Sarajevo perceives halal certification as an essential element in its tourism development
The 3rd World Islamic Tourism Conference (WITC) witnessed the discussions between tourism players, highlighting prominent industry issues. The event also became a platform for Muslim-friendly destinations to introduce and promote the attractions and accommodations in their countries which would appeal to the Muslim travellers.
Speaking as one of the panellists at the WITC 2022 was Emina Nizic, Promotion Coordinator, Tourism Association of Sarajevo Canton. She felt it was a great honour for the tourism association to be part of the conference.
“It is an excellent opportunity for us to promote ourselves in this market and for my town and country to become desirable tourist destinations. Sarajevo city is the capital town of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the biggest town in Bosnia.
“It is a mixture of the East and West, and we are proud that we are the only place in Europe that can be called the European Jerusalem because we are home to four monotheistic religions. It is amazing when you hear the bell from the church and azan from the mosque,” said Emina.
The influence of the Ottoman empire
She noted that almost 80 per cent of Sarajevo’s population were Muslims.
“Islam came to Sarajevo with Ottomans. The Ottoman Empire founded it in 1462. For centuries, we had been under the great influence of Ottoman culture. Then, we were under Austro-Hungarian rule. So, we are truly a mix of the East and West,” Emina elaborated.
“We took the best from the East and the West. We are a city in the middle of Europe, with a cultural heritage from Europe, but with a strong influence of Islam. We are a Muslim-friendly destination with many options – prayer places, halal food, halal tours, and halal accommodation.”
Emina explained that Islam was part of life in Sarajevo. Whilst many restaurants still do not possess the halal certificate, most of the food at the destination is halal.
“This is something that is still in process. Step by step, we are getting more and more halal-certified products, agencies and hotels. We recognise this as a vital part of our tourism development. In the future, we will have more agencies and hotels with halal certification.
“We are open-minded people. A friendly destination that is easily reachable and affordable. We will be more than happy to host you in Sarajevo.”