Focus more on sustainable geotourism

I am delighted to see visitor interest and travel increase to Serbia, and hope the same benefits will soon be evident in Montenegro and the West Balkans. However, I do not share the preference for 4- and 5-star hotels along the Danube, nor the erasure of the region's history and cultural heritage (however violent and recent).

The better choice, I suggest, is truly sustainable tourism that promotes the human-environment relationships which have long shaped Serbia and its sister states. Rather than low prices and expensive facilities, this direction promotes personal learning and community collaboration. The emphasis is no longer the quantity of tourists or spending, but the quality of the travel experience provided.

More than 40% of all world travelers now label themselves as "eco" or "green." These tourists seek destinations that blend recreation with education, conservation and direct participation in conservation and community support.

Therefore, I encourage stakeholders to craft visitor attractions that blend ancient and current history with physiography and the natural landscape so central to Balkan identity and sense of "place." By profiting both people and protected areas, tourism may truly sustain the economy and ecology of the West Balkans for centuries to come.