LGBT tourism: How gay-friendly is the tourist accommodation in BiH?

16. 02. 2015


Author: Jadranka Ćuzulan

Translation in English: Marina Veličković

We decided to search global booking sites to find information regarding how many hostels/hotels/B&Bs in BiH are gay-friendly. Although the most prominent sites, like and Trip Advisor don’t feature a “gay-friendly” category, it is available on: eurohostel, hostelsclub, instantworldbooking, gomio, roomex, hostelsworldwide, todaytourism, We found 30 gay-friendly hostels/hotels/B&Bs in BiH.

We decided to check this information by contacting the establishments. Most confirmed that they are indeed gay-friendly. There is an overwhelming consensus that their hospitality extends to all their guests. As our respondent from Hotel Jadran in Neum pointed out, “If we find a common interest, we work with everyone.”

Anonymously gay-friendly

On the other hand we noticed some reservations towards unbridled support for the LGBT population. As one interviewee, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “It’s not as if I’m inviting them with my outstretched arms, saying “Come, Come!” There is also fear of what it would mean to publicly label one’s establishment as gay-friendly, “Everyone is welcome, sexual orientation doesn’t mean anything to us. But that information should stay on the tourist website, and shouldn’t be verbalized. We are a very closed society. Čaršija is incredible – we’d rather not have our name dragged through online forums,” said a representative of one Sarajevo hostel.

“Why would we ask our guests what they are?”

A common misunderstanding of the very concept of “gay-friendly” establishments and employees becomes apparent when they claim that they are neither gay-friendly, nor gay-unfriendly, as if being gay-friendly implies special treatment. Pointing out that sexual orientation of the guests is their private business (“They’re normal people, like everyone else. No one is stopping them from visiting. They have private rooms and can do what they want.”), or that it is none of the respondents’ concern (“We don’t mind, but we didn’t mark anything. To mark it out, that wouldn’t be right. Why would we ask the guests what they are?”), shows a lack of understanding of discrimination that the LGBT population faces.

Screenshot (10)“Do you know that this is a business establishment?”

Some interviewees seemed confused by the question, some with the very fact that there could be a gay-unfriendly hostel, like one of the employees of hostel Art, “This is the first time in my career that I’ve heard that there is a gay-friendly, or a gay-unfriendly hotel. There’s no division. All guests are welcome.” On the other hand, some thought that the notion of a gay-friendly hotel was ridiculous, “I find this ludicrous. This information has nothing to do with tourism and hotels. Do you know that this is a business establishment. Is Trip Advisor introducing a “gay-friendly” option? Is this something new? Why would they do that? I have no comment,” said an employee from hotel Herc.

European portal

Most of those who have confirmed that they are gay-friendly state that their support is guaranteed. They consider that they are doing their job and that all guests need to be treated equally. What matters to them is that their foreign guests know that they are open to everyone, and one of our correspondents stated that as the reason for tagging their establishment as “gay-friendly” on the European Booking Portal.

Pet-friendly? LGBT-friendly?

The way in which the owners of the tourist accommodation see LGBT rights is mostly through the business attitude that “All guests are equal,” and they view their guests through the lens of business cooperation and establishment rules. Gay-friendliness is therefore equated with pet-friendliness, as one of the correspondents from hotel Michele said, “We are pet-friendly for animals under 5kg, so of course we’re friendly for gay people. They’re not animals. They’re people,” and it can therefore be seen as openness for cooperation with different groups. Essentially, they are business establishments where everyone is “just guests.”

Why is it important to mark an establishment as gay-friendly?

LGBT guests as a vulnerable group that is often exposed to various forms of discrimination want to know that the place they have chosen to stay at is gay-friendly and will treat them cordially, without passing judgment. In that way the owners of the establishments enable LGBT persons to pick the accommodation that will guarantee them a comfortable stay.

And here is a list of LGBT friendly hostels/hotels and B&Bs in BiH:

Hostel Doctor's house

Hostel Franz Ferdinand

Hostel Like

Hostel Vagabond

Hotel Ahar

Hotel America

Hotel Art

Hotel Belvedere

Hotel Jadran

Hotel Merona

Hotel Michele

Hotel Rostovo

Pansion Kandilj

Pansion Kod Keme

Pansion Lion

Pansion Sebilj

Pansion Skend

Pansion Villa Nana

Text available also on BCS language, read it on following link.




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