History ...

For decades, Montenegro has been the hidden gem of the Adriatic region. Largely overlooked by mass tourism, this stunningly beautiful and diverse country is now tipped as one of the most dynamic property investment hotspots in the world, thanks to its breathtaking countryside, glorious coastline and welcoming population.

Located on the stunning Adriatic Sea, Montenegro is a country of remarkable geographical contrasts. An unspoilt coastline, with azure seas and hidden coves, sits perfectly alongside shimmering glacial lakes, lush forests, soaring mountains and picturesque villages. The 293 kilometre coastline is dotted with historic old towns and stunning beaches.

With an enviable location in the heart of central Europe, Montenegro went through a difficult period during the Yugoslavian wars in the late 1980s and 1990s, but is now rapidly gaining attention and recognition on the international tourism trail.

The World Travel and Tourism Council ranks Montenegro third among the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world and its tourism sector has risen by over 17% per annum in the last few years. The government has also unveiled a detailed tourism plan which aims to open up the country's hotel and tourism industry to the free market and to set a framework to ensure careful planning of developments on the coast. Their aim is to guarantee that supply doesn't outstrip demand, which some argue has happened in other emerging markets around the world.

In 2004, EUR42.8 million was invested in tourism and this is projected to increase to EUR121.2 million by 2014. The European Bank for Re-construction and Development (ERBD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are underwriting major investment in airports and railways, highways and waterways. All of these factors can only be a good thing for property investors who purchase early.

Potential investors have a choice of options, from off plan, new build developments on the coast to more traditional renovations in the countryside. Thanks to the stringent regulations, build quality is exceptional with many developments boasting stunning locations and first class facilities.

One highlight is Mimosa Park, next to the Mediterranean's only fjord in Kumbor, which is due for completion in late 2008. The development will be made up of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom freehold apartments and penthouses, all set in 14,000 sq ft of landscaped gardens. Each property will have an outside space and there will be three swimming pools, as well as a leisure area, gym and cafe. Prices for Mimosa Park start at GBP100,000.

Pelle Langli, chief executive of Emerging Real Estate - the company selling Mimosa Park, said; 'Over the last few years, Montenegro's profile and popularity has been getting stronger and stronger. It's a wonderful country that has something for everyone and the current statistics show that the property market is likely to be a sound investment.' He concluded; 'The number of tourists is currently increasing at a rate of 17% per year and by 2014 Montenegro is expected to become the fastest growing tourist destination in the world.

There's no doubt that it's an exciting time for Montenegro and if the predictions are correct the potential returns for investors look sound.