Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Annual Congress of International Hotel and Restaurant Association in Belgrade—January 18-21

Belgrade, Jan. 16, 2010, (Serbia Today) - The annual congress of International Hotel and Restaurant Association will be held in Belgrade's hotel "Continental" between January 18 and 21.

According to the announcement, it will be attended by about 200 representatives of the hotel sector from Serbia and abroad.

The theme of the congress is "New Trends in Hotel Management and Balkan as new tourist market of Europe".

The congress will also be attended by the representatives of the ministries of tourism of the countries from the region who will take part, on the first day, in the round table on the possibilities of development and investments in the tourism sector and the possibilities of regional cooperation.

The speakers at the congress will be the representatives of international associations, including the World Standardization Organization, International Labor Organization and international associations for mobility and migrations.

The Association of Hotel and Restaurant Economy of Serbia – HORES, and the Balkan Alliance of Hotel Associations - BAHA, as the members of international association IH&RA, nominated Belgrade for the host of this meeting and enabled its holding in our country.

The organizer of the congress is International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA), which gathers over 100 national associations, 300,000 hotels and over 8m restaurants.

The annual congress of the International Hotel and Restaurant Association in Belgrade will be held under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development of Serbia and with the support of the tourism organizations of Serbia and Belgrade.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Zdravko Colic and Goran Bregovic will perform in Guca

Guca, Jan. 21 2010 (Serbia Today) – The 50th Anniversary of the famous Guca Music Festival will be marked with the participation of the famous Serbian performers Zdravko Colic and Goran Bregovic. This year’s Festival will be from 13th to 27th August, and besides many Serbian bands it is expected participation of the 10 to 15 bands from around the world.
The organizers expect this year to have over half a million visitors and close to 2000 participants in ten festival days.
Same as previous years, the main sponsor of the event will be the Government of Serbia. Most of the concerts from the Guca festival will be featured on the First Program RTS.
The concert by Goran Bregovic is planed for August 14, while Zdravko Colic’s concert will be on Thursday, August 19. It is expected that the price of the tickets for each of these concerts will be around 1000 dinars.

Serbia on the “Hiking”” map of Europe for first time

Gornji Milanovac, Jan. 09 2010 (Serbia Today) - The European Mountain Climbing Federation has made a new map of a mountain routes for hikers from the North Pole to Greece, and Serbia is included, for the first time ever. Thousands of Europeans like to walk or hike almost every day, far from any paved roads, to enjoy the scenery and to appreciate the cultural and historical sights.
At a press conference in Gornji Milanovac held January 4, 2010, Borisav Čeliković, a representative of the Mountain Climbing Association of Serbia, said that over 50,000 mountain climbers are expected to pass through the Rudnik-Takovo region of Serbia this year, following the new map route, all to the benefit of local hotels and restaurants.
The project was sponsored by the Mountain Climbing Association and the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development of Serbia.

First Registry of Tourism in Serbia

Belgrade, Jan. 06, 2010, (Serbia Today) - An electronic database with information on all the tourist resources in Serbia will be placed in operation in January 2010, according to Zvonko Obradović, the CEO of the Business Registers Agency, as reported by “Beta.” The Registry of Tourism will consist of 17 different registers including the registers of tourist agencies, catering companies, tourist guides, accommodations and tourist destinations.
As he pointed out, the Registry will make it possible for the government Agencies and tourism professionals to gain insight into the whole potential of this sector of economy. Furthermore, the public availability of the registry will be beneficial to both tourist companies and users of their services.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Record number of messages sent through Serbian networks

Belgrade, Jan. 09, 2010 (Serbia Today) - During the New Year's Weekend a record number of Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages were sent through the mobile telephone networks in Serbia, the mobile operators announced.
Telekom Srbija" carried 115m SMS and MMS messages on December 31st and January 1st, 75% more than last year. Between 8 PM on December 31st, 2009, and 8 AM on January 1st, 2010, over 51m messages were exchanged, while more than 17m SMS messages were sent through the MTS network around midnight. During the New Year's Eve celebration a total of 28.2m text messages were delivered through "Telenor's" network in Serbia, 19% more than last year.

