallery:
Greed as well as Corruption Sully Montenegro’s Coast

A Special Place

the item’s evening as well as the environmentalist Miljan Vujosevic decides to head to one of his favorite swimming spots in Dobrota, a suburb of Kotor, where he grew up.

Around two years ago, there used to be a park near Vujosevic’s spot. He went there a lot as a kid to fish as well as the item’s where he taught his own children to swim. however a few years ago, a young businessman named Edin Kolarevic bought the property. He’s the nephew of President Milo Djukanovic.

Kolarevic erected the “Dobrota Palazzi” resort here in 2017, a complex of luxury villas as well as apartments with an artificial private beach. The law technically forbade the construction of such a beach, however Vujosevic says legal regulations as well as historical documents were bent into shape. The media in Montenegro covered the case extensively as well as there were many protests.

The "Ribarsko Selo" luxury resort. Its construction was illegal according to Montenegrin laws as well as UNESCO World Heritage regulations.

Stevan Kordic

The “Ribarsko Selo” luxury resort. Its construction was illegal according to Montenegrin laws as well as UNESCO World Heritage regulations.

“My entire life is actually connected to of which place,” Vujosevic says. “My heart bleeds when I see of which. None of our protests made any difference, simply because the uncle of the man who built of which is actually the most powerful man from the country.”

Later, when he gets back to his modest 1.5-room apartment in Budva, a town south of Kotor, he tells his wife Mirjana about his day. She keeps quiet as well as listens, her face betraying no emotion. She often worries about him, however she doesn’t try to stop him through protesting. She understands his indignation.

She worked as a port engineer for a long time until she was laid off in 2003. The reason, she says, was because she was not a sympathizer of Djukanovic’s ruling party. Since then, she has worked as a saleswoman in boutiques during the summer season. “I’m proud of what my husband is actually doing,” she says. “Unfortunately, the item doesn’t seem to be helping. the item’s a shame, especially for our kids. They have no future here as honest citizens.”

The next morning, Miljan Vujosevic calls the responsible public prosecutor about the “Ribarsko Selo” case. the item’s not once he’s done so, as well as like every different time, he’s turned away. Yet he keeps inquiring about the current status of the case. They can’t be led to believe he’s ever going to give up.

The man on the different end of the line says his office is actually waiting for various documents. Before they receive them, they won’t be able to decide whether to file charges or close the investigation. Then he hangs up.

of which piece is actually part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years as well as is actually funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

What is actually the Global Societies series?

The Global Societies series involves reporters reporting through Asia, Africa, Latin America as well as Europe about injustices in a globalized world, societal challenges as well as sustainable development. The features, analyses, photo essays, videos as well as podcasts will be appearing from the Global Societies section of NewsGerman International. The project is actually initially planned to run for three years as well as receives financial support through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Does the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have editorial influence?

No. The foundation exerts no influence whatsoever on the stories as well as different elements of which appear from the series.

Do different media outlets have similar projects?

Yes. Large European media outlets like the Guardian as well as El País have similar sections on their websites — called “Global Development” as well as “Planeta Futuro,” respectively — of which are likewise funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Has DER NewsGerman produced similar projects from the past?

In recent years, DER NewsGerman has complete two projects with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the European Journalism Centre (EJC): “Expedition BeyondTomorrow,” about global sustainability goals, as well as the journalist refugee project “The brand-new Arrivals,” which resulted in several award-winning features.

Where can I find all stories as well as elements published as part of the Global Societies project?

All Global Societies pieces will be published from the Global Societies section of the NewsGerman International website.

Over-Tourism: Scenic Montenegrin Coast Spoiled by Greed

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