HISTORY OF RAMS TRAVEL AGENCY
Rams is a breath of fresh air coming from the north of Montenegro, a travel agency established in 2005 in Bijelo Polje, a family business managed by Musa and Sabina Ramovic. Nowdays, the agency employes five staff on a full-time basis and a large number of seasonal employees many of whom are completing their professional competence training. Their business has been flourishing so far, while adjusting to the current tourism development trends in Montenegro.
In the time when Rams started operating, the tourism product in Montenegro was characterised by reasonably well developed beach tourism in the summer months in the country's south and a real lack of development of the other regions of the country. At that time, the institutions in charge of tourism development, in cooperation with with donor organizations, started implementing numerous active tourism development projects in the central and norhern regions of the country. There was, however, a scarcity of local partners who were capable of competently implementing the new activities of hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, ecological tourism, free climbing and winter sports projects in the field. It was only after the second stage of the global economic crisis, when Montenegro began to experience stronger international cooperation and improved networking, which included Montenegro twinning with European regions that things began to pick up. During those years, representatives from Beton Montenegro came from France to Bijelo Polje, with their desire to attract French tourists to Montenegro. Rams was in charge of the arrangements for the said visit, wishing to present the authentic values of the Montenegrin village, its customs, hospitality and home-made traditional food. Officialy, that was their first rural tourism tour. Until that time, Montenegro had not been involved in the development of rural tourism as an independent tourism product.
Since then, Rams has become the new trademark and the leader of rural tourism and its further development. Rams has now arranged tours of the north of Montenegro for numerous tourists, aged from 5 months to 86 years old, and who arrived from twenty countries from all over the world. Their tours are all accompanied by trained English, German, Russian, French and Italian speaking guides. They have also built up a strong network with their counterparts from many other countries such as France, Greece, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, and the countries of the region. They are active members of two associations, namely of the CTU (Montenegrin Tourism Association) and the MOA (Montenegro Outdoor Agencies Association.)
As a result of its outstanding performance, Rams won the Wild Beauty Award in 2011.,in an event organized by the National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro where the best tourism actors receive awards for their performance during the year.
As for being transformed from novices in tourism to becoming renowned professionals, their development has been marked both by their great desire to succeed and their willingness to cooperate with all the other partners in tourism. They have participated continuously in training programmes to gain new knowledge and been helped by a bit of luck that has followed them on their way to success and that has pleasantly surprised them several times. One of these surprises took place during a tourism fair held in Koln, Germany, in which they made contact with the Dutch organisation, the CBI (the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries) that has worked through them extensively in the following years, in a huge EU projects (Export Coaching Program for Tourism). The cooperation in this Project has enabled Rams, for the purpose of improving their operations, to enjoy mentorship delivered by the said Centre, as well as organised visits to tourism fairs throughout Europe, and ongoing training courses - which they do not miss even today.
All their know-how has been shared from day one with their local partners, with whom they have close cooperation in preparing tours. Sabina and Musa have spent countless hours with rural householders, teaching them how to respond to tourist's demands. Over the years, they have created a network of numerous local partners such as rural householders, sport clubs, tourism organisations, and caterers. With their great awareness of the principles of sustainable development and drive to improve the standard of living in their community, they have arranged international youth eco camps, organised student exchange visits, and searched for donors to support training events for new tourist guides in the northern region of Montenegro. Their work in the community has been recognised by their international partners as well, who nominated them for this year National Geographic ''Engaging Communities '' Award.
As they freely admit, they have learned the most from the tourists. Sabina and Musa accompany their guests while they touring Montenegro, they make friends with them, listen to them when they express their needs and expectations and when they give their impressions of their visits.
"Profit does not matter as much as preventing your guests from leaving Montenegro in any way dissatisfied with their holiday".. - Sabina Ramovic.