Unnecessarily much time has been lost so far when it comes to Zenica, and we are also losing the race with the countries in our region regarding indicators of tourism competitiveness. It is most likely that we have the most potential after Croatia, N1 writes.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) lags behind the countries of the Western Balkans in almost all indicators of tourism competitiveness for 2019, according to the World Economic Forum Index. The only exceptions are average incomes, where only North Macedonia is worse off than our country. Greater competitiveness of tourism in BiH is inhibited by authorities that do not sufficiently support the development of this sector. Also, the pandemic left significant consequences. And what have the authorities done in the meantime?
Consequences for tourism
Why is BiH not seen as a good tourist destination, despite all its potentials? It is because the government does not sufficiently support this sector, as the analysis performed within the EU4Busines project showed. Poor quality of tourist products, services, and tourist infrastructure. Lack of qualified and skilled labor. These things must be worked on in order to increase the competitiveness of BiH tourism. And what do the authorities do? Both entity line ministries are still in the process of drafting the Strategy.
“Our aim is to create a Strategy that will be realistic and feasible, and that will correspond to the market and the needs of the market of the Republika Srpska (RS), so that we can through the document propose measures to eliminate the observed shortcomings in the development of tourism.”
According to the available information, the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Environment has also started activities on the development of the Strategy, ” it was announced by the RS Ministry.
The coronavirus pandemic has had significant consequences for the tourism sector. BiH tourist destinations, such as Sarajevo’s Bascarsija and craft shops were deserted. However, with the easing of measures, there has been a slight recovery in tourism. The potters are also recovering.
“You can see a lot of tourists, Bascarsija is full, which means that as soon as Bascarsija is full, there is enough work. I believethat we can be very satisfied with what we are achieving now, ” told Mirsad Brkanic, a potter from Sarajevo.
Travel agencies are also slowly reviving. They did not have any work for a few months. They managed to save jobs only with the help of the state. Now they are happy with the amount of work.
“Everything was slowed down by April. But, with the May Day, everything become lively, and now we are happy, all flights are full, ” noted Mesud Trgo from the Fibula agency.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism industry in BiH did begin to thrive. From the analysis of the EU4Business project, from 2017 to 2019, the number of arrivals and the number of overnight stays, especially of foreign tourists, increased. It also turned out that Europe is the main market for BiH tourism, then Asia, and also tourists from the region are frequent. But, Covid 19 stopped this positive trend. The future success of tourism largely depends on the ability of the authorities to establish an efficient administrative and institutional structure, which will enable the successful development of this sector. But are they capable to do so, since the Strategy is still being worked on?