Serbia to lose €1bn due to lack of foreign tourists amid pandemic

Source: N1

Rasim Ljajic, Serbia's Trade Minister, said on Thursday his country would lose some €1billion of revenue this year due to the coronavirus epidemic which caused the lack in foreign tourists' visits.

“The damage might be less because of good results recorded in January and February and partly in March,” Ljajic told the state RTS TV, adding that domestic tourists would lessen the loss.

He said the increase in foreign tourists’ visits was 28 percent in January and 18 percent in February compared to the same months in 2019, but the decrease in the following months was over 90 percent.

That, according to Ljajic, made some new destinations in Serbia drawing the attention of local people.

However, that would not be enough to compensate the less number of foreigners at the country's level, although the increase in the number of tourists at some places was higher than in Belgrade, usually the most popular destination, Ljajic said.

Commenting on Serbia's export to Kosovo, he said it reached €86 million after Pristina had suspended the 100 percent import tariff on goods from Serbia in April.

“Still, it is half of what it was in 2018, before the tariffs,” Ljajic said adding it would take time to get back to Kosovo market supplied by other countries before April.