New Years Eve Celebration Serbian Style

Belgrade, Dec. 30, 2009, (Serbia Today) – Most of the seats for the New Years Eve Party in many restaurants and clubs throughout Belgrade were sold out months ago. Many of those that will be celebrating New 2010 in Belgrade or in the Serbian Ski resorts are foreigners from Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy and other EU countries. Belgrade restaurants and clubs are known for its hospitality where guests can experience far beyond and above anything offered anywhere else in Europe. Prices are compatible to experience that is often not only “culinary”. There are very few among Serbs who can afford high prices set by Belgrade restaurateurs. New Years Parties are priced from € 100 to €1,000, which is more than most of the Serbs make in two months.
Nevertheless, Serbs like to party, and lack of access to the very expensive clubs and restaurants will not stop them to make their own hot spot for the craziest night. Some of them will party with friends and family at their homes, while others, mostly youngsters, will enjoy one of many free outdoor midnight concerts organized by Serbian municipalities.
In Belgrade, at the Nikola Pasic Square, several rock bands will play all night. Ice skating ring nearby will be open as well and free for all. Organizers are preparing fireworks at midnight.
Novi Sad will have free concerts on three different locations including Liberty Square, featuring everything from old country music, folk, and rock. Other big cities like Nis, Kragujevac, Krusevac, Valjevo, and Subotica will organize for their citizens free outdoor concerts as well. Some of the very popular bands are scheduled at different cities at different times, so they will able to entertain people in more than one concert.

Ivan Palikuca – talented rower

By: Katarina Jonev
Belgrade, Jan.12, 2010 (Serbia Today) - Large number of the most decorated Serbian rowers had studied in America. After schooling they came back to Serbia and continued to win medals. Ivan Palikuca (21) is a young rower with potential to be one of the best. In the last couple of months, he has been living and studying in United States. In the last 2 years he achieved excellent results. In 2008 he won title of state champion for juniors (without helmsman) and last year state champion for seniors (duo without helmsman) - “This year I did not participate on the state championship, because on the day when it was supposed to take place there was a storm and strong wind was blowing, which had broken many boats. Competition was postponed for September, but I was already here in the USA”.
What are the most important regattas you participated in? - “I participated in many international regattas. I would like to mention two big competitions - one of them was World Junior Championship held in Beijing. I took the 12th place (4 without helmsman) and the World Championship last year for seniors to 23 years, where I finished the race on the 11th place in LM2 category. There was regatta on Bled this year – we won 3rd place in the duo for heavy rowers. We lost the gold medal for only 3 seconds and the silver for less than half a second. This was also the most interesting race I participated in. When we started the race and how the race went, 4 boats went literally in one line. It was impossible to separate and go to the lead, although we all tried, until the last 250 meters when we were separated from the fourth team, but we were still in the fight for a medal. For me it was probably the toughest race so far, but it was pretty exciting, full of tension and adrenaline”.
What was the main reason you decided to leave Serbia and go to America to study and train? - “I am studying at Mercyhurst College. I decided to come to USA for the one simple reason – in Serbia I do not have conditions to complete a “normal” University, because we have 2 times per day trainings. I had the option - to choose between training or University. I did not want to study on private universities and when a chance to go to America appeared, I accepted it. Here I have great opportunity to train and improve myself plus this is a great experience – different way of life, culture, language...Mercyhurst has a so-called "lightweight program” that is my category, plus my coach is Adrian Spracklen, son of the famous Mike Spracklen, a man who won the gold medal for Canada at the Beijing Olympics. His son is training us with similar principle so I am also honored to joint such a program”.
Did you participate in regattas in America? - 'I participated in 3 competitions in USA. First one was “Head of the Ohio”, where we won first place in the category of eights light rowers, then it was “Head of the Tennessee”, where we were third, and of course the biggest regatta in the U.S.A “Head of the Charles” in Boston, where we were tenth''.
Few years ago we have had an interview for the first time. At that time you said that the club Red Star had the best conditions for training this sport in Serbia. How much are different conditions here in Serbia and in America? - 'Well, in USA it depends from university to university. For example, here I have similar conditions as I had in the Red Star, maybe slightly better, but nothing special, while some universities have far better conditions. The advantage here is that we have very good quality boats''.
What is your next competition? - 'The first following competition should be World championship for seniors (up to 23 years). I do not know yet if I will participate. I achieved good results, advanced a lot in the last few months but still, we will see when I come back to Serbia. I have to participate in a qualifying race and prove to a national team selector that I deserve to go''.

I suppose your main goal in the future is Olympics in London? - My plans are to continue with hard trainings, much harder than now. I learned a lot from the coaches in America and my results are getting better. Also my coach from Serbia was pleased with my progress so far. Of course, my goal is going to London in 2012, trying to work and train for it, give all of myself as a member of the team that will go on qualifying for the Olympics. I have next 2 years, depending on when the election race for the Olympics will be, since each state cannot apply directly for the Olympic games, some have to pass qualification races '' -said Ivan Palikuca at the end of the interview for Serbia Today.

