Low investment interest in BiH's tourism industry - "Via Dinarica" project expected to boost tourism

Low investment interest in BiH's tourism industry - "Via Dinarica" project expected to boost tourism
BiH Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Mirko Sarovic, said on Monday, in Sarajevo, that there is insufficient or very small interest from investors' side for investing in tourism. He added that in the area of ​​tourism, BiH is lagging behind other countries in the region which are at least 10 to 15 years ahead of BiH.

Sarovic said that the project "Via Dinarica" is an incentive for everyone in BiH to invest more in tourism.

"This is an opportunity to change the view on this important sector, which can be a motive for the development of the economy in BiH in general," Sarovic told the media ahead of the conference "Via Dinarica - Platform for Sustainable Tourism Development and Local Economic Growth in BiH".

According to him, tourism must find its place in all boroughs, entities and BiH future plans. Also, it should be part of all reform agendas and all institutional budgets in BiH for next year. The goal is to make a key step, catch up with neighbours and reach the goal of the first billion euros that will have been earned from the tourism industry.

"BiH has the potential to do so in the next few years," emphasised Sarovic.

He believes that BiH must work harder in order to change the image of the country, and to make it recognisable as a great tourist destination, instead of letting it be known in the minds of many only as a country that went through a bloody civil war in the '90s.

UNDP Resident Representative to BiH, Sezin Sinanoglu, said at the presentation that tourism in BiH is developing at a high speed.

"This year, there has been an increase in the number of tourists who visited BiH by 18 percent, and this is the largest increase in the number of tourists in any country of Europe this year," Sinanoglu said.

She pointed out that the development of tourism means improvement of infrastructure, opening of new jobs and growth of the economy. Sinanoglu added that tourism, in general, means improving the living standards and the well-being of all people in BiH. Via Dinarica, as she said, is a unique product because it connects the people of the Balkans, global tourists and other people, with nature. The official stressed that UNDP and USAID have invested 3,5 million US Dollars in three and a half years.

Sinanoglu stated that this project improved living and living standards in rural areas of BiH and agencies in the field of tourism.

"This project marked 800 kilometers of trails in the Dinaric Alps, provided education to people in improving the tourist offer in rural areas, providing new lodging and food services. Thanks to the project, many mountaineering houses on the trails are renovated and assistance was given in some other services," Sinanoglu said.

Minister of Environment and Tourism of the Federation BiH, Edita Djapo, said that the project "Via Dinarica" is important from several aspects, and one of them is that it promotes nature and stresses its importance.

"It connects the whole region and promotes BiH and the whole region, promotes tourism and economic development of the local community. Through this project, sports and adventure tourism and eco-tourism are developing, and these are the two branches in tourism that are the fastest growing in the world, even in BiH," said Djapo.

Director of the USAID Mission Office in BiH, Andrew Bogel, believes that this project has achieved remarkable results.

"The project has contributed to the development of the local community, companies, opening new jobs and marking thousands of kilometers of tracks, which has highlighted the great potential that BiH and tourism in this country have," Bogel said.

At the conference, symbolically held on the International Day of the Mountains, the beauties and potentials of the Dinaric mountainous area will be presented through interesting and colourful presentations of the results of the Via Dinarica project, realised in the field of tourism development and contribution to local economic growth in BiH.../IBNA 

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