Tourism Bright Spot for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Semir H., Western Balkans Analyst
Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), despite having a complex governing system, some remaining inter-ethnic tensions 20 years after the end of the war, and an unemployment rate close to 58%, has recently seen a rise in tourism and investments.
“I am very happy about all the investments and tourists. All investment from anywhere is good for BiH” — Female, Bosniak, 45 years old
According to the “Tourism Barometer,” released by the United Nations World Travel Organisation, BiH has seen the sixth highest growth in tourism numbers in the world in 2015. One of the largest groups of tourists has come from Gulf nations. Boosted by investments from the Middle East in and around Sarajevo tourists have been able to enjoy the history of the ‘Jerusalem of the West’ with Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim religious sites, along with nature and skiing within miles of the city. While Sarajevo has seen the greatest numbers of tourists, to the west Jajce, a UNESCO city, has seen its fair share of tourists.
“One of my cousins works in an agency in Sarajevo that offers tours and they had a lot more guests from the Middle East and Gulf this year than they’ve had in the past” — Male, Bosniak, 30 years old
With its formal application to join the European Union on 16 February 2016, the government of BiH has a number of complex issues it must solve. However, the rise in tourism is an overall positive note.