The research confirmed: What fascinates and what repels tourists in Mostar?

The authors analyzed a thousand user posts, or reviews, on the popular tourist platform TripAdvisor.

What fascinates tourists about Mostar, and what makes it less attractive? It is one of the questions answered in their research by Nela Ćosić and Marko Mlikota, young scientists of the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Mostar and the Faculty of Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb. On this occasion, the authors analyzed a thousand user posts, or reviews, on the popular tourist platform TripAdvisor.

The results of the research were published in a professional article on the topic “Tourist platform TripAdvisor as a medium for promoting a tourist destination: analysis of user posts on the example of the city of Mostar”. The work was published in the scientific and professional yearbook ‘Culture of Communication’ published by the University of Mostar, University of the North and University of JJ Strossmayer in Osijek.

75.6% positive comments

According to the authors, tourism is one of the most massive, dynamic and complex socio-economic phenomena of recent times. This, they add, indicates the complex dynamics and impact of tourism on all aspects of the development of a destination. TripAdvisor was chosen as the medium for the analysis because it is the world’s largest travel platform. Approximately 65 million visitors regularly search the platform in search of accommodation, restaurants, cafes. They are available in 43 different markets and use 22 languages.

As part of the conducted qualitative and quantitative research on the experience of tourists about the city of Mostar, the authentic experiences of every tourist from 2017 until today were analyzed. The results show that 75.6% of the comments had a positive tone, 18.9% were neutral, and 5.5% were negative. The greatest interest of users is focused on the heritage of the city.

“Analyzing the content, as many as 77.1% of the comments refer to the historical and cultural heritage of Mostar, which means that tourists are mostly attracted by the rich history, tradition and culture of this city, with the greatest focus on the Old Bridge. The natural beauty enchanted the visitors and received a mention with 5.3% of comments, which implies that tourists appreciate the natural benefits of Mostar, and above all the emerald river Neretva. Gastronomy, infrastructure, hospitality and manifestations are less prominent, but also worth mentioning when we talk about the aspects that contribute to the creation of a tourist destination”, said the author of the research, Nela Ćosić.

Slippery Old Bridge

The jumps from the Old Bridge, according to the users, are one of the main attractions and symbols of Mostar. A less attractive feature, which tourists mentioned in their experiences, are past wars. By linking Mostar as a city in conflict, the image of Mostar can be affected, primarily due to the safety of guests during their stay. As other disadvantages of the city on the Neretva, tourists pointed out the slippery surface of the Old Bridge itself, which, they believe, makes it difficult for them to stay due to possible falls. Frequent petty thefts were also mentioned.

The researchers pointed out that Mostar derives its tourist potential from the Old Town and the Old Bridge, as well as religious buildings. On the other hand, rural tourism falls into the shadows, even though the potentials are unlimited, even though these localities need additional valorization of the offer and promotion. According to the authors, the data obtained from such and similar research can be an excellent starting point for the development of strategic documents for the development of the destination. Through qualitative analysis, it was established that tourists are gradually choosing to stay for more days in Mostar, thus moving away from the previous ‘passing destination’.

“Understanding the opinions of tourists and their preferences can help different tourism organizations and levels of government in shaping communication strategies and improving the tourist offer of the city. Mostar as a tourist destination, like any other, can only be successful if it responds well to the various needs of guests. A positive step towards this is the final formation of the Tourist Board of the City of Mostar, which should implement strategies and activities with the aim of popularizing Mostar as a desirable tourist destination,” said research co-author Marko Mlikota.