SARAJEVO, June 22 (FENA) – Promotion of success stories on the contribution of diaspora to the development of tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina and presentation of the possibility of greater involvement of diaspora in the development of tourism is the goal of a conference on “Bosnia and Herzegovina at Heart: Diaspora and Tourism”.
As the participants pointed out, tourism has the potential to be a driver of a living economy because BiH can be easily reached from European countries and the wider region, BiH has authentic natural beauties that offer something that cannot be built, and tourism, in addition, can be both a driver of a green economy and green growth.
It was pointed out at the conference that in 2019, 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) came from remittances sent by the diaspora in BiH, and BiH is the first country in Europe and 16th in the world in the number of displaced persons, which means that there is huge human potential outside the state.
The aim of the conference is to contribute to the recognition of the diaspora as one of the key target groups for the development of tourism in BiH – as tourists and agents who promote BiH tourism abroad, but also as investors in tourism sector.
Diaspora members from five countries commented on opportunities to support diaspora in the development of tourism in BiH and its recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, transfer of knowledge and experience of the diaspora in the field of tourism, as well as promoting success stories about the diaspora’s contribution to tourism development.
UNDP Resident Representative in BiH Steliana Nedera reminded that this is the third such conference organized with the aim of presenting investment opportunities to diaspora so that they can offer their expertise.
“The special significance of the conference is the focus on recovery from the pandemic and there are also economic consequences that we have in the number of lost jobs in the business sector, and tourism has suffered a lot due to travel restrictions,” Nedera added.
Leaving the country is seen as a loss for the country, said Chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in BiH and Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans, Laura Lungarotti, noting that such a perspective should be changed and looked at this from the positive side.
Ambassador of Switzerland to BiH, Daniel Hunn, reminded that a great number of BiH diaspora lives in that country and that the intention is to motivate them to invest in BiH and in that way to ensure conditions for investments.
He underlined that BiH has enormous tourism potentials, and people from BiH living in Switzerland work in tourism sector and can contribute to development here, which is why it is necessary to jointly provide conditions for investing in the diaspora.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Europe, and official data on the number of tourists indicate that Bosnia and Herzegovina, until the pandemic, was visited by three times more tourists than ten years ago.