Within the framework of the joint project of the European Union and the German Government – EU4BusinessRecovery, to help businesses mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH has issued a public call for projects in the tourism sector. Grants and technical support will be available to companies and tour operators to ensure business continuity, but also the creation of innovative startups.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tourism sector has been rapidly growing, contributing with approx. 10% to overall GDP and employing over 43,000 persons. However, the sector has not reached its full potential, due to a limited offer and non-existence of destination management, inadequate transport and tourism infrastructure, business environment and inadequately utilized natural and cultural resources.
The lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on tourism, with the sector recording a steep decline of around 80% and not rebounding yet to pre-crisis levels.
Thus, EU4BusinessRecovery helps the tourism sector through an integrated package of advisory services and financial incentives to recover and relaunch business activities.
Nicolas Bizel, Head of the Section for Justice, Home Affairs and Public Administration Reform of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the tourism sector and it pointed out structural weaknesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as weak business environment, and the lack of destination management strategies. The European Union further emphasized the need to act in the tourism sector through a conference they organized in June together with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of B&H, which concluded that tourism is a driver of prosperity and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but that the potential hasn’t been fully utilized. The need for strategies within tourism at the level of the entire country was emphasized for Bosnia and Herzegovina to better position itself on the regional and international market.
Grant fund worth EUR 1 million is available within EU4BusinessRecovery for reset and recovery measures in tourism focusing on activities such as: developing destination management strategy, accessing new markets for local tourism operators, brand development, development of green tourism action plans, investments in environmentally-friendly solutions, etc.
Municipalities, local/regional development agencies, and chambers of commerce can apply for the Call as lead applicants who will work on destination development to support the final beneficiaries of the project who are private tourism businesses. The amount of possible funds per project is up to 150,000 EUR. The required own contribution of the applicants is between 20% and 80% of the total eligible costs of the proposed project.
Applications can be submitted online via the following link: https://eu4business.core-enigma.com/.
Nils Wetzel, project manager at GIZ, said: “For the recovery of the tourism sector it is not enough to directly support individual businesses, but also to support the creation of business models that enable sustainable development, customer diversification, increased digitalization, and creating competitive offers that go hand in hand with offers from the region.”
The EU4BusinessRecovery project supports micro, small and medium enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue business activities and preserve jobs, especially entrepreneurs, young people and other vulnerable groups in starting their own businesses and overcoming the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by creating a more resilient business environment. The total value of the project is 13.7 million euros, jointly funded by the European Union (13 million euros) and the German Government (0.7 million euros). EU4BusinessRecovery is jointly implemented by GIZ, ILO, and UNDP, from 2021 to 2023.
For more information, please contact: EU4Business@giz.de.