Every year, Bosnia and Herzegovina is an increasingly attractive tourist destination for visitors from all over the world. According to the data of the BiH Statistics Agency, almost 1.5 million tourists visited our country last year. The results are extremely encouraging when you consider that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed the growth of visits. Expectations are high this year as well, and the summer season has started, so we will see the real results.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country, but one that is rarely rich in cultural and historical heritage, natural resources, gastronomy… We have the sea, mountains, lakes, rivers, beautiful national parks… which gives a rich tourist offer all 365 days of the year.
And indeed, tourists from all over the world recognize it, so they come to enjoy it. Travel agencies are also working hard to promote and increase the tourist offer for foreigners who want to get to know our country as much as possible. Edin Ogrešević, director of the Meet Bosnia travel agency, tells Visit BiH Magazine that they offer foreigners different destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The agency organizes half-day and full-day trips throughout the country, with an emphasis on several popular destinations such as Mostar and its surroundings, Travnik and Jajce, Višegrad, Bijambare, Lukomir…
– What is important to emphasize is that in recent years we have noticed a constant increase of interest of foreign tourists to visit BiH. The country has become a popular destination due to its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and sights. The most common destinations that foreigners are interested in visiting in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Sarajevo, Mostar, and Jajce – says Edin.
According to him, foreign tourists who plan to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina have various requests.
– Some of them have customized itineraries, i.e. travel plans. Tourists want their itineraries to be tailored to their time constraints, preferences, and personal interests. They also show an increasing interest in adventure activities such as hiking, rafting, cycling… Interest in local cuisine and wine tasting is also on the rise. Tourists want to try authentic dishes and drinks and are looking for recommendations for restaurants and wineries that provide a unique gastronomic experience – emphasizes Ogrešević.
He points out that after visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreigners often express enthusiasm and positive impressions, since they are amazed by the cultural diversity, the hospitality of the people, the natural wealth and the gastronomic offer.
When asked how often they want to come back and visit our country again, Edin says that this is a very common question that tourism workers ask their guests.
-In my experience, I am often pleasantly surprised by how many people really express their desire to return. Moreover, many of them say that they will recommend BiH to their friends. In our agency, we mostly meet tourists who come for the first time. However, it also happens that we have guests who have already visited Bosnia and Herzegovina and decided to re-explore everything this country has to offer. I must emphasize that the visits of foreign tourists usually last between three and five days – he says.
When you talk to them, do they tell you how they decided to visit our country and what prior knowledge they come here with, what they expect and how much they know about Bosnia and Herzegovina?
-Some decided to visit because they received recommendations from friends. Also, social networks are an important factor why people decide to visit us. When it comes to prior knowledge, some have thoroughly researched the country before arriving and have knowledge of the country, while others still want to learn – he says.
Since the summer tourist season is starting, Edin says that the Meet Bosnia agency is preparing new tours and offers for tourists.
– Before the start of the season, we published several new tours on our website. One of them is the “Sarajevo Trebević Hiking Tour”, which offers exciting hiking and exploring of the Trebević Mountain. In addition to hiking tours, we have been offering “Food and Craft Tour” since last year. This tour provides an opportunity for tourists to meet local artisans, learn all about their work. Also, part of this tour includes a tasting of local cuisine. Last year, this tour was very popular during the summer season, and we hope it will be just as popular this year – says Ogrešević.