The winter season has demonstrated that the Gold Gondola is a center for promoting a healthy lifestyle and authentic tastes, successfully blending modern tourism offerings with the spirit of tradition in the Zlatibor region. Zlatibor has broken all records in terms of visitors, with the gondola transporting around 38,000 passengers in January this year. This is not surprising, considering the diverse activities that attract a significant number of visitors, recognizing the gondola as a place of entertainment for all generations, especially families with children. With over 800,000 passengers transported, this public enterprise celebrated its third year of operation in January 2024 signaling that the gondola is paving the way for modern tourism on Zlatibor.
The winter on the gondola was marked by new activities that enriched the leisure time of all guests. The "Snow Escape" entertainment program offered numerous outdoor activities, including a sport’s day, tea parties, children's and art workshops, preparation of traditional specialties, and daily parties. For the first time this season, visitors at the gondola's final station could experience the party atmosphere similar to European mountain resorts. Additionally, a new café at Tornik brought extra comfort to enthusiasts of entertainment, nature and tasty beverages.
"We have continued in the spirit of healthy lifestyles that we are known for. On Mondays, our guests were offered sports activities, including free Nordic skiing lessons and obstacle courses. Tuesdays featured the “Zlatibor tea party” offering hot drinks at the Gondola Bar with a 50% discount. Wednesdays, under the theme “Winter Joys” were especially joyful for the little ones participating in creative workshops, searching for the “Golden Pinecone” enjoying snow games. Thursdays were dedicated to art lovers and painting in an event called “Brush and Glass” accompanied by mulled wine. Every other Thursday featured “Snowy Pot” involving the preparation of traditional Zlatibor specialties that guests tasted in an unforgettable natural setting. Fridays and Saturdays were reserved for “Mountain Peak Parties” designed for the young at heart, similar to experiences of daily parties in world-renowned mountain resorts," says Bojana Božanić, the director of the Public Enterprise "Gold Gondola Zlatibor," adding that a new souvenir shop with a significantly more diverse range of products was opened at the starting station.
Tourists show the most interest in the combination of nature, authentic tastes, and creativity. In collaboration with Zlatibor Eco Agrar, the gondola provided its visitors with the opportunity to enjoy warm bites of some of the favorite Zlatibor dishes – kacamak and popara – with a glass of local, organic milk.
"The combination of various activities aims to create enjoyable experiences for Zlatibor guests, expanding our offerings and providing something different. I believe that these traditional products, together with organic milk from our partners at Eco Agrar and dairy “Naša Zlatka” will find their way to the hearts and stomachs of all dear guests, as this organic milk and products are made here, on the slopes of Tornik. We are pleased to showcase and taste this, together with our partners from Eco Agrar," says Božanić.
This gastronomic adventure on Zlatibor not only highlights the rich cultural heritage of the region but also emphasizes the importance of preserving traditional food preparation methods and using exclusively natural, organic ingredients. As Thursdays on the gondola focused on food for body and soul as part of winter activities, the event “Brush and Glass” took place. Participants painted on canvas under the guidance of academic painter Danica Jevtić Šišović in an inspiring mountain setting while enjoying warm winter drinks from the Gondola Bar.
"In addition to tourism and entertainment, the operation of the Gold Gondola is characterized by social responsibility. Our goal is to promote local products and entrepreneurship through our services, as we are aware that our role as a public enterprise is crucial in preserving tradition. We have found the right balance for modern tourism, which, despite its massiveness, requires the preservation of culture and nature," says Božanić.
Within the “Snow Escape” program, every other Thursday in January was reserved for the “Snowy Pot” featuring the preparation of homemade meals. Visitors quickly embraced this service, creating a habit of coming to the gondola not just for the ride but to spend the entire day.
“Snow Escape” is not just the name of the winter entertainment program on Zlatibor's Gold Gondola; it is also a message to visitors to take a break from the stressful daily life in cities. Creativity, sportsmanship, art, hot drinks, traditional Zlatibor specialties, and open-air parties have introduced a new form of entertainment on Zlatibor, with the youngest passengers enjoying it the most. In the spirit of healthy lifestyles, Mondays this winter were reserved for sports enthusiasts and active relaxation. Visitors had the opportunity to learn the basics of Nordic skiing through free lessons at the mid-station, reviving a sport for which Zlatibor was once famous in the former Yugoslavia. The gondola made an effort to revive and make this sports activity attractive.
“Winter Joys” on Wednesdays at Tornik showed that children still enjoy spending time outdoors, contrary to claims that the new generations prefer the digital world. Colorful markers and fresh air are enough to create new worlds that only children can imagine. Creative workshops and snow games brightened the winter days for the little ones who showcased their imagination and playfulness while socializing with their peers. In a time when it is increasingly challenging to capture the attention of school-age children, the gondola found a way to engage and offer a healthy concept of fun in a mountainous environment. These activities are especially suitable for parents who always know that there is some form of entertainment for children on the gondola.
After three years of operation, starting from January 11, 2021, the Zlatibor gondola is no longer just the biggest tourist attraction but a benchmark for modern tourism. In gratitude and celebration of this day, the first passengers received a free ride and a drink at the Gondola Bar. Continuing at this pace, the gondola is surely heading towards the golden milestone of a million passengers, with the current count already reaching approximately 800,000."