Tourism chiefs in Bosnia and Herzegovina are aiming to boost travel to the Balkan country as part of an ongoing partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of 12 Balkan countries and more than 100 suppliers from the region who will be taking part in the New Deal Europe virtual trade showcase on Monday.

The country’s tourism growth is being partially driven by a five-year USAID project called USAID Turizam which is worth $20 million and aims to promote its cultural heritage and distinctive attractions.

The investment, which is the largest of several international donor programmes in the country, aims to “support the tourism industry to recover from the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and set it on a robust growth trajectory toward a sustainable tourism economy with increased employment and business expansion”.

In addition to driving increased visitor numbers, the programmes also contribute to investment in infrastructure and support for local companies that have capitalised on new opportunities as a result of disruption to trade routes and supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ibrahim Osta, USAID Turizam chief of party, said the ultimate goal was to make Bosnia and Herzegovina “the most sought-after destination on the planet” in conjunction with local and international partners including the Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council.

He added: “Our portfolio tackles destination competitiveness, workforce development, improved international promotion, enhancing visitor experience and fueling growth through expanded access to finance and attracting investment into the tourism sector.

“We are also working to expand nature conservation, improve management of nature parks and protected areas and effect a digital transformation industry wide.”

Steliana Nedera, United Nations Development Programme resident representative, said: “Bosnia Herzegovina could emerge stronger and more resilient by recognising and investing in the potential of its domestic economy. Yet this new reality demands a ‘new deal’ response, with cooperation among all levels of government and key stakeholders.”

The New Deal Europe Balkans showcase takes place on Monday, April 12.

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