In an article for Arab News, the reporter and photographer Tharik Hussain writes on a number of reasons why Arab tourists actually love BiH.
According to him, there is a lot of cheap things in BiH, the climate is favorable and BiH is a friendly country for Muslims.
“My family feels very comfortable when we are in BiH, and this is not the case when we visit some other European countries,” said an Arab tourist in an interview with Hussain.
This reporter states that BiH is actually one of the most attractive European destination for Arab tourists.
“Portion of kebabs cost only 5 BAM. Something you will not find anywhere else in Europe. During my stay in Sarajevo, I met with a number of Arab tourists. Children are playing in the streets, and teenagers are making selfies near Sebilj, the symbol of Sarajevo. In 2010, there were only 1,000 tourists from Arab countries in BiH. Now, that number amounts to 60,000 on an annual basis,” says Hussain.
He added that Arab tourists appreciate the fact that there are many mosques in BiH and that our country has a certain Islamic tradition. Also attractive are our thermal waters, rivers and lakes, green areas and the fact that they can buy halal products in BiH.
“This is a country perfect for skiing in winter and water sports in summer. BiH has incredible architecture, especially from the Ottoman period, “says Hussain.
At the same time, BiH is flourishing in Islamic education, said Hussain, adding that more and more people in BiH learn Arabic.
“When you look at Sarajevo Sebilj you realize that Bosnians have always been at the service to all visitors. They the still determined to carry on this custom,” says Hussain.
There is a reason the traditional destinations of many Gulf tourists were Switzerland and Austria. The natural, green beauty of the Alpine Mountains offers an escape simply unheard of in the dry, arid lands they hail from.
Now the Gulf tourists wandering into Bosnia and Herzegovina are beginning to realize that it isn’t just Central Europe that is blessed with rolling, lush, green mountains where crystal-clear springs come crashing down onto rocks and form stunning blue rivers, creating scenery that seems to mirror Quranic descriptions of heaven.
“But it isn’t just halal food that makes the cuisine of Bosnia and Herzegovina so agreeable to the Gulf tourist. The lengthy period spent under Ottoman rule means that the nation adopted the Central Asian love of grilled meat and bread, a familiar staple across the Muslim world. Bosnia’s national dish is the cebap, the country’s take on the Turkish kebab. These small kofte-like meat patties are lightly salted and spiced and come served in freshly baked round Bosnian bread with a side of fried onions. This familiar-sounding dish is available everywhere, the beauty being in its simplicity,” Hussain said.