Owners of catering and crafts stores in Mostar’s Old City held a meeting on Sunday because of the extremely difficult situation they were in, virtually collapsing in tourism due to the coronavirus epidemic. At the meeting, they appealed to all relevant institutions in Mostar to adopt mitigation measures for the coronavirus pandemic, according to Avaz news portal.
As they emphasized, they first ask the owners of the premises in Stari Grad, namely the City of Mostar, the Islamic Community of Mostar and the Serbian Orthodox Church of Mostar, to be released from rent for a period of 60 to 90 days, depending on the situation.
They also ask the competent institutions to subsidize contributions, salaries and release of certain costs and fees. “The goal is to avoid total collapse and, practically, we are looking for a way to survive, not to close shops and send people home, because in this situation it is inevitable that many restaurants will be closed,” Mostar tourist workers explained to Avaz.
Manufacturing, transport, tourism were particularly affected, about 850,000 overnight stays canceled in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was stated at a press conference after today’s meeting between Stasa Kosarac, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH with representatives of the Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH, Chamber of Commerce of Republika Srpska, Chamber of Commerce of FBiH, Chamber of Commerce of Brcko District and Union of Employers Association of RS and Federation of Employers of FBiH of a new coronavirus strain (COVID-19) on economics.
Kosarac said that measures are being taken to address the consequences, that they will have more meetings with the relevant ministries in the entities to draw conclusions and to serve the BiH economy, Radio Sarajevo reports.
He said that Foreign Trade Chamber of BiH would be the main information gathering center for the Ministry of Foreign Trade to assist businesses, especially those involved in transport. Asked about the extra profit generated by some retailers by raising prices, Kosarac said no one would be allowed to raise the prices of basic food items.
Speaking about food supplies in the country, or measures in this regard, he said that citizens should not panic, that there were enough food and medicines and that the competent authorities would ensure that in the future.
“If necessary, of course we will take measures. It is too early to talk about these decisions. The institutions will have an answer,” he said, commenting on an example from Serbia that banned the export of disinfectants.
Due to the appearance of coronavirus, the tourist season in Medjugorje is seriously endangered, which is indicated by the fact that there are currently only a few hundred guests in the tourist resort out of the expected several thousand, Klix.ba news portal reports.
The head of the Medjugorje Tourist Board’s office, Zeljko Vasilj, tells Klix.ba that there have never been fewer tourists since the existence of this shrine. “Although there are many guests during the pre-season, it was expected that several thousand tourists would be staying here, and now there are only a few hundred, ” says Vasilj.
The reason for this is the fear of the coronavirus that has hit Italy from where they get the most guests throughout the year. Vasilj explains that due to the latest circumstances and the emergence of coronaviruses, tourist workers have canceled a large number of guest arrivals from Italy due to all the possible negative consequences. But looking at which countries are most affected by the coronavirus epidemic, he points out, it is clear that Medjugorje will experience an even stronger fall in the tourist season, which is expected to blossom in April and May.
”If the fourth and fifth months of the coronavirus epidemic continue, it will cause us a real disruption to the expected number of guests, most of whom are traditionally from Italy, ” says Vasilj.
Up to half a million tourists from Italy visit annually, which is a clear indication of what extension of this agony would mean for this Herzegovina tourist destination. ” They have been our guests since day one, they have always been number one, the oldest, most numerous and grateful guests in every way, ” Vasilj points out. And now they have a few guests from Italy, but as they point out, they are not from sites affected by the coronavirus.