The year 2019 was “the golden age” for tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but experts told N1 that, according to the data so far, they expect 2022 to be a “record-breaking” year for the country’s tourism sector.
“As for winter tourism, we have had an increase of 6.7 percent since 2019, and already in the first quarter of the summer we have an increase of more than 11 percent, which tells us that this year we will have the best summer season ever,” the head of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Community, Kenan Magoda, told N1.
“We are a unique city for Europe. One can feel the charm of the orient and see modern Europe and unique architecture. The proximity of the airport indicates that we can also promote our local mountains. There is also a historical heritage that we must not forget, and which is very attractive to all tourists,” said Magoda, adding BiH also has natural attractions and that the country is “not even aware of the potential” it has.
Zarko Vico, an expert associate of the Tourist Community of the city of Trebinje, said his town has already reached the turnover from the record season of 2019 last year.
“In the first five months, we have significantly surpassed 2019. Foreign guests keep returning. In addition to individual visits, we also record group visits from countries such as China, Malaysia and Japan. That shows that the season ahead of us will be the best so far,” he said.
He noted, however, that many businesspersons from Trebinje are facing a growing problem of labour shortage, and the announcement of a good tourist season in Montenegro and Croatia has drawn many to those countries. This is especially true when it comes to the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, he said.
“It is really difficult for us to compete with Dubrovnik, which is able to allocate more funds for catering and tourist workers,” he said.
Miroslav Matosevic, director of the Central Bosnia Canton Tourist Organisation, agreed as well.
“We have developed winter tourism and this year we did well. In the pre-season, we are already recording a very large number of guests. Central Bosnia is known for school excursions. The towns of Jajce and Travnik are full of students. During the summer season, we have great interest from the Arabian Peninsula, but also from the countries of the region. The most attractive destinations are Vlasic, Jajce, Travnik, Fojnica, but Vitez as a city has been making strong progress lately,” he said.
The coordinator of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas program from the Center for the Environment, commented on environmental protection, saying that we must be aware of the beauties we have, but also that we can easily lose them.
Coordinator for Biodiversity and protected areas at the Center for Environment, Aleksandra Anja Dragomirovic, noted that BiH must be aware of the natural attractions and warned that this should not be taken for granted.
“We often take the attractions of our country for granted, such as our natural heritage that is specific, our beautiful rivers and mountains, etc. We should always be aware that this is in some ways very easy to lose and destroy. One way to lose that is through bad planning and bad strategies,” she said.
“We go to the mountains and see huge construction sites. It is completely clear to me that this is important, but it must not be the purpose and the goal. Do we want to have urban centres on the tops of the mountains or do we want to have a healthy environment,” she asked, warning that this could deter tourists who want to visit natural attractions.