Initiative Launched to Strengthen Transatlantic Tourism Cooperation between Western Balkans and US

Podgorica, Montenegro – The Transatlantic Leadership Network, in collaboration with the Institute for Politics and Economy of Southeast Europe (IPESE), has launched the initiative “Strengthening Transatlantic Cooperation in Tourism between the Western Balkans and the United States,” featuring the screening of the “Into the Wild” film by the USA brand (moderated by Morgan Freeman).

This is a multi-year project aimed at creating a common tourist product to promote tourism both in the American market and in the Western Balkans, said Željka Radak Kukavičić, coordinator of the Western Balkans – USA Tourism Initiative within the Transatlantic Leadership Network.

Dr. Nina Drakić, President of the Chamber of Economy of Montenegro, emphasized that the chamber gladly supports the initiative to “enhance cooperation in tourism between the USA and the Western Balkans.” “We eagerly anticipate the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding, which will take place at the U.S. Congress during the ‘Transatlantic Economic Forum for Southeast Europe’ in May of this year,” Drakić stated.

The Honorable Guest, the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, H.E. Judy Rising Reinke, pointed out that tourism is a crucial component of the Western Balkans economy, accounting for over 10% of the region’s GDP and responsible for more than a quarter of its exports. “That is why the United States is a strong advocate for aiding the sector in its growth and development, as part of our broader vision of enhancing connectivity and economic prosperity in the region,” the Ambassador said.

Also in attendance were Rachel Duran, Trade Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Dr. Vjekoslav Vuković, President of the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lulzim Rafuna, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo, Mihailo Vesović, Director for International Relations at the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, as well as Dušan Žarković, Executive Director of the Institute for Politics and Economy of Southeast Europe.

Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milojko Spajić, hosted a ceremonial lunch at Villa Gorica for the initiative’s participants, reaffirming the strong support of the Montenegrin government for the Mystical Balkans project.

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