Getting Ready for EXPO 2027: Support for Serbia’s Hospitality Sector

To invigorate the hospitality industry and drive tourism, the Serbian Government has modified the Decree governing incentives for attracting direct investments in the hotel accommodation services sector. This adjustment aims to stimulate hotel development, responding directly to the increased demand for lodging due to the forthcoming international exhibition, EXPO Belgrade 2027.

Qualifying for subsidies tied to EXPO Belgrade 2027 are investments in constructing, renovating, and expanding hospitality facilities—specifically targeting three-star or higher hotels in the Belgrade region. Notably, garni and apart-hotels do not qualify for these subsidies.

As part of the efforts to prepare Belgrade for EXPO 2027, amendments to the Regulation specify that direct investments for the exhibition’s realization pertain to constructing, renovating, or expanding hotels rated three stars or higher in the Belgrade region. It’s underscored that investments in garni and apart-hotels don’t meet the criteria for direct investment according to this Regulation.

Investors aiming to access funds for EXPO Belgrade 2027 must apply for allocation before initiating the investment project, adhering to the revised Regulation, no later than December 31, 2024. These investors must also contribute at least 25% of the justified costs from their own funds or non-state-aided sources for the project implementation. Moreover, for incentivizing the construction of new capacities, it’s clarified that a hotel must have a minimum of 50 accommodation units, alongside an investor committing a minimum of five million euros in tangible and intangible assets to qualify for support. In the case of reconstructing or expanding a three-star or higher categorized hotel, the facility must have a minimum of 50 accommodation units, and the minimum investment value should be two million euros.

Eligible investors could receive grants of up to 20% of verified project costs, contingent on meeting conditions related to minimum investment value, equity contribution, adherence to specific quality standards, and accommodation capacities.

The completion of hotel investments, once subsidies are applied for, must occur within two years, extendable until December 31, 2026.

Beyond the Belgrade region, the Decree extends state aid to hotel investments in spa resorts. The conditions for this assistance seem generally more flexible than those for the Belgrade region, with an additional requirement of employing a certain number of individuals.

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