Balkan cities usher in 2013 with decreased budgets compared to previous years.
By Miki Trajkovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 08/01/13
New Year's celebrations were not as elaborate this year due to budget constraints. [Tomislav Georgiev/SETimes]
Modest New Year's celebrations in the region reflected the challenging economic climate countries are facing in 2013.
The 2 million Belgrade residents saw a 50 percent cut in their celebration budget. Citizens were entertained by local bands and singers, Biljana Bogdanovic of the Belgrade information service told SETimes.
"The budget for the New Year's celebration was 93,000 euros, [half of last year.] In the past 10 years, we invested significant funds to purchase Christmas decorations. The centre of Belgrade and the two main boulevards in New Belgrade [are decorated with them,]" Bogdanovic said.
In Budva, the largest resort in Montenegro, there was no budget for a party or decorations this year. "For decorations we used the old decorations. This year is the year of austerity, and so will be the next year. The city was decorated modestly with those ornaments that we had before," Diana Kocarac, spokesman of the municipality of Budva, told SETimes.
In Ohrid, the city allotted a modest 10,000 euros for decorations and celebration.
"We like last year, will organise a humble and joyful celebration with performance by singers from the city. I think it is no time for wasting money," Ohrid Mayor Aleksandar Petreski told SETimes.
Vlora Dumoshi, the head of the Administration of Culture in Pristina, said that the city spent 42,400 euros, and that the tender for lighting and decorating the city went to the company that had the lowest bid.
"This year the municipality has decided to extend decoration on many streets and parts of the city," said Dumoshi.
However, despite the need to cut back, some citizens said that more needs to be done for celebrations.
"Every year, the same story, the same bands, the same people. The city's administration should try something new, to bring some big rock star bands. In that way, tourists would probably came to Zagreb for New Years and leave more money here. However, nothing constructive has been seen from the city's authorities for years," Zagreb resident Zdenko Galjak, 28, told SETimes.
"I think what [they] are doing is not enough. However Sarajevo is not so attractive for tourists so they would have organised a grand and glamorous celebration for New Year. That is justified for major European capitals, where people come from all over the world," Sarajevo resident Emir Nemiralija said.
However, Risto Gogoski, a professor of economy at the University in Bitola, said that although drawing tourists by holding more elaborate celebrations could be beneficial, it depends on the availability of funds.
"The investing of more money in such things is economically [beneficial] for the hotelieri and the municipalities because it will bring more guests. The decision to spend more will have a big affect, but it depends on the size of budgets," Gogoski told SETimes.
SETimes correspondents Drazen Remikovic in Zagreb and Mladen Dragojlovic in Banja Luka contributed to this article.