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Technical Specialist for Sustainable Tourism (NPSA-10)


  • Organization: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
  • Location: Belgrade
  • Grade: Mid level - NPSA-10, National Personnel Services Agreement
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Development Cooperation and Sustainable Development Goals
    • Environment
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Project and Programme Management
    • Public, Private Partnership
    • Sustainable Tourism
  • Closing Date: Closed
UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
According to recent statistics, the tourism sector in Serbia has been steadily recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic slowdown. During first 6 months of 2022 foreign exchange inflow from tourism amounted to 969 million euros which is 57,6% more than in the same period of last year. According to National Tourism Organisation of Serbia, year 2022 is most likely to surpass the tourism industry record results in 2019, in terms of total number of overnight stays, which demonstrates the remarkable potential of tourism industry in Serbia. Looser travel restrictions, visa-free regime for 93 countries, outstanding nature, historical and cultural heritage, excellent geographical location etc. are all favourable conditions for attracting more foreign and domestic visitors in all parts of Serbia.

During the COVID pandemic, the demand for the local tourism has soared, and it helped to identify the needs for further development of this sector. UNDP research showed that tourism, hospitality, and creative industries outside large cities and in rural areas are still enjoying popularity, as many people decide to spend their holidays and short breaks in the country, despite the increased opportunities to travel abroad. Post-covid period, combined with ongoing energy and security crisis has brough up new trends in tourism and travel industry. More and more visitors, both domestic and foreign, are opting for safe and healthy destinations which are hidden gems in terms of natural landscape, undiscovered cultural and historical heritage as well as authentic local gastronomic experience. Current tourism trends are showing that travelers are becoming more interested in ecotourism, agritourism, cultural tourism and responsible tourism i.e. all forms of sustainable tourism, putting emphasis on boutique travel experiences based on respect for the environment, cultural diversity and social inclusivity. The rise of domestic travel into rural areas, especially in the mountains and spas in Serbia, has caused a concern due to the recent overflows of tourists, which could have negative impact on the environment, and which proves the necessity for sustainable destination management.

In practice, sustainable tourism links the planning functions of tourism development with the social goals of tourism into a concrete set of guidelines for the future. Sustainable tourism development is dependent on forward-looking policies and new management philosophies that seek harmonious balance between local community, private sector, academic institutions and finally, governments and authorities at all levels, to develop practices that protect the nature, the society and the culture in a way that is compatible with economic growth. More precisely, making tourism in Serbia more sustainable means re-examining current strategies and growth models, adjusting promotion and communication channels to the needs of modern post-covid traveler. Sustainable tourism also means putting emphasis of micro, small and medium enterprises in supporting them to become greener and more environmentally and socially responsible.  

In recent decades, UNDP Serbia has become a reliable development partner of the Government of Serbia, supporting various initiatives related to the accomplishment of the principles of the Agenda 2030. The inauguration of the UNDP SDG Integration Center in 2019, has reaffirmed the determination of UNDP to support the national partners on their path to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

In supporting the Government in defining the strategic approach to sustainable tourism, UNDP Serbia is developing a wider sustainable tourism promotion portfolio across the country. Pilot sites of this portfolio include the Valjevo mountain range and the Vlasina lake. With the goal to build on current initiatives, UNDP is in search of a Technical Specialist for Sustainable Tourism who will support UNDP by providing quality technical advice, support, and guidance for the implementation of sustainable tourism solutions, taking into consideration best international practices.

Duties and Responsibilities
The Technical Specialist for Sustainable Tourism will provide oversight, quality assurance, and compliance with fund/donor requirements for programming initiatives for the sustainable tourism portfolio within the SDG Integration Center (UNDP Country Office Serbia). The Technical Specialist is primarily responsible for providing technical, policy, and programming implementation advisory support and oversight, and knowledge and capacity development services pertaining to the work of the sustainable tourism portfolio, working with other UN agencies, governments and inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, donors, the private sector and many others. Specific results are expected in the areas of:

Innovation, Policy Dialogue and Advocacy:

  • Provide timely and quality technical advice, support, and guidance to the SDG Integration Center in the design, implementation, and monitoring of the initiatives under the sustainable tourism portfolio in line with UNDP’s rules and regulations, policies, and procedures.
  • Providing strategic advisory services to government counterparts on opportunities and means for accelerating tourism development in the country and integrating an innovation and sustainability lens in the process. 
  • Establish and maintain a strategic understanding of and engagement with all the relevant institutions, including establishing contact and developing strategic partnerships with other agencies, donors, NGOs, the private sector, and academia.
  • Identification of opportunities the country can pursue for promoting Serbia as a sustainable tourism destination; providing policy development support and guidance therein; engagement in policy and advocacy work with external partners in specific global markets where relevant.
  • Facilitating policy analysis and developing technical tools to implement initiatives under the sustainable tourism portfolio.
  • Contributing to the identification, development, and implementation of new strategic and innovative programming opportunities and partnerships in the area of tourism and sustainable development.

