A police orchestra perform at the opening of the Belgrade Boat Carnival in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 25, 2018. Hundreds of boats greeted crowds gathered on Saturday at the Belgrade Waterfront at the traditional boat carnival that marks the ending of the summer tourist season. (Xinhua/Nemanja Cabric)
BELGRADE, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of boats greeted crowds gathered on Saturday at the Belgrade Waterfront at another traditional boat carnival that marks the ending of the summer tourist season, bringing it closer to the wished reputation of a regional tourist hub.
The 14th Belgrade Boat Carnival traditionally organized by the Tourist Organization of Belgrade (TOB) took place at the Sava River in downtown Belgrade, attracting hundreds of tourists, visitors and locals.
Over the years, the carnival turned into a tradition, and lots of visitors come here to enjoy in its recognizable charm, spokeswoman of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade (TOB) Jelena Stankovic explained to Xinhua.
It promotes the life on Belgrade's two rivers -- Sava and Danube -- points to the importance of protecting the environment, especially the littoral zone of the city, she said.
"This is an interesting and an important segment of the life of our city. Among the participants at the carnival are also tourist boats that carried the city's visitors to sightseeing tours throughout the summer season," she said.
Besides the procession of boats, the carnival program also brought performances of children choirs, popular musicians and a police orchestra -- mostly to suit the taste of manifestation's most eager visitors -- families with kids.
She said that the idea is to build upon the fact that Belgrade lies on two major international rivers, and that this is a major segment of its tourist potential that deserves attention within the plans to develop Belgrade's infrastructure.
So far this season, Belgrade had received 15 percent more tourists comparing to the same period of last year.
"Structure of guests also changed a lot. While in the past years most tourists came from regional countries, now among top ten are those from China, Russia, the United States and Israel," Stankovic told Xinhua.
According to her, thanks to the direct flight between Belgrade and Beijing, it is much easier for Chinese tourists to visit Belgrade, as well as the rest of Serbia and the region.
"We worked for several years to make a regional tourist offer for tourists coming from far destinations, results are starting to show," she concluded.