Andrea Arsovic – Serbian golden archer

By Katarina Jonev
Belgrade, Jan. 06, 2010, (Serbia Today) - Serbian archers triumphantly finished their participation at the 34th "International Championship of Belgrade". On the second day of shooting for "Danube award”, they won four gold and one bronze medal. Andrea Arsovic (22) has triumphed in discipline of air rifle for women in the lot of trades final. She entered in the finals on the first position with 399 laps ( one lap less than the state and world record), but after 8.4 rounds with fifth bullet she fell for three places. However with four good finish centers ( 10,4 - 10,7 - 10,1 – 10,4) she got back in the match and won 0.1 rounds. -”In competition participated shooters from 13 countries and among them were the World, European and Olympic medal winners. In the extremely tough competition, I'm glad that I managed to score this success. Belgrade Trophy Competition lasted two days and on the first day we had not have sports luck. The second day happiness smiled at us, and Serbian archers were much better. I am extremely pleased with winning the first place not only because of the result but with the fact that I continued winning medals and this is a proof that I am making much progress in the training process”.
Have you felt nervous because after long time you were shooting in front of the Belgrade audience? -We had to justify the epithet of the host and the favorite, in order to win medals. I would lie if I say I had not stage fright. Our fans were a little noisy but it is important that we have managed to retain concentration and shoot well.
Andrea has been a member of senior national team for 4 years. During this time, she was engaged in the biggest European and world competitions and was the first reserve to Lidija Mihajlovic for the Beijing Olympics. The year 2009 will stay in beautiful memories for this talented archer.
-In my career I won more than 110 medals and 10 trophies. I first got an invitation for Serbian selection in 2005, and we participated at the European Championship were we won the first place as a team. The same year I was State Champion and Champion of the Balkans. In 2006 on the World Cup as a team, we were third. This year at the Mediterranean Games in Italy I won the gold medal and I broke 2 records. At the European Championship in Prague I took fourth place. I was 6 times Senior State Champion, 4 times Champion of the Balkans and I broke a few records and currently I hold 3 Serbian records.
Several weeks ago, Arsovic was awarded as the most successful Senior of Sport Society Partizan and after that, the most successful Serbian Archery club Partizan celebrated its 50th Birthday.
-I started to train 9 years ago in Partizan. My neighbour started to train and called me once to join him on one training. I accepted the invitation mostly because of curiosity. I liked the sport and first few trainings were very interesting. More than 40 children of my age trained well. After three months I had my first competition in the League in Belgrade and I remember how I was confused and frightened.
Did you from the beginning fire from air rifles?
-Yes. I like that much more than shooting from a pistol.
With you in the Serbian national archery team is also the Jasna Sekaric, our best, most successful female shooter. What is the feeling to train with a living legend of our sport? -It is a real pleasure. Although two of us do not shoot in the same discipline and therefore do not train together but it certainly feels great when an athlete like her is with us. She is always ready to advise us young archers and I appreciate that a lot.
You are one of the biggest favorites to represent Serbia at the Olympic Games in London. Do you therefore feel the pressure? -Olympic Committee of Serbia has declared me one of the main favorites to go to London in 2012. It is on me to justify that trust. Dream of every athlete is to participate in the Olympics and one of my main goals is to be part of the National Team at the biggest planetary competition. Of course, before that, I have to fulfill certain quotas.
Already in January, Arsovic will participate in several competitions. -I started packing for Munich and Slovenia, where I have competitions in January. I expect good results mostly because 2010 is the first year for adding and winning the Olympic quotas, and this will be an excellent preparation for the European Championship, which will be held in Norway.
In the summer, Serbia will be host of the World Cup. Do you think our country can organize perfectly this prestigious competition?
- I think we can. Beside Serbia, the World Cup will take place in 3 more states. We have excellent conditions to provide archers who will come from around the world in the Sports Center “Kovilovo” and we have experience in organizing sports events . I believe that everything will pass at a high level – said Andrea Arsovic at the end of the interview for Serbia Today.

Smederevo will get new trade center "Idea - Jugodrvo"

Smederevo, Jan. 16, 2010, (Serbia Today) - Smederevo will get new trade center "Idea - Jugodrvo" at 4,000 square meters at the end of January. Company "Trimo Engineering" finished the second phase of works on that facility at the beginning of the year, and the deadline for its completion is the end of January 2010.

As "Trimo Engineering" announced, the works on that trade center at 4,000 square meters include reconstruction and expansion of the facility - construction of substructure, facade and roof.

