COLUMN: Political crisis as a barrier to development of tourism

Namik Čolaković
Namik Čolaković

The political declaration of BH Citizens, according to the media statements of political winners and losers in post-election combinations, has introduced new riots and waves, primarily among population that officially has the citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and turbulences are partly felt in the region.

Consequently, a political crisis is generated, which in case of its prolongation, can certainly overlap to economical, but also all other fields. Since the mission of this magazine is to promote all the values ​​of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the available tourism potentials are also included, a logical question can be posed: what negative reflections will cause political destabilization on the tourist activity, because positive ones cannot be expected?

From a tourist point of view, this creation of political charge and unrest immediately suggests that it is in conflict with the United Nations slogan, according to which tourism is a “passport of peace”. The atmosphere of constant emphasis on the need of organizing life on the principle of one nex to another and complete separation, whereby, in any sense, even in the context of the tourist offer, it is impossible to point out national, cultural and other diversity of BH society, absolutely deviates from the valid principles of modern tourism.

In its character, tourism is the medium of global culture, where direct communication, face to face, occurs between people of different cultures. This results in acculturation, where the values ​​of ideas and lifestyles are exchanged, and the convergence, permeation and integration of cultures in which there is an intensive economic, technological, political, conceptual and cultural connection between people, nations, and countries. This constant export and import of cultures is very important for tourism, because it reflects on its development and dispersion. Likewise, there is also the backward effect of tourism on global trends, so that in essence their relationship can be regarded as synergistic. Examples of developed countries show that in their historical development of tourism special attention was paid to the social awareness of the importance of tourism and consequently the attention they pointed out to this, to economic sector.

World experiences show that tourism, despite being exposed to adverse impacts of various crises on several occasions, showed brutal recovery capacity and in those years had higher growth rates than the world economy, although the countries in which the outcome of these crises was predominated by certain economic losses . In the classification of the crisis, one of the basic divisions is related to a nonexistent cause, and the causes can be nature or man. If the causative factor is nature, then the crises are related to some form of natural disaster, and if the crisis is initiated by human activity, then it creates a loss of confidence and generates a whole spectrum of negative effects. In the context of such thinking, particular attention is paid to the emergence of political crises and their impact on tourist movements.

The crisis in tourism represents any event that could jeopardize normal business of the tourism industry, cause damage to the reputation of the destination, in terms of its security, attractiveness or benefits, by adversely affecting perception of tourists about it, reducing the number of arrivals, overnight stays and consumption. In the event of political crises, the tourist himself answers the question “is it safe to travel to that destination” and he will travel only if his trip and stay are completely protected from events that could endanger his vacation.

Referring to the current tourism trends in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it can be concluded that there is something “positive” in this sector, which is not very characteristic for this area. In the first eight months of 2018, the growth in arrivals was almost 15 percent higher than the same period last year, where it is particularly impressive that the number of foreign tourists, which makes up three-quarters of the total, has increased significantly. In recent years, a lot of financial resources have been invested in building tourist capacities, so new hotels, motels and apartment settlements have appeared, and infrastructure has become one of the key barriers to tourist progress. For construction of infrastructure, the state or the relevant levels of government have the greatest responsibility. In order for all structures of government to function impeccably, there is a need for will, and will is closely connected with the inter-political relations, that is, goals that are to be pursued within the political establishment.

Such intricate relationships and conditionality on the principle “If my people will not do this, then neither will yours” lead to the current alarming situation in the field of traffic and communications, which is vital for development of tourism. Through creation of political tension, investors in tourism became hostages of various interests, which resulted in adequate policies that did not allow the same investors to benefit from investments. In fact, political crises have immobilized and suspended numerous leverage and processes for improving the situation in several areas, which are more or less related to tourism activity.

Those who live from and invest in tourism will be able to provide the answer to the question raised at the beginning of this text, in the near future, but producers of political instability will hardly be held responsible, as real causes of possible damage, due to the reduction of tourism interest in arrivals to this country.

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