The tourism sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the few bright spots on the country’s economic radar. Although encouraging, the tourism industry’s performance remains far below potential. This can be attributed to a variety of challenges such as underdevelopment and inadequate management of many tourism sites and tourism infrastructure and still lacking global image of BiH that has not been addressed by an effective country branding and marketing campaign.
Via Dinarica connects seven countries and territories that encompass the Dinaric Alps mountain range: from Slovenia to Albania. It is a platform that serves to develop local communities and small businesses in the field of hospitality and outdoor tourism service provision at a local, national, and international level, as well as to promote nature based outdoor tourism and cultural heritage.
The first phase of the project, funded by USAID and UNDP (2014 – 2017), focused on the portion of the mountain range in BiH, which is the heart of the whole Via Dinarica, and was implemented in cooperation with the national partners.
Throughout the project implementation it has become obvious that Via Dinarica holds the potential to be further developed and affirmed as a world-class hiking and outdoor adventure trail. Via Dinarica in Bosnia and Herzegovina came under the spotlight through featuring in publications produced within the project, while our partners from USAID REG project were responsible for publishing stories about the trail in global travel media, such as Guardian, Lonely Planet, Vouge, Outside magazine and also for Via Dinarica being listed among Best Trips in 2017 by National Geographic Traveler.
Recognizing the potential, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and USAID, together with national partners, decided to support implementation of the second phase of Via Dinarica Project starting as of 2018. In the new phase of the Project local communities are yet to fully capitalize on the economic opportunities offered by the Via Dinarica tourism product. Further support is needed to translate the existing potentials into higher income opportunities and creation of more jobs.