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Tourism in numbers

The contribution of tourism to GDP is estimated to be about 11% (and growing), with a dominant contribution of tourism in the coastal area; this sector makes up about 9% of total employment. Direct employment in the sector is expected to account for 9% of total employment. When direct and indirect effects are added together, tourism is expected to account for 20.8% of the national GDP and 17.8% of total employment, making up more than 40% of country’s total exports (1).

Mountain tourism (both winter and summer) is receiving increased attention during the past few years yet its contribution to the overall tourism remains low (2).

Vulnerabilities Montenegro

Close to 70% of all overnights in recent years take place in July and August i.e. close to 90% in the period June – September. The concentration of summer visits leaves the national economy very vulnerable to climate change, which is predicted to result in decreases in coastal tourism in Southern Europe (2).

In Montenegro, the most important climate-related impacts on tourism and recreation (other than sea level rise) will probably be related to the effect of climate change on air temperatures both at coastal resort locations in the summer and mountain ski resorts in the winter, along with the increase in winter rainfall in the mountains that will adversely effects skiing (2).

Tourism will also be affected by the impacts of climate change on river discharges and lake water levels, fresh water quality and temperatures, all of which have the potential to influence the flow of market and non-market services provided by the natural and built environments to tourists. Karst aquifers may be particularly vulnerable, since even small reductions in precipitation can reduce runoff and impair the scenic quality of the sites/
formations where they come above ground (2).

The timing and extent of sea level rise will also have potentially important impacts on tourism opportunities along the coast. This includes impacts not just on beach recreation activities, and coastal fishing, but also on activities related to non-consumptive tourist use of the environment through costal bird watching and hiking and also impacts on amenity values associated with visual changes in “the scenery” (2).

Preliminary estimates of the impact of  a 1 – 5°C average annual temperature rise indicate that the annual number of tourist visits may decrease by 1.7% - 19.6%, with a worst case decrease up to 24.5% (2). A smaller range has been calculated using a different methodology: a decrease up to 6.5% and maybe even an increase up to 2.9% (2).

Adaptation strategies

The public and private sectors would benefit a great deal by planning for climate change, rather than ignoring it. This is especially true since the infrastructure associated with tourism – hotels, marinas, highways, etc – is relatively long-lived, and would cost more to “climate proof ” after the infrastructure is built than include climate change considerations in the initial designs (2).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Montenegro.

  1. World Council of Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) (2009), in: Ministry for Spatial Planning and Environment of the Republic of Montenegro (2010)
  2. Callaway et al. (2010)

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