Bosnia and Herzegovina has become an emerging tourist destination in recent years with an average 10% growth in arrivals and overnight stays since 2010. Sarajevo is the main driver of rising tourism rates as its annual growth is around 4 percentage points higher than the country’s benchmark. Largest number of tourist arrivals in Bosnia and Herzegovina comes from foreign tourists, with 70% of total arrivals. Neighboring countries: Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia together held 18% market share in 2016.
In recent four years, Bosnia and Herzegovina has become an attractive market for tourists from Middle East countries, South Korea and China which achieved 100+% year on year tourists arrivals growth. Tourism and airline industry go hand in hand, as is the case with the Bosnian market, substantial number of airlines started flying to Bosnia and Herzegovina in past two years stimulating tourism and hospitality sector. The largest increase in operated flights and passengers carried has been recorded to Arabian Peninsula countries. Currently Sarajevo is connected with Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait City, Doha and Riyadh. Most of the flights are summer seasonal, but year after year flights are increasing with season extending into fall. For summer 2018 Flydubai will start daily flights to Sarajevo from March 25. 2018, increasing flights to three daily in peak summer months. Newcomer at Sarajevo Airport Qatar Airways, will most likely increase its service from Doha to daily, while in near future Kuwait Airways will introduce Kuwait-Sarajevo flights as well. It is also very likely that Emirates will launch Dubai-Sarajevo flights in near future.
With Sarajevo Airport expansion and investments in building four and five star hotels and resorts, we will see more airlines operating flights to Sarajevo, covering under-served markets such as: Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, Moscow, London, Rome, Frankfurt etc... In coming years, we can expect more low-cost airlines starting flights to Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially to Mostar.
Within the last month the mayors of Sarajevo, Belgrade and Beijing held talks in Belgrade about possible direct flights from China to Sarajevo via Belgrade. Currently Hainan Airlines operates two weekly flights from Beijing to Belgrade via Prague. Initiative by the city mayors is for the flights to operate via Belgrade to Sarajevo instead of Prague. Flights would cater to a substantial number of Chinese tourist visiting the region. Major step in that direction was made by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and China by abolish visas for its citizens from January 01. 2018.
Bosnia and Herzegovina tourist numbers (January-September 2017)
In the period January - September 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina was visited by 1.025.975 tourists, representing an increase of 13,7% compared to the same time of last year. Total of 2.136.036 overnight stays were recorded, which is 12,6% more than in the same period of 2016. First nine months of the year Bosnia and Herzegovina was visited by 743.478 foreign tourists, representing an increase of 18,1%. Foreign tourists made 1.555.832 overnight stays, an increase of 16,1%. Notable increase of tourists has been recorded from: Israel 7.161 (increase of 316,7%), Belgium 5.183 (increase of 61,1%), Canada 5.258 (increase of 40,3%) and Russia 4.328 (increase of 35,2%).
By the length of stay of foreign visitors to Bosnia and Herzegovina, tourists from Malta stay the longest with an average stay of 6,1 nights, Kuwait with 3,7 nights, Ireland with 3,5 nights, Qatar with 3,4 nights, France and Iran with 3,2 nights, Romania with 3,1 nights and United Arab Emirates with 3,0 nights.
Bosnia ans Herzegovina tourist arrivals (Jan-Sep 2017)
Source:Flying Bosnian and Agency for statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina