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Montenegro’s Pride are Two Best Tourism Villages of the World

Alexandra Sasha
Alexandra Sasha (right) represented Montenegro at the UNWTO Gen Assembly.

In Montenegro, The Hon. Jakov Milatovic is a proud minister of Economics, Alexandra Sasha is a proud Director General, and Executive Board Member at the World Tourism Network (WTN) – and Montenegro is a proud country. Two rural villages, and a recognition by UNWTO are the reason.

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The World Tourism Network had invited Montenegro to be part of a new initiative known as Best Cultural Cities or Regions of the World.

Montenegro’s Tourism Director Aleksandra Sasha, who had also been leading the Balkan Chapter of the organization for more than a year had laid out the potential of small cities, specifically small cultural cities in the sometimes overlooked potential of global tourism.

Ms. Sasha also represented Montenegro at the just concluded General Assembly of UNWTO, the World Tourism Organization.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in a brand new initiative also has been recognizing the importance of rural tourism and launched “The Best Tourism Village initiative”.

This was officially introduced at the UNWTO General Assembly last week.

Hon. Jakov Milatovic, Minister of Economics, Montenegro

Recognized is the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.

Two villages in Montenegro had been honored within the Best Tourism Village initiative by UNWTO: Godinje and Gornja Lastva in Tivat.

Part of this initiative is the “Improvement Program” for which 20 villages from around the world have been selected, and Montenegro is the only country from which as many as two villages have been included.

The villages were evaluated by an independent advisory board based on a set of criteria: cultural and natural resources; promotion and conservation of cultural resources; economic sustainability; social sustainability; environmental sustainability; tourism potential and development and value chain integration; governance and prioritization of tourism; infrastructure and connectivity; and health, safety, and security.

Best Tourism Village initiative by UNWTO

All 44 villages scored a total of 80 or more points out of a possible 100. This initiative includes three pillars

A total of 174 villages were proposed by 75 UNWTO Member States. Each Member State could present a maximum of three villages for the 2021 pilot initiative. Among these, 44 were recognized as Best Tourism Villages by UNWTO. Another 20 villages will enter the Upgrade Program of the initiative. All 64 villages enter to make part of the UNWTO Best Tourism Villages Network. The next edition will open in February 2022.

A letter by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili to the Montenegro Economic Development Minister Jakov Milatovic stated Godinje and Gornja Lastva would receive support from UN-affiliated agency to Montenegro could improve the role of tourism in these villages, so it would preserve rural areas. The letter emphasized that tourism should be a driver of development, in order to properly valorize villages and preserve their cultural and natural wealth, as well as authentic values.

In Montenegro Tourism is part of the portfolio by the Minister of Economic Development of the country.

A proud Minister, the Hon. Jakov Milatović agrees with this unique potential his small country in the Balkan region has when it comes to small tourism villages and culturally important regions.

Minister Milatović is known in the new Government of Montenegro as a leader that could guide the country on the way to economic and tourism recovery. He implements modern ideas in the process of restructuring and is well supported by the international community.

Jakov Milatović was born in 1986, in Podgorica, Montenegro, where he finished elementary and secondary school.

He completed his undergraduate studies in the field of economics at the Faculty of Economics, University of Montenegro, with an average grade 10 and was a student of the generation.

He was honored with numerous domestic awards from the Ministry of Education, University of Montenegro, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Atlas Group etc., as well as foreign fellowships. He spent one academic year at Illinois State University as a US Government Fellow; one semester at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna (WU Wien) as an Austrian Government Fellow; one academic year at the University of Rome (La Sapienza) as a European Commission Fellow.

He completed his master’s degree in economics at the University of Oxford. He was a British Government (Chevening) Fellow.

He started his work experience at NLB Bank, Podgorica in the risk management team of the Bank, then at Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt in the credit risk assessment team of the Bank focusing on Central and Eastern European countries.

Since 2014, he has been working for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in the team for economic and political analysis, first as an economic analyst for the region of Southeast Europe, then as an economist for the Western Balkan countries from the office in Podgorica. In 2018, he was promoted to the chief economist for the EU countries, including Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia from the office in Bucharest.

He gained other experiences through the United Nations programs in New York; attending schools and training of the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Podgorica; the Embassy of Montenegro in Rome; the Office for International Cooperation of the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica; Oxbridge Academic Programs in Oxford; the International Monetary Fund in London; the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Beijing; the Leadership Academy of Stanford University and the University of Belgrade and others.

He is a father of two. He is fluent in English, speaks Italian and Spanish.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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1 Comment

  • I took two or three kodaks of him, and he showed a far greater objection to … He was a sulky performer at best, who took no such interest in his work. I know, Montenegrin towns are rich in architecture, from various periods that take the global trends, Montenegro is developing extreme sports that the tourists .