The Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is developing plans to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis by re-establishing the destination while setting new standards for sustainable tourism.

USAID (United States Agency for International Development) has launched Project Turizam, a five-year initiative aimed at boosting visitor numbers to the country through a new development programme.

To mark the launch, global tourism professionals will attend a webinar held over two mornings next week to discuss challenges, opportunities and strategies.

Ibrahim Osta, chief of party for USAID Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “This is an exciting five-year project USAID is embarking on and one that is in a country with unimaginable beauty and opportunity. We are enjoying great engagement and support from the government.

“The enthusiasm from foreign markets desiring partnerships in an unspoiled, sustainably developed destination indicates we are launching Project Turizam at exactly the right time.

“As travellers around the world return to travel, a pristine diverse country in the heart of Europe is top of the list. Next week’s event is just the beginning.”

The webinar will be held on the mornings of January 25 and 26 and will feature speakers from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the World Bank, TripAdvisor, Tourism Economics, MMGY Global and E-Tourism Frontiers.

Keynote speakers include Eric Nelson, US ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bosnia and Herzegovina ministers Stasa Kosarac, minister for foreign trade and economic relations, Edita Dapo, FBiH minister for the Environment and tourism, and Suzana Gasic, Republica Srpska minister of trade and tourism.

Sessions will focus on the role marketing, partnerships and technology can play in attracting high-yielding visitors while protecting Bosnia and Herzegovina’s natural heritage.

The webinar is being held in conjunction with the Global Travel & Tourism Resilience Council and Travel Weekly.

Lee Hayhurst, executive editor of Travel Weekly’s travel technology and digital title Travolution, will speak about how technology can be used to improve distribution of tourism product and collaboration between suppliers and sellers.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has 252 ecosystems and unique biotopes deemed important from both a European and global conservation perspective.

However, on the Environmental Performance Index from the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, it ranks 151st out of 180 countries in protecting its natural biodiversity.

USAID’s Project Turizam is looking at how to improve that position and promote nature conservation while supporting small-scale culinary, handicraft and agricultural producers.

Register for free for the Driving Tourism Recovery and Resilience in Bosnia and Herzegovina Webinar by clicking here.