The global tourism industry has been most affected by the COVID19 pandemic, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina it inflicted significant damage to an already fragile, although steadily growing tourism sector.

The Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina reports that by September 2020, COVID-19 pandemic caused the downfall of BiH tourism leading to 67,5% foreign arrivals and 85,6% foreign overnights less than during the same period last year.

USAID’s Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Turizam) project began immediately after it’s launch to formulate  COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols by building on health and safety guidelines set by relevant institutions of BiH and adapting them to meet international best practice from global industry leaders. The document was developed in cooperation with BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations (MOFTER) and entity ministries (Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism and Ministry of Trade and Tourism of Republika Srpska).

Following a detailed analysis of documents prepared and adopted by BiH institutions related to COVID-19 (entities institutes for public health, entity ministries of health, etc.), USAID Turizam project held private sector consultations, that included stakeholders from accommodation facilities, restaurants, adventure services and many other in order to explore their needs and capacities to introduce new measures, or point out shortcomings.

Based on the findings, USAID Turizam created a COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols document. It is fully in accordance with global tourism inudstry standards from the : World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) with the Cleveland Clinic, U.S.A, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and other sources, including USAID tourism projects in other countries with Safe Travel designation.

BiH Tourism COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols COVID Protocols

  • Hotel Establishments and Tourist Accommodation Services (hotels, lodges, guesthouses, camps)
  • Transport Services
  • Tourist Restaurants
  • Visitor Centers
  • Diving Centers
  • Boats
  • Water Games
  • Tour Guides
  • Bazars and Handicrafts Shops
  • Cycling
  • Rafting
  • Trekking
  • Cultural Tours and Sightseeing
  • Culinary Experiences
  • Skiing and Snowboarding

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and Protocols have been designed to provide a strong communications framework, health and safety guidelines, and operational protocols to create a safe environment for visitors, applicable to the whole range of activities and experience of service providers.

Full endorsement of the COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines Protocols will attain the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp for Bosnia and Herzegovina. To date, the federal ministry of tourism has secured endorsement of the council of ministers and the protocols await endorsement of the RS ministry to adopt them at the state level and secure the WTTC Safe Travels stamp.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is an emerging and highly attractive tourism destination with an extraordinary natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Adopting health and safety measures by its tourism actors and obtaining #SafeTravels label will demonstrate to international travelers that their safety comes first.

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