Panelists of the conference in Trebinje sent a joint message – Regional cooperation and a joint tourist product are key to success

At the conference in Trebinje organized by the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum together with the host of the event – Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina entitled “Fostering regional tourism products”, representatives of the tourism sector agreed that regional cooperation and a joint tourism product are key to success in recovering of this branch of the economy.

Within the conference, two panels were realized: “Regional cooperation in tourism – the role of private sector in promoting the region as a tourist destination” and “Developing sustainable tourism – best world practices”.

Participants of these panels were: Dragan Bogdanic (ZTC Banja Vrucica), Sead Krupalija (BH Passport), Davor Kresic (Hotel Sunce Neum), Mirko Levajac (Rubikon Travel, Serbia), Ljubisa Nesovanovic (Robinson, Serbia), Kornelia Ferizaj (National Tourism Agency, Albania), Ibrahim Osta (USAID Tourism), Marko Radic (Republika Srpska Tourist Organization), Dusan Borovcanin (Serbian Tourist Organization) and Ana Tanevska Gjorgijevska (Catering and Tourism Industry Association, North Macedonia). The moderator of the panel was dr Ravik Mima from Albania.

The panelists had the opportunity to share with the audience their views of the current situation in the field of tourism, obstacles that they are facing every day, and also to propose certain solutions in this matter. They highlighted the importance of tourism as an economic branch whose development contributes to the development of many other branches directly or indirectly and thus contributes to the improvement of the economy in general. As it was pointed out, the problems are more or less the same in all Western Balkans countries, which is why their solution requires joint action of all tourism workers as well as representatives of relevant government institutions.

In order to bring the tourism activity to a higher level, businessmen and investors from tourism believe that it is necessary to modify certain legal acts, and consider abolishing VAT on tourist services or introduce a differential rate, or significantly reduce its amount for tourism services, due to the importance of the accelerated development of this sector.

A great chance for the development of tourism lies in unifying the regional touristic offer. In the last few months, intensive work has been done on connecting tourist operators with the aim of identifying the unique offer of the region, because in that way tourists would be able to visit and enjoy its exceptional natural beauties in one offer. As the panelists pointed out, the region of the Western Balkans is unique in many ways, and as such we should not replicate other destinations, but keep our uniqueness and promote it on the market in the right way. In order to achieve this, stronger support is needed from all actors involved, especially from the governments of the region.

Through the panels of this conference, chambers of commerce of Western Balkans gathered in the Chamber Investment Forum of Western Balkans 6, gave their support to the better connectivity of economies, and economic entities from the region with the aim of unifying a common regional offer, which can only result in success stories for all those involved in the chain of connectivity.

The event was organized by the Chamber Investment Forum of Western Balkans, as part of the KVP Project to support the partnership of Western Balkan chambers of commerce, with the support of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).

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