Branding post-conflict destinations: recreating Montenegro after the disintegration of Yugoslavia

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Title: Branding post-conflict destinations: recreating Montenegro after the disintegration of Yugoslavia
Author: Ringer, Gregory D., 1951-; Vitic, Andriela
Abstract: This paper examines the challenges and opportunities of promoting Montenegro as a destination for sustainable tourism in the post-civil war era of the former Yugoslavia, given the country’s unique status as the world’s only self-proclaimed “ecological state.” There is no denying the recent history of ethnic violence and turmoil that divided the Balkans in the 1990s. Consequently, the incremental return of foreign and domestic visitors to Montenegro, as well as Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, represents a significant return to stability almost ten years after the fighting stopped. And the particular interest of many tourists in the biology and cultural geography of the region makes clear the potential usefulness of “green” branding for Montenegro to distinguish itself from its competitors in the Mediterranean, and to resurrect the country’s political image and visitor appeal through targeted environmental practices and promotions. The ability to embellish its “eco” credentials and image through complementary partnerships and policies that sustain both tourism and the nation’s economy would allow Montenegro to strategically and successfully position itself in the Adriatic travel market over the long term. Collaborative management and branding of World Heritage sites and transboundary parks for sustainable tourism will also enable Montenegro, and its former allies and foes, to restore the social and biological integrity and connectivity of a shared landscape severely degraded by a decade of war. In this manner, tourism can be a critical catalyst in overcoming the negative imagery and distrust which still impedes the Balkan’s ability to achieve greater political integration and prosperity in an increasingly unified Europe.
Date: 2007

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