Resource Mobilization and Portfolio Development:

  • Proactively contributing to strengthening donor relationships and raising funds for UNDP’s sustainable tourism portfolio, including grant funding.
  • Supporting programme and project identification and development, including integrated approaches and multifocal area projects.
  • Facilitating the process of preparation, design, submission, and approval of programme/project concepts and full-fledged proposals for financing.
  • Explore opportunities for attracting tourists to Serbia from overseas destinations.
  • Explore opportunities for carbon offsetting of tourist services
  • Providing guidance and support in the identification and sourcing of technical expertise and support, including preparation of TORs, identification, and evaluation of experts, and reviewing reports.
  • Facilitating liaisons with potential financing agencies and institutions.
  • Supporting the development of strategic policy and guidance for strengthening UNDP Country Offices with tourism and sustainable development project design and implementation including alignment with national priorities.

Learning, Knowledge Management and Self Development: 

  • Evaluating, capturing, codifying, synthesizing lessons and stimulating the uptake of best practices and knowledge, including the development of knowledge materials;
  • Peer reviewing, commenting on, and seeking to improve the technical quality of programmes/projects, policies, practices, guidelines, advisory notes, publications and the like;
  • Responding to queries on programme/project progress, impacts and lessons;
  • Developing and carrying out a personal learning plan.
  • Preparing reports and communications pieces effectively showcasing socio-economic development benefits as well as environment results.

Institutional Arrangement

The incumbent will report directly to the SDG Integration Center Team Leader/SDGi Programme Specialist in the UNDP Serbia Country Office and will be a part of the SDG Integration Center team, benefitting from its technical and programmatic infrastructure.

Core Competencies:
  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands
  • Act with Determination: LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

People Management Competencies:

UNDP People Management Competencies can be found in the dedicated site
Cross Functional & Technical Competencies:
  • Business Direction & Strategy - Strategic thinking: 
    • Ability to leverage learning from a variety of sources to anticipate and respond to future trends; to demonstrate foresight in order to model what future developments and possible ways forward look like for UNDP
  • Business Development - UNDP Representation: 
    • Ability to represent UNDP and productively share UNDP knowledge and activities; advocate for UNDP, its values, mission and work with various constituencies
  • Partnership Management - Resource mobilization:
    • Ability to identify funding sources, match funding needs (programmes/projects/initiatives) with funding opportunities, and establish a plan to meet funding requirements
  • Business Management - Risk Management:
    • Ability to identify and organise action around mitigating and proactively managing risks
  • Partnership Management - Relationship Management:
    • Ability to engage with a wide range of public and private partners, build, sustain and/or strengthen working relations, trust and mutual understanding

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master’s degree in development studies, economics, business administration, tourism and hospitality or other related field.
  • Bachelor’s degree with additional 2 years of relevant professional experience may be accepted in lieu of the Master’s degree.
  • Minimum 5 years (with Master’s degree) or 7 years (with Bachelor’s degree) of work experience at senior levels in areas relevant for the post, such as sustainable tourism, project development and management of complex project in creative industries.

Required Languages:

  • Fluency in English and Serbian (written and spoken). 

Required Skills:

  • Experience in conducting analysis and formulating strategies with key focus on sustainability standards.
  • Experience in formulating sustainable tourism solutions.
  • Exposure to tourism potentials from overseas markets.

Desired skills in addition to the competencies covered in the Competencies section:

  • Prior work in the UN system shall be considered an asset
  • Good organizational and time management skills
  • Good application of Results-Based Management
  • Good communication, coordination and facilitation skills
  • Consistently ensures timeliness and quality of portfolio work
  • Establishes lasting relationships and substantive dialogue with clients
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling

The following documents shall be required from the applicants:

  1. Personal CV or P11, indicating all past positions held and their main underlying functions, their durations (month/year), the qualifications, as well as the contact details (email and telephone number) of the Candidate, and at least three (3) the most recent professional references of previous supervisors. References may also include peers.
  2. A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page) indicating why the candidate considers him-/herself to be suitable for the position.
  3. Managers may ask (ad hoc) for any other materials relevant to pre-assessing the relevance of their experience, such as reports, presentations, publications, campaigns or other materials.
Applicant information about UNDP rosters
Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.
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This vacancy is now closed.
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