The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Sustainable Tourism Development Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Federation of BiH (FBiH) Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with Flydubai and Flynas, in partnership with the Tourism Association of Canton Sarajevo – CS (Visit Sarajevo) organized a roadshow in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
This is the first B2B roadshow in two countries in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula markets, which aims to develop and grow BiH sales network in these markets through direct business (B2B) with tour operators and travel agencies based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, Vijesti.ba writes.
The roadshow included presentations of BiH as an attractive and charming destination for tourists from these countries who come to BiH and who are considered the largest consumers with extended stays and a high percentage of revisits to tourist destinations.
Ten tour operators who were part of this project presented all the beauties and sights from all over the country and offered potential tourists the opportunity to get to know BiH in all seasons.
One of the agencies that was part of the roadshow is 2M Travel, and its founder Ajdin Krsic said that tour operators have been cooperating intensively with USAID since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to promote BiH as successfully as possible.
He emphasizes that tourists from the Gulf countries have great paying power. According to Krsic, they will buy ten jars of honey, eat in the best restaurants, use all kinds of tourist services such as boats and rafting and rent the most expensive villas, and what is most important for BiH, such tourists stay quite long – seven to 10 days.
”They traditionally come to BiH in the summer season because they have high temperatures then, but in recent years there has been a trend of winter tourism, so we had groups in December, January, and February from Oman and Dubai, and in recent years there has been a noticeable increase in tourists from Saudi Arabia,” Krsic said.
He notes that tour operators are important to everyone in the destination because if they manage to attract tourists with promotion, knowledge, and service provided, by other actors in the destination then everyone will benefit including the state budget and private sector (hoteliers, carriers, renters, and caterers).
The UAE and Saudi Arabia were among the top ten markets for BiH tourism. In 2019, a total of 98.000 visitors came to BiH from these two countries, with an average stay of three nights.
In 2021, arrivals from the UAE and Saudi Arabia accounted for 8.5 percent of total tourist arrivals in BiH, and UAE citizens are the second most numerous visitors with 49.000 arrivals, which is an increase of 53 percent compared to 2019.