The tourist sector in Serbia has seen a rapid growth in recent years, being one of the leading industries in Serbia over the past years. With the outbreak of the virus, the situation went upside down. More than 80% of the hotel reservations have been canceled and the recent ban on entry into Serbia for citizens from many countries which greatly contributed this industry fueled the plunge even further. The National Tourist Organization (YUTA) has cancelled all tourist arrangements booked until May 15, leaving the tourists travelling abroad without the option of refund.

Both the hotels and tourist agencies in Serbia are now seeking help from the government, in order to overcome the crisis. Proposed models mostly concern tax reliefs (payroll taxes, social contributions, VAT), but also financial injections. The National Bank of Serbia has introduced a moratorium on loan repayments, which should contribute to overcoming the adverse effects of the outbreak and declared state of emergency.

Due to the curfew imposed by the state and prospects of temporary bans on operations for bars and restaurants by the local authorities, it seems that restaurants and bars are going to feel the most of the negative influx.

In general, this industry is now coping with its financial, tax and employment liabilities, as well as with performance of contracts (lease, suppliers, contractors etc.). First three issues have now gained a political momentum and require actions of the government. On the other hand, solving problems with suppliers and other contracting parties are a private matter. At this moment, it is advisable to reach a temporary system which shall save the parties’ contractual interests during the dire times. BOPA is willing and able to provide the clients from the tourist industry with contractual mechanisms which shall preserve their interests until the state of emergency and adverse effects of COVID-19 cease.