The City of Belgrade is planning to give concession for Sava Centar for a longer period of time, and the job is expected to be completed by the end of the year, says the city secretary for economy, Milinko Velickovic.

He says that the City Assembly of Belgrade, which is the founder of the PE Sava Centar and the owner of the property, is to make the decision and that the plan is for a study to be prepared before any other activity is carried out. If the Assembly adopts the study, Velickovic specifies, a concession would be offered to local and foreign legal entities.

He reminded that two attempts at establishing a public-private partnership for Sava Centar had fallen through up till then.

At the meeting of the Business Association of Hotel and Restaurant Industry of Serbia (HORES), Velickovic said that the Sava Centar building was very old and that it had a number of technical flaws when it comes to energy efficiency, with obsolete technology and equipment, adding that large investments in the reconstruction were therefore required.

HORES, which held its meeting at that very building yesterday, says that the facility is beginning to hinder development.

The chairman of the HORES GM, Tomislav Momirovic, said that the number of tourists in Belgrade grew rapidly, but that the congress center, which should be the core of the tourism economy, had been stagnating for 30 years.

– For ten years we have been trying to find a solution for Sava Centar. A decision needs to be made, and an investment must take place, one way or another, whether through a privatization, a public investment, a concession, which is also a good solution – Momirovic says.

He said that HORES would support any model that would lead to investments and a revival of Sava Centar.

The director of the Tourism Organization of Serbia, Marija Labovic, said that Sava Centar was a burning issue that needed to be solved so that congress and business tourism could develop further.

In addition to the Sava Centar issue, at the HORES meeting, which was also attended by representatives of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the discussion also included the proposition of having the VAT of hospitality services reduced from 20% to 10%, except for alcoholic drinks, as well as the proposition to have the non-taxable salary components raised.

Professor Slobodan Unkovic was given a plaque award for his contribution to the development of tourism.