In an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus that flooded our planet, the movement of human society as a whole has been limited as never before. It left the strongest effect on tourism and culture sectors of the economy, so the countries in which development relies mostly on these sectors have suffered the greatest consequences. While authorities of these countries are trying to find the best solution for preserving the health of both citizens and economy and while individuals who gather their life-long experience through travel are trying to adapt to newly arisen circumstances, tourist and cultural organizations and workers are either disappearing or redefining their offer.
At the Creative Forum organized in Ljubljana on 30 November this year, the participants pointed out that the quickest way to overcome the crisis of such proportions was through innovation and cooperation on all levels. Emphasizing the fact that tourism and culture sectors were facing the most difficult challenges and being that the two were interconnected, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, the Director of the OCED Centre for Entrepreneurship, pointed to the:
“necessity for distancing form large-scale tourism and focusing on local development through local culture affirmation, infrastructure development, and research.”
Lipa cave as a tourist company and one of the major tourist attractions in Montenegro has closed this tourist season in exactly such a manner. Staying positive that we would persevere, we adapted this year’s offer to the needs and possibilities of our citizens, and thanks to their amazing feedback we would sometimes forget the reason for keeping the distance with face protection. They asked about other caves in Montenegro, the best places to visit in Cetinje, and judging by the fact that this summer the terrace of our café was vibrant with children, we were among favorite places for family trips. We spent a few vacant tours developing strategies for enhancing cooperation and making plans for the next year, and we inspired a few foreign visitors we had this year to share their experience and information for research.
Being thrilled with Montenegro is what all foreign visitors had in common, and a young geologist from the USA made us believe for a moment that the pandemic was good in a way since he decided to visit the Balkans while searching for countries that allowed traveling. He told us he had never thought about Montenegro as a tourist destination, and considering his vocation, limestone areas in our country and countries in the region took his breath away. While walking through Lipa cave at every stalactite, stalagmite, or other formation and after every information presented he would say ‘wow’.
Well aware of the disadvantages of the current situation and the uncertainty of tomorrow, but focused on this year’s positive experience which was not negligible, we believe that the ‘wow’ will continue to echo through the grand halls and chambers of Lipa cave in the year that follows as well.