Midhat Hubijar, President of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board: We expect tourists to realize one million overnight stays this year

Midhat Hubijar

Canton Sarajevo is positioned as a recognizable and famous tourist destination, as evidenced by the constant and high growth of tourist traffic from year to year. This is, among other things, the result of the proclamation of tourism as an activity of strategic importance for Canton Sarajevo.

-In the total arrivals and overnight stays of tourists in FBiH, Canton Sarajevo participates with more than 50 percent. Canton Sarajevo is also the strongest destination in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tourism in this canton is growing between 18 and 20 percent in arrivals and overnight stays, and the average retention of tourists in the city is 2.1 days – says Midhat Hubijar, says president of the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board, in an interview with Visit B&H Magazine.

– How many tourists visited Canton Sarajevo this year and from which countries are the most frequent guests?

– The number of tourists in the Sarajevo Canton is constantly increasing, and this year, in the last nine months, the arrival of almost 450,000 guests was recorded, and almost 957,000 overnight stays. We hope and expect a million overnight stays by the end of 2018. We have tourists from more than 160 countries. Most tourists came from Turkey, Croatia, the United Arab Emirates, China and Saudi Arabia. Then Slovenia, Germany, USA, Serbia and Italy.

– What is the most interesting thing for tourists when they come to Sarajevo?

– Tourists from all over the world, most often, want to see the heart of Sarajevo – Baščaršija, They are very interested in museums, they are especially interested in war history, and so frequent tours are organized in the Sarajevo war tunnel. Moreover, Olympic beauties Bjelašnica and Igman, natural beauties of Sarajevo’s excursion places Skakavac, Vrelo Bosne, Bijambare Cave. The entire atmosphere in Sarajevo is complemented by excellent gastronomy – the Bosnian cuisine is a challenge for both domestic and foreign tourists.

– What can Sarajevo brag with, or what can be the advantage of this in relation to other cities of the region when it comes to tourist offer?

Thanks to the exceptional natural beauties, the richness of cultural and historical values, Canton Sarajevo has become a very interesting tourist destination. Even in the last several years, numerous world tourism portals have declared Sarajevo, on many occasions, as one of the ten destinations in the world. Sarajevo has a great configuration – it is located 500 meters above sea level. In only seven minutes you arrive by cable car from Sarajevo to Trebević, to 1,160 meters above sea level, then it is about 20 minutes away from Igman and Bjelašnica, Olympic mountains (1,600 meters above sea level), and on the other side it takes only three hours drive to BH coast. Sarajevo is a multireligious city, which is another advantage and interest for tourists. Caterers and people in Sarajevo are friendly, which is also one of the advantages. Speaking about the advantages, we must not forget the gastronomic offer, that is, quality, recognizable and above all quality and affordable Bosnian cuisine.

– What are the plans and expectations for the new tourist season, what is offered to tourists who arrive in the winter period?

-The winter tourist season is our focus at the moment, and we will take care to ensure and participate in as many projects as possible in order to preserve the interest of tourists for Sarajevo during the coldest season (knowing that previous practice has shown that most of them are in Sarajevo during the summer – July and August). I have won two very important projects for the winter tourist season – artificial snow on Bjelašnica, which guarantees snow during the winter, regardless of the weather conditions, and to make the atmosphere in this Olympic beauty more complete, the installation of vertical transport is ensured , six and four-seater. Since the beginning of the winter tourist season is approaching, the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board plans to hold meetings and promotions with representatives of the tourism sector and the media in five cities in the region – Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Belgrade, and Podgorica.

– Does the Tourist Board together with the City Administration work on organizing the New Year’s Eve, what kind of program will be offered?

-The Tourist Board of Canton Sarajevo is a partner of the City Administration in the preparation of the New Year’s Eve and there are ongoing arrangements and the formation of teams for organizing the craziest night. Together we will ensure that all citizens of Sarajevo Canton, but of course tourists, have an unforgettable New Year’s Eve, and that Sarajevo reinforces and improves the status of the regional tourist center. Two regional stars will perform in Sarajevo on December 31 this year and on January 1 next year. We will reveal details soon.

– Do you have any information how many tourists could visit Sarajevo in the time of the New Year?

-In December 2017, 28,117 tourists visited Canton Sarajevo, and 51,420 overnight stays were realized. In January 2018, there were 25,523 arrivals, and 75,284 overnight stays. This year, and in line with the constant increase in tourism, we expect a significant increase in tourism. As we stated, in the first nine months of this year, there were close to 957,000, and by the end of the year, we expect the first million of overnight stays.

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