The facade is horizontally covered by standard fireproof "Trimoterm" panels filled with stone wool, while the eaves within the facility are covered by "P line by trimo" panels with solid polyurethane foam filling - it is stated in the announcement by company "Trimo".

Jaša Tomić now an international border crossing

Belgrade, Jan. 14, 2010, (Serbia Today) - The Government of Serbia has agreed to re-categorize Jaša Tomić from border crossing to international border crossing. Between Romania and Serbia, Jaša Tomić-Fenj is the critical border crossing on the 130km route between Timisoara and Novi Sad. Re-categorization was the result of long term activities by the local self-government of Secanj, supported by the Government of Serbia and the Executive Council of Vojvodina.

“Re-categorization is significant for all of us in Banat, as well as for all of Vojvodina, because the international airport in Timisoara is about 40 km away from the border,” the Mayor of Sečanj, Predrag Milošević, said. Construction on the Romanian side of the border is almost complete and the Serbian side will be ready in early May 2010. “We have already finished major share of the works. We are working at full steam, and what is left for us to do is to build a modern substation for terminals, one kilometer of road from Jaša Tomić to the border, and install light signaling,” said Milošević.

General Land Use Plan for Niš under public consideration

Nis, Jan. 09 2010 (Serbia Today) - The General Land Use Plan for Niš for 2010-2025 prepared by the "City Planning Institute of Niš” is now on display at the Administration for Planning and Development in Generala Tranijea Street.
A meeting of the Committee for Plans will be held on February 10th, when all who have commented in writing about the plan before January 18th will be able to explain their complaints, suggestions and proposals for changes. After the meeting the Committee will make its report and forward it to the City Assembly of Niš.

The Achievements of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade in 2009

By Jelena Jovanovic
Belgrade, Jan. O9 2010 (Serbia Today) - 2009 was a very successful year for tourism in Belgrade despite the global economic crisis, said Dejan Veselinov of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade (TOB) in an interview with Serbia Today. More people visited Belgrade than in 2008; new sightseeing programs were added or expanded; Belgrade tourism was attractively promoted; and plans were made for emphasizing the Danube in 2010.
The number of foreign visitors in Belgrade in the first 10 months of 2009 increased over the same period in 2008 by 6% to 300,000; the number of tourist days in Belgrade increased by 16 % to 700,000. Most of the tourists were from former Yugoslav Republics, and then from Italy, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, France and Great Britain. The most visited event last year was the Belgrade Beer Fest, followed by the Belgrade Boat Carnival. Extended celebration of the New Year holidays always draws tens of thousands of uncounted visiting friends and relatives.
Veselinov, head of the Public Relations Department of TOB, discussed a number of completely new programs. Especially popular was ‘Coffee with Princess Ljubica,` reenacting family and social life at Konak Knjeginje Ljubice. The one hour tour, presented on Fridays and Saturdays for 30 people at a time, is hosted by the curator of Belgrade City Museum, dressed as a woman during the reign of Princess Ljubica. The “Brandy Tour,” created in the cooperation with the Rakija Bar chain, tells all about brandy: its origination in Serbia, how it is made, the different varieties of brandy, and the customs associated with drinking brandy.
In 2009 TOB encouraged new or better ways for the tourist to travel about Belgrade. “Lasta” introduced sightseeing buses with an open roof, hop on- hop off feature. “PS Tours” provided 70 minute tours in double deck open roof buses, and Belgrade Transport Company offered sightseeing by tram. Walking tours in downtown Belgrade and the Belgrade Fortress, in old Zemun, in Skadarlija and visits to the Royal Palace complex in Dedinje were introduced or expanded.
TOB planned activities for 2009 with residents of Belgrade in mind as well as tourists. Various programs were offered under the slogan ’Because I Love Belgrade’ so Belgraders would learn more about their native town and thus be better able to present it to visitors.
The Danube River is a major gateway to Belgrade for tourists from Germany, the USA, Scandinavia, and France, with 50,000 arriving by boat in 2009. Nautical tourism is a great opportunity for the tourist industry in all of Serbia, and developing this potential will be a priority for TOB in 2010. Working with partners associated with the Danube, primarily the Port of Belgrade, TOB will help to organize and promote programs relating to Belgrade’s rivers, such as environmental programs, nautical regatta, and bicycle trails.
BOT continued to work cooperatively with USAID last year. An attractive article about Belgrade was placed in the magazine Ulysses distributed on Air Italia flights. Belgrade was specially promoted at the Barcelona Tourism Fair last year to foreign travel organizers and journalists. USAID specialists in the promotion of tourism shared their knowledge and contacts with their counterparts at BOT, and will do so again in 2010.
At the end of the interview Veselinov said the Tourist Organization of Belgrade had realized everything planned for 2009, and was quite satisfied. In 2010 TOB will promote new sightseeing tours, conventions, and international events; will open new tourist information centers; will develop new nautical and environmental tourism opportunities; and will generally improve the tourist infrastructure.

