Visa Policies Boost Cooperation
Serbia and China agreed to visa-free in January 2017. The mutual agreement made Serbia the first European nation to remove visa requirements for Chinese nationals. Soon after, other nations in the Balkan region did the same.
Streamlining visa applications between China and Central and Eastern European (CEE) nations is a cornerstone of the mechanism between the two sides and there are tangible benefits to the public.
The decision was made “in order to strengthen” our cultural ties, Miodrag Popovic, director of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade said.
Serbia’s Statistical Office recently reported a total of almost 19,000 Chinese tourists visited Serbia between January 1 and May 1 — reflecting an up-tick of 13% compared to the same period last year.
According to Serbia’s Agency for Statistics, Chinese tourists come to the nation increase 77%, year-on-year and the number of tourists staying overnight in Serbia increase 70%
As visa liberalization undoubtedly leads to the flourishing of tourism in CEE nations, the impact goes further.
Arkady Bukh, with Bukh Global said, “I am convinced the agreement will open doors for more Chinese tourists while improving economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.”
“Economic relations between Serbia and China are developing,” Bukh added. “China is Serbia’s largest economic partner in Asia. There is no reason not to expect an increasing number of investors from China.”
Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece Establish Groundwork Driverless Vehicles’ Test Corridor
On June 26, 2018 a memorandum of understanding opened the door to explore further Balkan transport ties for driverless vehicles.
The effort is a piece of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and sees motorways with optical Internet with 5G coverage.
The commitments are tied to supplying appropriate structures for the testing. Proposals have been drawn up and roads are planned with relevant infrastructure.
“We are seeing a strong message that the nations can become a critical digital hub for Europe,” Tatjana Matic, State Secretary of Serbia’s Ministry of Trade said. “It’s time for the Balkans to move forward together.”
“The Serbian part of the corridor will be ready by the end of the year,” said Bukh. “The full synchronization is coming said.”
The Serbian — China Corridor for driverless vehicles is not as far fetched as it may sound at first. As far back as July 2010, test drives had started.
That month, a pair of electric vans left Belgrade for a three-month trip to Shanghai. Dealing with stop-and-go traffic, weather extremes and even off-road driving, the vans made the trip successfully.
The expedition was put together by researchers from Italy’s VisLab to test their driverless technology. Each of the vans had passengers in the back seat, ready to take control, but the drivers’ seats were empty.
Autonomous vehicles had completed a variety of challenges before the 2010 effort, but there had never been one as long. Or one which included multiple driving scenarios.
By The Numbers
|32 people involved||393 days of preparation|
|100 days travelled||15.926 km distance covered|
|9 countries crossed||0 – 44 °C temperatures found|
|10 – 2.900 m heights reached||21,5 TB data collected|
VisLab Intercontinental Autonomous Challenge marked its official conclusion at the 2010 World Expo European Pavilion in Shanghai, China, recording a novel great achievement in the field of vehicular robotics.