The Chamber of Commerce of the Federation of BiH, in partnership with the USAID Sustainable Tourism Development Project in FBiH, and the Sarajevo Canton Tourist Board. With the support of Flydubai and Flynas, they held the first “roadshow” in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from March 27 to April 1, as well as the presentation of BiH as an attractive destination.
Namely, this is the first type of B2B fair organized this way in two Gulf countries, i.e. the Arabian Peninsula, which aimed to grow and develop BiH’s sales network in these markets through direct B2B meetings with tour operators and travel agents of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. B2B meetings and presentations of Bosnia and Herzegovina as attractive destinations were held in two countries, and three cities of the Arabian Peninsula – Dubai, Riyadh, and Jeddah.
The reason why this market was chosen for this type of tour is that travelers from all over the Gulf are considered to be tourists of the highest purchasing power and the largest consumers with extended stays and a large number of repeat visits. Historically, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were among the top ten markets for tourist arrivals in BiH. In 2019, a total of 98,000 visitors came from these two countries, with an average length of stay of three nights.
In 2021, arrivals from the UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for 8.5 percent of total arrivals in BiH, and UAE citizens were the second numerous visitors with a total of 49,000 arrivals, an increase of 53 percent compared to 2019. Emigrant community in the UAE and Saudi Arabia has, among other market segments, great-untapped potential for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As global destinations continue to open this year, competition in this lucrative market will only increase. Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be proactive and develop strategies and tactics for years to come, to maintain and increase demand from 2021. In order to achieve such goals, it is crucial to increase awareness of the destination’s attractiveness through international sales channels, and to expand sales networks through fairs and B2B meetings.
With this event, prominent tour operators and hotels of Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to work together with a unique goal, which is to increase the number of tourists coming to our country, increase their consumption in our country and extend their stay.
The arrival of tourists from these areas is extra in the period from June to September, but one of the goals of this project is to extend the seasonality to the whole year. In recent years, there has been a trend of development of winter tourism, so it was necessary to show what Bosnia and Herzegovina can offer in the winter months. The area of the UAE and Saudi Arabia is an area that does not have four seasons, and on this occasion they were able to see what they can see and experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina; winter tourism, adventure, rural, cultural-historical, and religious tourism.
Roadshow participants also had the opportunity to visit Expo Dubai 2020, where a presentation of the destination was held in the pavilion of Bosnia and Herzegovina, headed by the Mayor of Sarajevo Benjamina Karic.