Although tourism is often touted as one of the most promising sectors in BiH, that could bringn BiH significant profit and generate jobs of the unemployed, the government is not following through with actual investments in tourism.
Through budget incentives, all branches of the economy were given slightly over 211 million BAM in 2016, with 4 million of those funds going to tourism. This data was presented in the Analysis of budget incentives for the economy of BiH in 2015, conducted by the Institute for Youth Development KULT.
The amount of invested funds is certainly cause for concern, and this situation is further exacerbated by the fact that they are 1.5 million lower compared to the year before that.
Tourism, one of the most promising branches, is being given the least funds of all other branches of the economy included in the analysis (entrepreneurship and crafts development, energy sector, services, industry and agriculture).
3,737,478.00 BAM (90,45%) of the funds invested in tourism in 2015 were grants and 394.718,00 (9,55%) were loans. The most funded sub-branch was sports tourism, followed by tourist infrastructure, receptive and spa tourism, protected areas and cultural and historical tourism.
If the state listened to the voices of BiH entrepreneurs, they would know that village tourism, which received only 3% of the funds, is the most promising sub-branch. Only 1% was invested in ecological tourism, sea tourism, congress and health tourism.
Meagre funds were given to branches that, according to the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, should be developed as a comparative advantage of BiH. These include health tourism, spa, conference, mountain, sports, hunting and fishing and ecological tourism.
In 2014, this Ministry invested 1,250,000 BAM in village, cultural and historical tourism and the promotion and dissemination of information about tourism. In 2013 they invested 650,000 BAM. The Ministry did not fill out the Instituteâ€™s questionnaire for 2015. Although health and spa tourism are recognised as branches that need investments, the Federal Ministry did not invest in them in 2013 and 2014.
According to the Strategy for tourism development 2008-2018 in FBiH, the priority sub-branches are cultural, ethnic and health tourism, and health tourism and spa tourism are one of the key things Republika Srpska can offer to foreign tourists, according to the competent ministry of this entity.
In 2015, the Ministry of Tourism and Trade of Republika Srpska invested 714,000 BAM in different types of tourism, including village (rural), mountain, adventure, sports, cultural and historical, spa, receptive and event tourism, promotion and dissemination of information about tourism, and tourist infrastructure. Although identifies as the key sub-branch, health tourism did not receive investments in 2015. In Republika Srpska, the priority sub-branches of tourism, according to the Strategy for tourism development of RS 2010-2020 are village, transit, religious, urban and spa tourism.
The experiences of those who received funding, in this case from the Transfer for tourism development of the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism are not negative, but they noted that they were required to send a lot of unimportant documents that take a long time to collect and cost a minimum of 150 BAM.
Do these investments and the governmentâ€™s lack of care contribute to painting BiH as an undesirable tourist destination?
According to the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, BiH was ranked 113 out of 136 countries. In BiH, a little less than 22,000 persons work in transportation and tourism, and in terms of prioritising travel and tourism BiH ranks at 111, and the government of BiH was ranked as 123 in terms of their prioritising of this sector, and 124th in terms of budget incentives for tourism.
Judging by the competitiveness of BiH tourism to road to developing tourisms and generating jobs will be arduous, but it should not be neglected because every new job, considering the current situation in BiH, is a cause for celebration.