Coffee – a Serbian Ritual

According to the World health organization data, each day, about one and a half billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world. At least ten million of that number are consumed in Serbia.
Natives of Serbia were introduced to its highness, coffee, by Turkish invaders. The word “kafana“ is of Turkish origin and signifies a house where people drink coffee. Such medieval coffee shops were opened for the first time opened in Constantinople, in the beginning of the 16th century.
While conquering the Balkan peninsula and advancing towards Europe, the Turks were building mosques as well as “kafanas“, small temples dedicated to coffee. As a result, in 1521, in Belgrade, the first coffee shop opened its doors, welcoming all those who wanted to enjoy the taste and the smell of black, Turkish coffee.
One of the oldest coffee shops in Belgrade, is the "?" shop, a charming little place facing the Saborna church.
The “?” kafana (yes, its name is really just the question mark) received its name after making the unfortunate choice of naming itself after the Cathedral across the street, Saborna Cirva. According to famous Serbian writer Momo Kapor, church authorities were enraged and demanded the sign with the name be brought down. When a painter placed a question mark where the name was supposed to be, the name stuck.
Although a bit unorthodox, the question mark seemed like the most natural and appropriate choice. The coffee shop was one of many. Similar establishments sprouted like mushrooms all over Serbia. Drinking coffee became an unavoidable daily ritual.
Today, that black Turkish coffee still tops the charts of Serbian people. Espresso, Nescafé and filter coffee did earn their place in the line up, but, in Serbia, it is the black Turkish coffee that carries the weight of a cultural and social phenomenon. Enjoying coffee is a science, signifying a slow-paced life, a life of order and peace.
What separates black coffee from other coffees is its preparation method and the thick layer of sludgy grounds that is left behind at the bottom of the cup, after the coffee has been consumed. Sugar and milk can be added to the coffee. It is prepared in a “dzezva”, a vessel where the water is boiled. When the water reaches the boiling point a spoonful of coffee powder is added to the water for each cup of coffee. The methods vary, only one should be careful, the coffee doesn’t boil over, although as people say, it indicates a financial windfall.
Despite the popularity of the drink in Serbia children are not allowed to drink it. They are often told that, "If you drink coffee, you will grow a tail," to dissuade them, but the strong taste it probably the real reason.
Therefore, once you have sipped your first coffee you are welcomed into the world of grown ups. But once you decide to have your first Serbian coffee experience in company of locals, you will become a part of a big family.
The kind of coffee you’re drinking is not all that important, should it be black, Turkish, Nescafé, Espresso, it is the feeling of unity and social bonding that matters. Even when you’re sipping it alone, be certain that at the very moment, millions of people around the world are sharing the experience and enjoying the black and divine beverage with you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Nadja Higl – best athlete in the selection of the magazine"Sport"

By:Katarina Jonev
Belgrade, Dec. 28, 2009 (Serbia Today)-Swimmer Nadja Higl was selected as the best Serbian athlete in 2009 according to the 53rd traditional election of sports daily newspaper "Sport". The jury, made up of winners who won this recognition in the last few years, decided that the world champion winner in the 200 meters breaststroke deserves the most to win this remarkable award. At the ceremony held on Thursday, Dec. 24, in the Hotel Continental in Belgrade, Higl was awarded a traditional award - Golden badge "Sport." Beside Higl in competition for the best athlete for 2009 were swimmer Milorad Cavic, athlete Biljana Topic, water-polo player Filip Filipovic, tennis players Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic, rowers Nikola - Goran Jagar, and basketball player Novica Velickovic.
Traditionally, for the 15th time "Sport” also proclaimed the best young athlete of our country. The title was given to Tatjana Jelača, junior champion of Europe in the javelin throw.
Member of Serbian national team in swimming, Nadia Higl said that 2009 was the most successful year in her life, and also that she plans to improve her results next year.
Higl has achieved this year excellent results - she won the gold medal at the World Championship in Rome in the discipline of 200 meters breaststroke (result 2:21,62), and silver medal at the European Championship in small pools in Istanbul two weeks ago. Higl also won two silver medals at the Universiade in Belgrade this summer and has triumphed twice at the World Cup.
Because of good results in 2009, Higl was also declared the most successful athlete in the selection of the Olympic Committee of Serbia.