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Creating conditions for excellence of tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Throughout 2021, the Chamber of Economy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism and with the support of the USAID Tourism project, worked intensively on development of the Tourism Development Strategy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022-2027.

To achieve this, some of the key challenges and weaknesses identified in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index were taken into account. The World Economic Forum (WEF) places Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the least competitive country when it comes to travel and tourism, in 105th place out of 140 countries in the world, which accounts for almost 98 percent of the GDP of global trade and of tourism.

Promoting destinations

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) is based on four sub-indices that include a favorable business environment, trade and tourism policy and favorable conditions, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources.

The approach to creating the strategy was based on these four pillars, and the methodology as such reflected the approach of the value chain fostered by “Tourism”, with the aim of improving the competitiveness of this economic branch.

This approach will seek to transform the tourism industry by creating a more competitive and resilient destination with a harmonized regulatory environment, improving the quality and diversity of products and experiences, professionalizing human and institutional capacities, and creative branding and promotion of the destination to visitors who bring more profit.

Since the FBIH Chamber of Economy was recognized by the Tourism project as an ideal partner for the role of private sector leader, and at the same time in previous work it participated and was consulted by the FBiH Government for work on various development strategies, in the entire process of development, the FBiH Chamber of Economy represented the so-called Coalition for the competitiveness of tourism, and as such it led the private sector in workshops that were organized and held throughout the FBiH.

At the session held on 4 August 2022 in Sarajevo, at the proposal of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Government of the Federation of BiH accepted the Draft Tourism Development Strategy of the Federation of BiH 2022-2027 and sent this extremely important document in the form of a proposal to the FBiH Parliament for adoption.

The tourism development strategy defines four priorities – development of tourist products, development of destination marketing, development of human resources and improvement of the stimulating environment for development of sustainable tourism. Through the strategic goal of accelerated economic development, a measure to support development of entrepreneurship in the tourism sector has been determined.

Working Group

The need to identify the tourism potential of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the promotion of tourist destinations, as well as development of rural tourism, was particularly emphasized. The common point of view is that rich tourism potentials, with careful and planned investments, can be put into operation in a relatively short period of time and become a generator of economic development.

Let us be reminded that back in 2017, according to the information adopted by the Government of FBiH, the Tourism Development Strategy in FBiH for the period 2018-2028 should have been drafted. However, the problem was the procedures that took place in the cantons. The working group that was formed in May 2018 prepared the project task and sent the questionnaire to the representatives of the cantonal authorities responsible for the field of tourism for comments and filling. Unfortunately, not all cantons were up-to-date in their declaration.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, in October 2020, an agreement was reached with representatives of the USAID Office for Economic Development of Bosnia and Herzegovina that the USAID Tourism project, in cooperation with the FBIH Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a strategic partner in this project, will work on development of a new strategy and that is how the draft of today’s Tourism Development Strategy FBIH 2022-2027 is to be created.

The strategy has been sent to the Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its adoption is expected as soon as possible.