The USAID Mission in BiH, through its Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Turizam) activity is marking 27 September, the World Tourism Day, with a set of activities aimed at advancing the tourism sector and transforming Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) into the most exciting travel destination in the world!
At 9 am, we are officially opening the Creating Engaging Festivals training led by Halle Butvin, director of special projects at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center of Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The training is targeted at organizers of cultural-themed festivals and DMOs, covering topics such as designing programs and activities, engaging the local community, working with volunteers, marketing and promotion, financial models, fundraising and sponsorship etc. Cultural and heritage themed events and festivals are key ingredients to increase the attractiveness of destinations to attract more visitors and spend – even more so when such events are themed around local and fresh agricultural and food products. While these events act as a magnet to lure in visitors, especially during low tourist seasons, they serve as a platform from which the visitors can explore additional experiences offered by the destination. As such, these festivals need to be carefully planned and implemented. The training will be opened by FBiH Minister of Environment and Tourism Edita Đapo, USAD/BiH Economic Development Office Director Karl Wurster and USAID Turizam Chief of Party Ibrahim Osta.
At 11 am, the activity is signing a Joint Implementation Plan with HoldINA, one of the largest chains of service stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a regional leader in the Balkans, to provide training based on the official COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols to all employees of Fresh Corners, HoldINA’s food and beverage stores. The training will be provided via the Turizam Academy, USAID Turizam’s custom-designed online learning platform for the tourism sector. Launched in early 2021, the Turizam Academy currently offers 23 courses aimed at assisting various sectors of the tourism value chain in adhering to the USAID Turizam-created COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols, whose adoption by BiH institutions created the conditions for the World Travel & Tourism Council to award the country with the Safe Travels Stamp, allowing travelers to recognize governments and companies around the world which have adopted globally standardized health and hygiene protocols. So far, 716 individuals have completed 1760 courses on the Turizam Academy, while the agreement signed with HoldINA, the first official partnership between USAID Turizam and the private sector in this field, will both significantly boost numbers of attendees and improve Bosnia and Herzegovina’s attractiveness as a tourism destination.
Finally, USAID Turizam will officially present the Online Finance Directory (https://turizambih.ba/AccessToFinanceDirectory.pdf), a one-stop-shop for information concerning available sources of finances for the tourism sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the Directory, USAID Turizam will provide the most comprehensive list of financial institutions that offer lending and other finance facilities to tourism value chain businesses and educate them on the terminology, types and the appropriate usage of various finance products. In order to achieve growth in the tourism sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is important to increase the opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access finance and offer new and enhanced tourism products to attract more visitors. This will boost economic development in BiH and help increase the country’s tourism competitive advantage. Greater access to finance will also help tourism SMEs maintain their operations, develop their assets and hire and train employees.
Thanks to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stunning natural and cultural assets and numerous activities implemented by USAID Turizam and the country’s public and private sectors, we are optimistically looking forward to a strong recovery and further development of the tourism sector in 2021. We wish you a happy World Tourism Day!