Tourism promotion and boosting BiH’s competitiveness are the focus of a USD 2.7 million worth investment for the Via Dinarica project, which was provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Italian Development Agency (AICS) and the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism FBiH. In the press release it is stressed that the marking of additional 500 kilometers of trails along the Dinaric Mountains and the inclusion of new local communities in a unique tourist offer will be among key project activities for the next two years.
“A few years ago, Via Dinarica was just an idea, and now it has become a recognizable brand for BiH, which contributes significantly to economic development, especially to the farthest rural communities”, said Suhrob Koshmukhamedov, a.i. Resident Representative of UNDP in BiH. Via Dinarica is implemented by UNDP in partnership with the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, the RS Ministry of Trade and Tourism, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Federation BiH.
“In our effort to bolster the area’s tourism market, USAID is proud to have helped chart and mark over 2,500 km of trails and assist 20 rural households to upgrade their facilities. As a result, some 600 beds in upgraded facilities are now ready and awaiting for tourists”, said Peter Duffy, USAID Mission Director in BiH.
“Via Dinarica is a project that follows world trends in tourism, such as the development of adventure and nature tourism. Over the last five years, we have had the opportunity to see that investment in improving accommodation capacities and expanding the tourist offer has been fruitful,” said Snježana Marić of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding that the Ministry is very pleased with the results achieved through the Via Dinarica project.
Minister of Trade and Tourism of Republika Srpska Dragica Kovač said that the Via Dinarica project provides a chance for local community development, increasing the benefits for the population and providing new tourist offers.
“In its territorial diversity, Italy, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina, can boast of a large number of beautiful and challenging locations and a wide range of landscapes: mountains, valleys, water springs, rich forests, enchanting villages rich in history, tradition and gastronomic pleasures”, they said from the Italian Development Cooperation Agency. They added that environmental protection and sustainable tourism will be their priority in the upcoming period in the region, and that Via Dinarica is certainly a leading project that will strongly contribute to the protection and valorisation of unique historical, cultural and natural values of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Farida Cikotić from the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism emphasized that the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism has recognized the great importance of the Via Dinarica Project for Tourism Development.
“The Government of the Federation BiH, at the proposal of our ministry, supported both phases of the project with 500,000 BAM. Via Dinarica provides a balance between satisfying tourism needs and environmental protection”.
Via Dinarica is a concept that connects the seven countries and territories through which the mountain range of the Dinaric Alps extends from Slovenia to northern Albania. The heart of these “Mega Trails” is in BiH, and its unique white, green and blue Via Dinarica trails have already attracted the attention of leading world media such as National Geographic, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, Outside Magazine, Vogue and The Independent./ibna