Bosnia and Herzegovina, new products and investments to boost the tourism industry

After years of political instability and challenges, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (B&H) tourism sector started to recover, also thanks to an increasingly active tourism promotional system and to the Country’s effort to promote as a welcoming nation. In 2013, in fact, the World Economic Forum (WEF) listed Bosnia and Herzegovina at the 8th place of the world’s most friendly Countries towards tourists. Moreover, Lonely Planet has named the capital city Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world and, previously, as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010.

The WEF, in its “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017”, ranks Bosnia and Herzegovina 113th out of 136 analysed Countries for tourism competitiveness. According to the report, strong points of the Country as a tourism destination are the international openness, in particular thanks to the low number of visa required (68th), the number of airports that improve the accessibility to the Country (33rd) , the railroad density (39th) and the tourist service infrastructure (78th).
On the other hand, weaker points are the price competitiveness (110th) along with the ticket taxes and the airport charges (114th), the attention paid to the environmental sustainability (94th) and the sustainability of the travel and tourism industry development (120th)

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s “Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2018”, last year the Travel & Tourism industry generated a direct contribution of about 409 million euros (BAM 799.7mn), representing 2,6% of total GDP. Moreover, the total contribution (including the indirect and induced ones) was about 1.5 billion euros (BAM 2.94bn), namely 9,3% of total GDP.
As reported by the WEF, last year Bosnia and Herzegovina welcomed more than 700.000 international tourists. The main origin markets were Croatia (11%), Serbia (8,9%), Turkey (10,7%), Slovenia (6,5%) and Italy (5,4%).
This year, the Country is expected to welcome almost 950.000 international tourists, which would represent a record year for this sector. According to the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the 3rd highest tourism growth rate at a global level in the period 1995-2020.

The Government is currently adopting the “Strategy for Development of Tourism in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 – 2018”, which includes some strategic goals to achieve in order to boost the tourism industry: stable political and security environment, favourable economic trends, satisfactory state of the environment, appropriate technology development and a favourable health situation.

In 2013, in order to attract more foreign investments the Government, through the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency, released the “Bosnia and Herzegovina Investment Opportunities”. This report promotes the Country as a “new unexplored destination” and underlines the most promising segments for investments, such as ski and mountain tourism, ecotourism, wellness tourism, religious and cultural tourism, adventure tourism and sea & sun tourism.
As reported by Anadolu Agency, Turkish online newspaper, on the next 25th and 26th April the capital will host the Sarajevo Business Forum, organised by the Bosna Bank International. The forum focuses on expanding regional economic cooperation and attracting international investment to Southeast Europe, and tourism is considered as a priority sector. In the meantime, Turkish consortium Heritage Turk, headquartered both in Hong Kong/Beijing and in Ankara/Instanbul is planning to invest nearly 4.2 billion euros in the construction of a tourism complex in Bosnia’s Koricani, on the slopes of mount Vlasic.

At Twissen we observed that the post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina is still recovering some sector of its economy. Notwithstanding, tourism is considered as a fundamental key to attract foreign investments and there is room to develop several tourism products in many segments, taking advantage of the strong points of the destinations such as the welcoming business environment.