Via Dinarica continues to pave a path towards sustainable tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina - the start of a new 2 million Euro worth project phase announced
March 6, 2023
The new phase of the Via Dinarica Project, worth 2 million Euro, was officially announced by the signing of an agreement in Sarajevo by H. E. Marco Di Ruzza, Ambassador of Italy to BiH and Steliana Nedera, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The aim of the next three-year phase, which will be financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), is the further promotion of the Via Dinarica destination on the global tourist map and the provision of support to all key stakeholders in restarting and strengthening tourism along the Via Dinarica trails, with the aim of supporting sustainable tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project offers a new perspective of the future of nature - based tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, aimed at green development strengthened by new technologies and innovations.
On this occasion, H.E. Marco Di Ruzza emphasized: "I am excited to sign this agreement for the new phase of the Via Dinarica project in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project will contribute to the recovery and strengthening of tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to its transition towards sustainability as one of the most important economic sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), our government has been committed to promoting social cohesion and integration by financing numerous projects aimed at fostering cooperation, exchange and dialogue among people of different cultures and backgrounds as well as development of dynamic sustainable forms of tourism to contribute to BiH’s economic balance. The Via Dinarica project is an important step towards sustainable tourism in the country, and we are proud to support its development."
From a pioneer in promoting outdoor, adventure, and rural tourism in BiH Via Dinarica has developed to a globally recognized regional tourism destination which is featured in world-known publications or, as National Geographic put it: “What was once a contentious region has become the planet’s most exciting cross-border destination.” Via Dinarica has also played a key role in supporting domestic tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has created new jobs and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods in the rural communities along its trails.
„It is with great pleasure that I highlight the strong partnership between UNDP, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the Italian Embassy in Sarajevo towards creating a better future for our youth, protecting our environment, fighting against climate change, and strengthening rural tourism. The Italian government has been a vital partner in advancing UNDP's agenda, and we look forward to deepening we look forward to deepening cooperation in order to jointly support the progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially in the field of tourism. COVID – 19 pandemic halted and threatened progress achieved over the past period and in 2020, revenues in tourism decreased by more than 85%, and the number of international tourists went down by nearly 70%. However, in 2022 the tourist arrivals and overnight stays in BiH approached the record 2019 pre-pandemic figures and it is forecast that 2023 numbers could surpass it, according to travel analyst Tourism Economics. Tourism activity shifted towards the domestic and regional markets, giving boost and visibility to outdoor destinations such as Via Dinarica. Furthermore, I would like to thank all partners involved in the Via Dinarica project and look forward to working together to achieve its goals. Especially to relevant institutions - the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism and Trade of Republika Srpska, which have been a reliable partner and will remain so in the new phase of Via Dinarica”, said Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in BiH.
In the next three years, project will support all key stakeholders to restart and strenghtening tourism along the Via Dinarica trails, which pave the way towards sustainable tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will also focus on building the capacity of local communities, supporting sustainable tourism practices, economic empowerment of women and promoting gender equality in the tourism sector.
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