The place and role of tourism in economic development of Serbia is an important question that deserves special attention and it represents the main subject of this paper. The paper will present data that point out to current condition and degree of development of this activity in the country. The paper will result in the synthesis of theory and statistical data that will show the position of tourism in relation to other activities; based on the analysis of the given data, there will be an attempt to prove that tourism is more important than is now believed. Also, a number of strategic activities will be suggested, with the goal of including tourism in wider economic currents, and, by that, point out its influence on macroeconomic segments, above all employment. The main goal of the paper is to show that tourism can significantly contribute to faster economic recovery of Serbia, and for that reason its development should be well planned, rather than random, which points to the necessity to design an appropriate strategy for development of the economy.