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Haris Fazlagić: This is the year of important and serious tourism projects

During the past year, the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board provided an active contribution to the process of recovery and development of the tourism sector through support of almost 200 institutions, business entities, associations, federations, or prominent sports individuals who were directly supported through public invitations and the allocation of non-reimbursable financial resources.

-More than 200 projects and events from tourism, sports, culture, and other important areas in the tourism chain were implemented. One million convertible marks was allocated from the budget of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board for promotion at the largest international tourism fairs and roadshow campaigns, and almost three million were invested in projects significant for development, improvement, and promotion of tourism. The past year was the most productive compared to all the previous ones, so we can be very satisfied with achieved business results in 2022 – emphasized Haris Fazlagić, Acting President of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board, in an interview for Visit BiH Magazine.

This is extremely important support for development of tourism in Sarajevo Canton. Will you continue with the same intensity?

– Since our business policy is on an upward trajectory, we continue to improve the tourist offer of Sarajevo Canton in the coming period, so 2023 will be a year of challenges for us in terms of large, important, and serious projects that will be implemented with the aim of promoting, developing and improving tourism. One such project is the construction of an alpine coaster in Bjelašnica, 2.5 million has been allocated for that purpose in the financial plan of the Tourist Board for this year. Among more significant projects there: the construction of the sky walk, the implementation of tourist signalization, solving the problem of parking for tourist buses, the continuation of co-financing of legal and private entities that create projects with the aim of developing and improving tourism…

You were elected to this position at the end of January this year. What will be the focus of your work in the coming period?

-Sarajevo City Card, one of the most important projects of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board. It brings numerous discounts and great savings to its users. It is a unique card for entrance to museums and city transport, cable car rides, with discounts for hotel accommodation, tourist tours, gastronomy, shopping, and other services in the field of tourism that will be provided with significant price discounts. Moreover, the focus of future activities will be solving problems related to the non-fulfillment of legal obligations when it comes to the payment of tourist membership fees and taxes, as well as the registration of facilities. Since the winter season is already well underway, our promotional activities are a continuation of the presentation of the summer tourist season, which we promote at European and world fairs. We will soon include world influencers in the promotion, and we will combine traditional and modern forms of promotion so that information about our destinations reach as many potential tourists as possible.

What are the projects of the Tourist Board currently in progress, when will they be completed and what will be improved by their implementation?

– The Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board co-finances, that is, grants grants to support projects from various fields such as entertainment, culture, sports, gastronomy, tradition… through public calls, and based on one of the public calls, we are providing numerous quality contents this winter as well. From December 2022 to March of this year, around a hundred events will be held, which are spread throughout the Sarajevo Canton, in the city and mountain areas. Among the most significant there are: numerous sports competitions on the Olympic mountains, as well as music, entertainment, cultural, and gastronomy events in the city – concerts, gastro festivals, holiday markets… The goal is to extend the duration of the winter tourist season by enriching the tourist offer.

What is it that Sarajevo Canton lacks and what should definitely be improved in terms of tourism?

– In order to develop and improve tourism in Sarajevo Canton as much as possible, it is necessary to work on better connections and introduction of new flights and connections with European and world destinations. Among other things, work is being done to implement the conditions for establishment of two new airlines with Barcelona and Hong Kong. Also, it is necessary to strengthen promotional activities, since regardless of the availability of information, there is still a lot of room for additional promotion and informing potential tourists about Sarajevo Canton as an attractive tourist destination. It is necessary to channel information about all the unique opportunities we offer, which are related to our history, culture, gastronomy, exceptional hospitality, economic justification, safety of the city…

In this regard, a significant part of the work of the Tourist Board is the presentation of tourist offers at fairs. It has worked more than well so far. Are you planning to visit some new fairs where the Tourist Board has not been present so far?

-Due to extreme importance of direct communication with potential tourists, as well as business partners, fairs are an extremely important link in the promotional chain of tourism in Sarajevo Canton, as well as BiH as a tourist destination. This year, we are presenting the tourist offer at a total of 24 fairs, and among the new fair markets are Brazil and India as populous countries and the fastest growing world economies, France, Sweden and Poland, which are valid for European destinations. The fair is an opportunity to find out the wishes and needs of potential tourists in direct communication, a chance to meet representatives of the tourism industry, and promote our tourist offer with numerous European and world tourist destinations, raising standards and following world trends.

The snow was quite late this season, which certainly affected the start of the ski season in Bjelašnica and Igman. Now, the snow situation is fine. Are you satisfied with the visits of skiers to these two mountains?

– In the last days, there is a great winter atmosphere in Bjelašnica and Igman! The long-awaited snow finally made skiing, sledding and other winter activities possible, and attracted many visitors, most of whom are there during the weekend when they enjoy the Olympic beauties of Bjelašnica, Igman and Trebević.