USAID launches Sustainable Tourism Development Project in Bosnia

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today launched a new, $20-million, five-year project to develop sustainable tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina that will prepare the country to be a world-class destination for travelers in the post-pandemic era.

USAID’s Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (USAID Turizam) will help boost the country’s economy through improving the business enabling environment, strengthening the quality of tourism services, increasing access to finance in tourism related businesses, and more broadly marketing the country to international tourism markets. USAID Turizam will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ministry of Trade and Tourism of Republic of Srpska.

“We should strive to maximize the potential of the tourism industry to create new jobs and make truly meaningful and sustainable contributions to economic development,” U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Eric G. Nelson said in remarks to open the two-day launch event. “We will continue to create income opportunities for BiH citizens, especially in rural areas, and protect the natural and cultural heritages of Bosnia and Herzegovina Our interventions will also improve the system’s competitiveness.”

The Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Staša Košarac, said tourism had been an economic driver with the potential to develop rural areas of BiH. 

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic completely thwarted the growth trend of tourism in BiH, and the return to the pre-crisis level has not yet been achieved, despite the efforts of competent institutions at all levels of government in BiH to contribute to repairing the negative effects of the pandemic on the tourism sector,” he said. “However, in the current crisis, we must recognize the opportunity and with the help of international partners open greater and growing prospects to promote the country’s tourism potential among tourists and investors, in order to better position itself in the international market, increase revenue and preserve existing and create new jobs.”

USAID Turizam is designed to fuel broad-based tourism-driven economic growth by capitalizing on the rich cultural heritage and distinctive nature of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will support BiH tourism industry to recover from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and set it on a robust growth trajectory towards a sustainable tourism economy. Among the other expected results, USAID Turizam will increase tourism receipts and the number of nights hotel rooms are booked; increase the country’s competitiveness rank as a destination; leverage more than $40 million in private investment; create more than 3,000 new tourism-related jobs; and expand market access for local agricultural products.

In 2021, USAID/BiH commemorates 25 years of partnership.To date, the U.S. Government, primarily through USAID, has provided $2 billion in assistance to support economic, democratic, and social progress in BiH.

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