By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
When it comes to income from tourism, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2013 have got a record income from tourism amounting to a billion and 15.6 million BAM, or about half a billion euros. 844.391 is the number of registered tourists in B&H during the same period, who have made 1.823.035 overnight stays, which represents an increase of 12.9%. Besides the fact that this is good news for the country’s economy, it is equally important that B&H is slowly catching up with the tourist powers in the region.
The image of a successful tourist season last year, when FB&H was visited by a total of 577.077 tourists and recorded 1.135.324 overnight stays, which represent an increase of 13.7 %, was a little ruined by this year’s loss during the winter tourist season, which was caused by the lack of snowfalls.
However, the Tourist Community of FB&H stated that this year it is expected to be an increase in the number of tourists in B&H by at least 16% compared to 2013. A greater influx of tourists from Kuwait is expected, who usually stay in B&H about a week. Many tourists from South Korea and China come to B&H within the European tour. This year in Sarajevo will be marked a great jubilee – the 100th anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914, which sparked the first world war and therefore a greater influx of tourists is expected in Sarajevo. There is also announced the arrival of the Swedish airline SAS in B&H in 2014, then the Germanwings introduces the direct airline between Berlin –Sarajevo. The Italian airline company Mistral Air has introduced the direct airline Rome –Mostar, while Wizz Air for Tuzla has announced the introduction of a new airline from Germany and Netherlands. All this will attract and of course will facilitate the arrival of tourists in B&H.
What limits B&H tourism is the small percentage of organized tourist arrivals in B&H, in regard to the individual tours. The reason for this is that B&H does not have any major tour operator to complete the tourist offer of B&H towards the world market.
Also, at the FB&H level there is no central booking on the state of reservation of tourists’ capacity. One of the problems is the old way of registering the guests, so the assumption is that at least one billion BAM from tourism incomes instead of ending up in the state’s budget, ends up in the private pockets. There is no precise data on the so called “grey zone” in tourism.
It is necessary the adoption of a new regulation on registration of tourists stays in FB&H, which would finally bring order in this field, and would stop “grey economy” in tourism. In accordance to the new regulation, the registration of guests will be implemented electronically, instead of the current outdated way of filling out a form, where many avoid it due to the huge number of data that must be given.