Despite world instability, tourists are flocking to Serbia with close to one million visitors having visited only Belgrade over the course of the first nine months of 2022—with this influx likely to grow exponentially due to constant expansion of new airline routes using Belgrade as a hub.
Over the first three quarters of 2022 Belgrade saw a 75 percent bump in tourists, according to government statistics, as cited by ekapija.com. Russian tourists dominated the influx, although this was closely followed by those from other Central European states, Germany and India.
Meanwhile, national carrier Serbia Airlines has been expanding routes for 2023 almost weekly.
Air Serbia announced a third set of new destinations over the 2022/23 winter season, as well as the coming summer with the carrier to add “fifteen weekly rotations to Budapest, four weekly flights to Ankara and two weekly services to Izmir,” according to the release.
Operations to Izmir will be maintained on a scheduled basis for the first time, with services previously running as summer charters. Air Serbia’s code-share partner Turkish Airlines is also expected to commence flights between Izmir and Belgrade next year, although flights are yet to be scheduled.
Operations to Budapest will increase from fifteen to seventeen weekly later during the 2023 summer season. The new additions join the previously announced new services from Belgrade to Chicago, Catania, Cologne, Florence, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Marseille, Naples and Palermo, which will commence in 2023.
“Every three days we will announce a new batch of routes so that by mid-December we will have them all on sale for next summer,” said Serbia Airline CEO Jiri Marek, according to the release. “These new routes are driven mostly by connectivity and leisure, and they are mostly in Europe.”
Likewise, on Dec. 9 Air Serbia announced that it has once again commenced direct flights to China—after a “pause” of 22 years. Flights on this route will be operated using wide-body A330-200 aircraft from Air Serbia’s long-haul fleet. Belgrade-Tianjin flights will have an average flight duration of 10 hours, while flights from Tianjin to Belgrade will average 12 hours.
“We opened a new chapter in our operations by enabling our passengers to fly directly to China, and we believe it will make their travels to this distant destination much easier,” said Marek, as cited by ekapija.com. “For some time, Belgrade has already provided good connectivity of the broader Balkan region to numerous destinations in the world.”
“As of today, it’s possible to fly from Belgrade to China, too. Our company is one of the few in Europe which offer direct flights to this Asian country,” he added.
We are now flying to Tianjin, and in the future, we hope that we will be flying to other important Chinese cities as well.”
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic also commented, according to ekapija.com, stating that the routes “will further strengthen economic ties between Serbia and China, bring new investors, attract a large number of tourists to our country, but also improve interpersonal relations between the two nations.”
Photo credit: TJDarmstadt, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.