Montenegro introduces eco-tax for tourist cars


PODGORICA – Montenegro will launch a new green tax this summer for all foreign cars, buses and trucks entering the Adriatic state to try to protect its environment, officials said on Monday.

Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Jelena Paovic said the tax, effective from June 15, will be 10 euros for cars and mini-buses and between 30 and 150 euros for trucks, buses and other larger vehicles depending on their size and power.

Drivers can pay at the border and will get a sticker for their cars as proof of payment, valid for one year.

“We are expecting a slightly better tourism season than last year,” Paovic said, “and no significant impact on tourist arrivals because of this tax.”

Montenegro known for its dramatic landscape of sparkling waters, wild river gorges and ragged mountains, proclaimed itself an ‘ecological state’ in 1992, but has shown little follow-up action.

Visitors and residents alike complain about poor waste services, piles of garbage by the roadside and sewage draining near bathing spots. It faces water shortages in the summer, especially in coastal resorts, and power cuts in the winter.

The country has seen a boom in tourism since it split from its union with Serbia in 2006 but most visitors still come by car from ex-Yugoslav neighbors, mainly Serbia and Macedonia.

Sasa Petrovic, owner of the holiday booking website said the tourists from Serbia were already irritated.

“Although 10 euros is not much it is influencing tourists from Serbia negatively. We can see that from our day-to-day communication with them,” Petrovic said.

Montenegrins already pay an annual eco-tax of five euros for their cars, which will be now raised. The government sees a total revenue of 20 million euros from the taxes and plans to use it to improve environmental protection.

Several other European countries have introduced similar “green taxes”, although most are indirect and target industries that are seen as heavy polluters. Norway has a tax on milk and juice cartons to encourage recycling.