Talking to Romy Hawatt about Porto Montenegro, Global Investments, and More.
It’s rare to meet someone who has the insight and foresight to invest in places before they become major investment attractions but this seems to be very much the case with one of our renowned residents.
Romy Hawatt, is a successful entrepreneur, driven businessman, and generous philanthropist who was one of the early movers when it came to Porto Montenegro. He now owns and maintains significant holdings in his little slice of Montenegrin paradise.
With a long history of deal-making and business development on an international scale, Romy has a keen eye and is a seasoned negotiator when it comes to investment opportunities. This is what we will be talking to him about today.
1. How did you hear about Porto Montenegro?
“Having become familiar with the Balkans region through my travels during the Yugoslavian era, I quickly developed a specific interest in Montenegro years before its re-independence in 2006.
In 2008, some advertising alerted me to the development of Porto Montenegro and I kept myself updated on the project until I decided the time was ripe to start investing there in 2011.”
2. Had you visited Porto Montenegro before investing in the project?
“I had not had the opportunity to visit the project before 2011 but when I finally arrived, I was so impressed with the development and its location that I immediately (on the very first visit) committed to investing in residential real estate and other business investments that operate within or from Porto Montenegro. Since this time my investments in Montenegro have topped EUR 22 million and continue to rise as many of the new opportunities in the country emerge.
Overall, my investments have been wide-ranging and have spread to other parts of the country as a spin-off in the areas of residential apartment developments, commercial building acquisitions, development land purchases, helicopter, and airplane scenic and charter, aviation education and training, destination management and tourism, F&B, and yacht charter.”
3. What drew you to the location?
I personally found Porto Montenegro to have all of the benefits and conveniences for living a high-quality Mediterranean-Riviera lifestyle (without the pretense and BS of some of the other popular spots we all know about).
With nothing short of only the best yachting facilities and marina services, all located strategically mid-point in the clean waters of the Adriatic, between the beautiful mountains that surround and protect both Boka and Kotor Bays, it’s a very hard location to beat for so many compounding reasons.
5. You have established businesses in Montenegro. What drew you to the country as a base for your company and investing here generally?
“Numerous factors come into play but generally apart from the clean environment and healthy work/life lifestyle; I would say some key considerations for me include the fact that Montenegro has flat income and corporate tax rates of 9%.
Property taxes are also very low, ranging between 0.1% and 1.0%, and this makes it one of the (if not the) most competitive tax rates in the world – especially in the context of the many surrounding European countries.
Montenegro also has well-established double taxation treaties with many significant partner countries (around 40, I believe), including the US, China, the UK, the UAE, Switzerland, etc.
The Euro is the established currency, so minimal exchange rate risks with the country on the ascension path to full EEC membership.
Montenegro is already one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism destinations, as its economic growth is forecasted to be a steady 5% per annum, and tourism is growing at an even faster rate. This little country is even being touted to become the fastest growing tourist destination over the coming 5 to 10 years, and that should be taken seriously from an investor’s perspective.
One may also argue (from an investors point of view) that Montenegro is also secure geopolitically as the newest member of NATO.”
6. How would you describe the business environment in Montenegro?
“Over the course of my career, I have invested, established companies, and managed and operated various categories of businesses (large and small) across more than 30 countries. I can therefore confidently state from my own experience that in relation to convenience and the ease of establishing and maintaining a cost-effective local or regional business presence, corporate branch or resident holding company, the two best locations (although both very different in terms of their stature, economy size, and business models) would have to be Dubai and Montenegro. Each is, of course, appealing and unique in their own ways.”
In the context of this discussion, I would therefore encourage those business operators, entrepreneurs, and investors to make their own inquiries into the multiple benefits of setting up (even if it is just in the context of a holding company) in Montenegro.”
7. How would you describe your experience as part of the Porto Montenegro community?
Overall, the experience for me has been excellent, and I have and intend to continue to enjoy the convenient, relaxed yet active, and well-paced quality of personal and business life here. In the 10 years that I have been based in Porto Montenegro, I have witnessed lots of growth activity and an ever-increasing variety of food, restaurant, shopping, and services choices. The community just becomes more and more vibrant, better established, and convenient to live in year on year.”
8. What do you plan on doing with your investments going forward (living, renting, selling for profit?)
“In Porto Montenegro, I have a combination of investments, including residential and retail. Some of the residential investments are held for personal use and lifestyle, whilst others I have as income sources. I have not sold any of my investments at this stage, although I will always contemplate limited sales if the right offer(s) come along.
Generally speaking, I am expanding and accelerating my investment program across the country and have several commercial as well as residential projects now completed and others in development. I am also currently looking at agricultural-type investments in the north of Montenegro. Organic farming and the production of truly natural products produced at the source has always been of appeal to me.”
9. Have you had other investments in Europe?
I currently own or have had significant personal, business (mainly aviation-related these days) and real estate investments in the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy as well as Montenegro.
10. Have you had many family and friends visit Porto Montenegro? What was their experience?
“Over the years, I have introduced family and numerous friends, colleagues, investors, and business associates to Montenegro. All have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and been more than pleasantly surprised by what the destination has to offer. Some have also purchased their own real estate and set up businesses as well as becoming regular vacationers.”
11. What would you, as an owner of a unit at Porto Montenegro, say to prospective buyers?
“Up until recently, Montenegro was a place that remained largely unknown to the greater world, but now the tourism and investment potential is rapidly coming on the radar as the country gains recognition as one of the world’s must-visit destinations.
I would absolutely encourage anyone looking for a beautiful, safe, affordable, and relaxed place to invest in a holiday or second home to look at Porto Montenegro as well as the surrounding developments. I would especially encourage any that are also seeking a passport with access to the Schengen zone along with many other countries to take a hard look at what is on offer here at Porto Montenegro.”
12. In what activities do you participate during your spare time in and around Montenegro?
“When not working, my time is usually spent sailing, swimming, hiking, trekking, and flying the helicopter whenever the weather permits. I also enjoy making an occasional road trip as the region is full of amazing places to explore. In the winter months, it’s great to spend time in the surrounding mountains and snowfields, where there are numerous places to walk, ski, and snowboard, amongst other activities.”
More about Porto Montenegro
One of the most sought-after waterfront addresses on the Adriatic coast, Porto Montenegro is home to a top-tier Yacht Marina and an array of high-end neighborhoods flanked by outstanding restaurants and shops.
The village’s newest neighborhood, Boka Place, is one of the most exciting residential projects in the region, offering a fitness-infused lifestyle filled to the brim with magnificent activities and mouth-watering food, beverage, and other varieties of retail shops.
To find out more about Boka Place, contact us at Porto Montenegro today.