Serbia/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.3 Other relevant issues and debates

The importance of cultural tourism is currently being raised within cultural policy debates.  It is expected that a partnership between culture and tourism will contribute to greater financial and organisational independence of cultural institutions and organisations throughout the country, as well as to a decentralisation of culture. The main challenge facing this partnership is the constant neglect of the tourism infrastructure, which left the country with a bad road infrastructure, lack of proper accommodation, poor communication facilities and not enough competent staff.

In 2007-2008, all these activities intensified, and the Ministry of Culture, together with the Tourism Organisation of Serbia developed several joint projects such as: The path of Roman Emperors in Serbia (Sirmium, Singidunum, Viminacium, Diana & Pontes / Traian Table, Romuliana / Gamzigrad, Naisus / Mediana and Caricin Grad), the Network of Royal cities of the Roman Empire & Castles on the Danube (Bac, Petrovaradin, Belgrade, Smederevo, Golubac, Ram, Fetislam).

Also, in November 2007, Serbia joined the European project Transromanica – The Romanesque Routes of European Heritage, which connects Romanesque monuments in Germany, Austria, Italy, France, Spain and Slovenia. Routes in Serbia includes five monasteries (three from the UNESCO World heritage list: Studenica, Sopocani and Djurdjevi stupovi, and two other: Zica and Gradac).

"Branding Serbia" is also part of the government's activity, creating a committee for actively working on the re-creation of the Serbian image, away from the negative stereotype, towards a more positive imagine. This is also one of the reasons for the eventual candidacy of the City of Belgrade for the European Capital of Culture 2020. "Place branding", "eventful cities", support to popular urban manifestations, is part of this new cultural policy, a policy which is more using existing commercial  "events", than specifically creating new cultural events. There is also the intention to promote the creative resources of rural places and give support to the development of the creative economy in rural (especially social and economic devastated) regions as a way of developing Serbian villages as well as improving their quality of life and positive imagine.

The most important cultural programme for the 2013 Ministry of Culture has planned concerns the celebration of 17 centuries of edict of Milan, which is considered to be the first act of religious tolerance, giving to the Christian population freedom of belief. The fact that Constantine the Great was born on the territory of today's Serbia, in the city of Nais (Niš today), is taken as a responsibility for the State of Serbia to represent the importance of imperator Constantine, one of the greatest reformers of Roman empire. The State Programme of celebrations will include numerous manifestations of both sacral and profane character.

Chapter published: 08-02-2013