Arrival of tourists from Arab countries to Sarajevo has been causing a lot of controversy over the past few months. While some people welcome them, others are full of prejudices and express their negative attitudes openly.
Guests from the countries of the Gulf visit Sarajevo and many other BiH cities. They find Serbia and Croatia equally interesting.
According to official statistics, Arabs are not among the most numerous tourists that visit BiH because they often stay in private accommodation facilities during their stay. On the other side, these tourists stay in BiH for the period of fifteen days to three months and spend a lot more money than tourists from other countries. This economic aspect is almost never discussed.
Given the climate and natural beauties of BiH, Arab tourists prefer a longer stay in the open and thus they mostly spend their days visiting the nearby mountains, picnic sites, nature and everything else that they do not have in their country. One of the favorite destinations for Arab tourists is the Municipality of Ilidža, where there are many hotels and hospitality facilities and many picnic sites such as Stojčevac, the Bosna Springs, etc.
It is precisely because of Arabs that the Mayor of Ilidža Senaid Memić found himself under the attack by the media and the public. He said that he fears the true background of negative stories about Arab tourists. Apparenty, Memić thinks that it can already be talked about open Islamophobia in the context of the fear of terrorism.
“No one speaks about how much money they spend here, how much money they pay at the airports for the additional luggage they purchased in BiH,” said Memić and stated that there is no room for negative campaign against tourists from Arab countries, whose number already reduces at the end of the summer and in the fall.
Some time ago, a story appeared that doctors in Arab countries even recommend a change of climate to patients, given the weather conditions in Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. The change of climate mostly refers to high temperatures, lack of greenery, dry air… Many of Arab tourists visit Bosnia and Herzegovina precisely because of this – to change the climate and enjoy the beautiful country we have.