SARAJEVO, June 28 (FENA) – Head of the EU Delegation to BiH, Johann Sattler, who participated in the conference “Tourism as a turning point in economic recovery” in Sarajevo, told reporters that tourism has the potential to change everything when it comes to the economy in BiH.
According to him, the share of tourism currently in the country’s GDP is about 10 percent, and “if we look at the neighboring countries and its potential, this is a figure that can certainly increase by 15, even 20 percent.” This, he believes, is certainly one of the indicators of the potential that tourism has.
He stated that an analysis of the tourism sector would be presented during the conference, and called on local authorities to consider and adopt this document as a kind of template for all further activities in this area.
Ambassador Sattler noted that the EU has allocated more than 10m euros for the tourism sector over the past decade.
BiH Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Staša Košarac said he believes tourism could be a top sector in BiH.
He added that “we have the elements and a good starting point that, through clearly defined policies, we can make this sector much more sustainable and organized.”
“We have a traditional approach to tourism and I think that we must focus significant activities on educating our people,” said Košarac.
He added that we need to accept “the outstretched hand of international organizations present in BiH and the international community and see how, based on constitutional powers and competencies, to develop tourism as a sustainable sector and one of the potentially very strong branches in BiH that can bring significant greater inflow of funds and economic recovery of the country”.
US Ambassador to BiH Eric Nelson agreed that tourism could be a top sector in BiH.
He stated that USAID has already engaged and is working with domestic partners in BiH in order to improve the situation in this sector, in order to appropriately place the information about the attractiveness of this country and thus help this sector.
He reminded that USAID has been promoting Via Dinarica as a very attractive tourist destination for several years, in partnership with UNDP and the Italian Government.
“USAID works together with representatives of governments, both entities and the Brčko District, as well as with relevant representatives of the private sector dealing with this branch, to ensure that the policies adopted are consistent and satisfactory for all,” said Ambassador Nelson.
UNDP Resident Representative in BiH Steliana Nedera said that there are numerous possibilities for the tourism sector to become a top sector.
She stated that, first of all, the huge natural potentials that BiH has at its disposal remain untapped.
According to her, UNDP has worked and continues to work with protected areas in BiH, primarily nature parks and strengthening their management, which will enable the opening of their beauties to a larger number of visitors.
FBiH Minister of Environment and Tourism Edita Djapo said that during the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism was one of the sectors most affected, especially by the measures that led to the closure of borders.
She stated that tourism is extremely important for BiH, especially for FBiH, and that the Government of the Federation of BiH has helped in several segments.