“Montenegro is the most valuable jewel in Mediterranean”

Interview with Ivana Lukić

 – Executive level Yachts Broker – 

“Each time I step on Montenegrin soil, my eyes open to more ideas, opportunities, and improvements”

Ivana Lukić, Executive level Yachts Broker, has held director positions in the international and regional companies – Belgrade Waterfront, Ericsson Mobile, Oriflame HO, Azimut Yachts, and Dukley Gardens for over twenty years. During this period, she was a director in leading real estate projects in Serbia and Montenegro for twelwe  years. She completed her undergraduate and Master’s studies in International Business at the prestigious American University in Madrid. For Diplomacy & Commerce Montenegro magazine, she speaks from her new position in the yachts brokerage business about the nautical world in the context of enriching Montenegro’s tourist offer. Not hiding her particular emotion towards Montenegro, she points out that the Montenegrin market is extraordinary for all nautical lovers, but it has yet to reach its zenith. Announcing a new phase in the nautical industry through company to be established, Premium Yachting Montenegro, Lukić presents us with an exciting story through innovation, luxury, and the irresistible attraction of the Montenegrin coast.

As the one of the first creators of  the Dukley Gardens project, you cooperated in Montenegro with Neil Emilfarb, the CEO of the Stratex Group. In addition, you worked on the Montenegrin coast for almost ten years as a representative of the Azimut Yachts. The word “Azimuth” is of Arabic origin, meaning the angle of the meridian and the direction of movement of the ship. How do you observe the business experiences in the Montenegrin market?

As a representative of the Azimut Benetti shipyard for Serbia and Montenegro since 2005, I had the opportunity to discover Montenegro from a slightly different perspective through the needs of my clients and their lives and stays on luxury yachts. It was a time when wide-hearted Montenegro alternately offered its beauty and history, landscapes, and unique experiences of its contrasts. However, it still lacked the conditions to provide an adequate marina to receive the mega yachts of the global and domestic elite. Still, it had something other destinations could not offer – Durmitor and Kolašin’s proximity to the sea, the uniqueness of Ada Bojana and the vividness of Ulcinj, the unique pearl of Sveti Stefan, the cultural capital of Kotor, the old olive groves of Bar, the Bay of Kotor, Ostrog, the heart of the city of Budva and a spectrum of other breathtaking non-nautical content.

After representing Azimut Benetti shipyard for Serbia and Montenegro for the first seven years, you established the company Azimut Yachts Montenegro in Porto Montenegro. It has been successfully operating for twelve years now through Azimut Yachts partner in charge of several global markets, including Montenegro.

That is correct! During that period, I also met Neil Emilfarb, a man with whom I shared and still share the same values, interests, and goals. The most vital thing connecting us to this day is our love for Montenegro and the need to leave behind something that would enrich it, give rather than take from it, and convey to it parts of our most beautiful vision and a part of ourselves through our work. That is exactly what has brought the biggest American private investment to Montenegro.

Upon significant preparations regarding the Zavala project, which was then abandoned and unfinished, we embarked on a kind of adventure, driven by our passions to restore this pearl on the peninsula, enrich it with vegetation, provide the highest level of service, and, together through the Budva marina, completed the offer for high-end clients, luxury unit plus berth . Those were years of hard work and challenges, but we never considered giving up. We were guided by the love for every Montenegrin resident, visitor, and the stone of Montenegro. We rebuilt the buried tunnel to Bečići, built many children’s playgrounds in the city, brought in world-famous stars from show business, and provided Budva with what it was missing to meet the expectations of high-end clients. We gave the Budva Riviera a project accommodating the most demanding guest and convincing any potential investor that they have made the rights choice. That is how we built Dukley, today’s symbol of construction highest quality and offer.

Your work experience and education are focused on business and investments. How do you see Montenegro as a focus destination in the VIP offer, and why?

I believe that Montenegro is the most valuable jewel in Mediterranean. At Dukley, we called it the New Mediterranean. Each time I step on Montenegrin soil, my eyes open to more ideas, opportunities, and improvements, either because of my local roots or my love for it, which creates in me a unique perspective.

It isn’t easy to please wealthy visitors to Montenegro who have been to many high-end, attractive, and expensive destinations. How can Montenegro attract, keep, and bring these tourists back?

I believe that Montenegro is precisely what the world elite needs at the moment. It indeed has much to offer to the most demanding tourist or an investor, primarily through the Dukley Dreams, Luštica Bay, Mamula, Portonovi, Dukley Kolašin projects, and Porto Montenegro. Considering that they offer the highest accommodation standard in the world, I see these and other projects as the base for high-end tourists and potential investors.

Conversely, beyond the places mentioned above, Montenegro offers a unique and authentic wealth of natural and historical beauty, possessing indestructible and centuries old, what today’s wealthiest people in the world and businesses clamor for.

It is not so hard to build resorts and provide services to a narrow circle of users, but you cannot artificially structure a “soul” of a destination! It is made up of turbulent history, buildings, and the spirit of its people. Montenegro’s attractiveness for new investments includes its wealth of non-boarding content, geographical location, untapped natural beauty, and the Government’s economic programs to attract foreign investors.

Your return to yachting will be through the new company Premium Yachting Montenegro, which supports Azimut customers from Serbia and Slovenia but, as an exclusive representative for Montenegro, sells brands such as Pirelli, Windi, Solaris, Mimi, Lomac and others. What can we expect from your company, especially regarding innovations in the nautical industry?

Nautics and Montenegro are my two loves! It was just a matter of the moment I would return to them. What has changed throughout the years of experience are the client’s needs. With yachts and mega yachts, Montenegro has many luxury resorts constructed today where our clients own branded residences or they stay in high-end hotels. Their daily stay on the Montenegrin coast for those who posses luxury residences, no longer requires a yacht, but top quality and performance day boats and dinghies.

We recognized this fact with our partner from Croatia, Navis Marine, the owner of the largest fleet of boats of renowned brands we represent, and decided to provide Montenegro with the offer it lacks. The new favorite toys of the world and domestic elites, that meet all their needs for a stay on the Montenegrin coast are smaller ships, yachts, boats, speedboats, and dinghies. We plan to introduce various brands to Montenegro so everyone can find an adequate vessel.

We offer Wider Yachts for catamaran lovers. For high-performance inflatables, we offer Pirelli and Solaris. For masterpiece speedboat lovers, we have Windy, while we plan to provide Mimi for lovers of traditional design but top technologies. Of course, our main brand for yachts remains Azimut Benetti and for markets Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, together with our Croatian partner, we keep leading market share in sold yachts in the Region.

I am happy of re-entering Montenegro market, enriching it with new products and support. It will now be possible to make each nautical dream a reality!