“Good Host” is a travel agency from Banja Luka that deals with receptive tourism, offering a wide range of tourist services in order to enable every visitor to Banja Luka to create their stay in the city.
The originator of this story is Aleksa Bojić, a 26-year economics graduate, currently in the second cycle of studies at the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka, majoring in Cultural Heritage Management and Tourism in Culture. We talked with Aleksa about the work of this unique travel agency in Banja Luka.
FRONTAL: How did you come up with the idea of launching a “good host”?
BOJIĆ: I came up with the idea a long time ago, in 2016 on a student trip in Belgrade inspired by the entrepreneurial economy I listened to during that period, I realized in Belgrade that it was not a complete tourist offer, but it was partial, for example renting an apartment for a day, you can take a rental car or have lunch nearby you have no one to turn to for your tourist needs, so I applied the concept to Banja Luka and opened a receptive tourism agency and we are there to support tourists at any time some services are charged and some are not. Our team has a large number of people and that is why I will not stand out to anyone because it is above all the ideas of the Good Host.
We can say that our motto is “We change your mind, you change the world”. You may be wondering why this is our motto, and the answer is that in the world, especially in the Western media, there are still ugly images of the Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska, we want to change that and change it gradually.
FRONTAL: How did it go from idea to arrival of the first guest? Did you have the support of local authorities in your story?
BOJIĆ: The path from idea to realization is on a long stick, but one should know that money does not create ideas, but ideas money. Our first tourist arrived from Myanmar and for the first of April, we thought it was a joke… However, it was our first satisfied tourist and since then more and more satisfied tourists have since that day gone from our city with the promise that they will return.
We have support every step of the way from institutions at the local and republic level to hostels, hotels, apartments, day clubs, sports clubs of organizations and others.
FRONTAL: How do tourists find out about you?
BOJIĆ: Tourists come to us with the help of flyers, through the site, trip counselors, FB .. Tours are priced in such a way that there are permanent routes, more precisely trips, and each tourist can make a trip for himself what he wants to see, we are adjusting, our best-selling the excursion is Ethno Day, followed by Wine Road and City Tour.
The tourists in our case that we deal with and contact us are from the Benelux countries, but there are also guests from Germany, Sweden, Austria.
FRONTAL: Where do tourists usually come from? What were their experiences?
BOJIĆ: As far as their experience goes, I will return to the beginning of this interview, they come with a lot of mistrust, and I can say with a dose of fear, and they leave enthusiastic with people, nature, food and prices of course. At the end of the day, we live in capitalism where everything is measured through money.
Of course, since we are talking about foreigners who are either completely uninformed about BiH or semi-informed, we also had a large number of anecdotes with them when their preconceptions collide with the real picture in BiH. For example, guests from the Netherlands were surprised that there were no bullet holes and demolished buildings in Banja Luka, so we had to explain to them that there was no war in Banja Luka.
FRONTAL: Foreigners usually visit Sarajevo and Mostar in BiH. How can Banja Luka be imposed on foreigners as a desirable destination during their visit to BiH?
BOJIĆ: We can impose ourselves on what we are, a city of good people, beautiful nature, which has the opportunity to impose itself as a tourist regional center, that is all we should work on. Today, in the 21st century, everyone uses air traffic, with the opening of new flights the number of tourists will increase, but these are things that others need to take care of. It is up to us to be a Good Host.
Foto: Facebook Good Host Banja Luka – Dobar Domaćin