With the highest mountains of the Dinaric Alps, Kosovo* and Albania have to be fully integrated into the Via Dinarica White Trail. In order to integrate both Kosovo* and Albania, the good practice and expertise will be obtained, and assessments conducted by adventure tourism expert. Therefore 200 km of new trail have to be GPS marked and at least 30 accommodation facilities recorded. The adventure tourism expert have the following Tasks and responsibilities:
General information about the Project
Responsible Party Agreement Identification Number: BIH10/00107611&00111453-Terra Dinarica-001
Title of the Project: Improvement of accessibility of Via Dinarica trails in Bosnia and Herzegovina and further affirmation of Via Dinarica brand
Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo*
Duration: 24 months (March 2019 - March 2021)
UNDP Grant/Total budget (EUR): 211.000USD
Terra Dinarica (TD)
The project builds on existing Project Via Dinarica: Assessment and Capacity Development (Phase II) and through previous projects funded by UNDP.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) still struggle in achieving economic stability. Tourism, and in particular adventure tourism, has been identified by both local and international institutions as great potential tourism development in BiH. Job creation and income generation is a key factor in achieving that stability. Terra Dinarica aims to utilize the vast comparative advantages for BiH and the region in this field by developing the Via Dinarica as a mega brand that will be the foundation for broad, cross sector, environmentally sustainable development and job creation with a strong focus on vulnerable populations, such as women, elderly, youth and returnees in rural areas in the Dinaric region.
The project will be implemented over a 24 months span.
The project aims to provide follow-up on development activities on the White, Green and Blue Trails; to provide best practice and know – how on Via Dinarica trail assessment in Kosovo* and Albania; to promote and make visible all above mentioned through Via Dinarica web platform (OA - Outdooractive), and to gain Leading Quality Trail (LQT) – Best of Europe certificate for White Trail in BiH.
Therefore, above mentioned challenges will be addressed and goals achieved by:
Kosovo* and Albania have begun to become an attractive adventure tourism destination. With the highest mountains of the Dinaric Alps, these two countries have to be fully integrated into the Via Dinarica White Trail. Even though, both countries have many trails that are marked and connected to Via Dinarica, there are still gaps along the trail as well as proposed variants. In order to integrate both Kosovo* and Albania trails into the Via Dinarica trail platform, the good practice and expertise will be obtained, and assessments conducted by adventure tourism expert. Therefore 200 km of new trails have to be GPS marked with at least 30 accommodation facilities recorded, as well as other points of interest.
In order to achieve above mentioned, the adventure tourism expert have the following tasks and responsibilities:
Timeframe for implementation:
Profile of Expert(s)
Good knowledge of the topics required for the Assessment.
Previous work experience in outdoor adventure activities.
Good health and fitness
Experience in trail assessment and development
Experience in managing GPS data
Good computer skills
Good knowledge of English
Experience with GIS software platforms is an advantage
DOCUMENTS FOR DOWNLOAD
The second phase of the Via Dinarica project is implemented and co-financed by the United Nations Development Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNDP BiH), with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID BiH) and the Agency for Development Cooperation of the Republic of Italy (AICS). The second phase of this project is carried out in cooperation with local partners - the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Trade and Tourism of Republika Srpska, local authorities, as well as the non-governmental and private sectors active in tourism.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Implemented by: Terra Dinarica
With its beautiful and untouched nature, rivers, lakes and mountains, Bosnia and Herzegovina holds tremendous potential for tourism. Until recently, this potential remained largely unfulfilled, mainly from a lack of strategic investment as the country struggled to shed its image as a post-war country.
Domestic tourists take advantage of the beauty of Bihać in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Dejan Miholjčić / UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina has struggled with high unemployment for 25 years, especially among youth. The consequences of the past war, complex administrative structures, the disappearance of dozens of large companies and thousands of jobs continue to impede economic recovery. Micro, small and medium sized enterprises are seen as solutions for improving the quality of life and reversing the alarming trend of brain drain.
In recent years, tourism has been recognized as a driver of the economy, with potential to bring development especially to remote rural areas.
UNDP’s Via Dinarica project, a hiking route connecting seven countries and territories, is based on the shared idea that economic development and protection of the natural environment can and should go hand-in-hand. Appearing in National Geographic Travel, Vogue and numerous other international magazines, Via Dinarica successfully placed the focus on Bosnia and Herzegovina as an undiscovered and appealing destination for tourists. Investment in the tourism sector increased, and families in distant areas embraced the prospect of earning additional income by opening up new “destinations”.
Slavojka Puhalo and her husband don't have the chance to welcome as many guests these days. Photos: Sulejman Omerbašić / UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Slavojka Puhalo household located in a remote area of Kalinovik is now a well-known site on Via Dinarica, famous for its delicious domestically produced food, authentic experience and warm and generous hospitality. Slavojka started her own Bed & Breakfast business in 2015 and it soon became the most important source of income for her family, hosting visitors from around the world.
Then came the Coronavirus pandemic. As the health crisis turned into an economic one, their combined effect is set to leave deep scars across society.
Waking up in a travel-less world
Travel came to a halt, making tourism one of the hardest hit economic sectors globally. Between January and June 2020, the number of international tourists in Bosnia and Herzegovina dropped by 71 percent, compared to same period last year. Simultaneously, the number of overnight stays by domestic tourists was halved.
Now, thousands of jobs in the tourism industry are at stake in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the entire region faces an economic crisis of unprecedented scale, with income from tourism dropping by close to 80 percent. What took a decade to develop in tourism has been almost completely shattered by five months of travel restrictions and pandemic fears. Families that invested their life savings to welcome tourists now fear they will lose everything.
Slobodan Brkić's business has been affected by the decline in tourism. Photos: Sulejman Omerbašić / UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina
Slobodan Brkić, who transformed a property on the Via Dinarica route, hopes that his business can survive. “Until the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism was a branch of the economy with constant growth,” he says. “We have to push through this year to survive. The problem will be after the summer, when not enough is earned to cover the winter expenses. We continue to work even though there is almost no income, no tourists.”
In coordination with international partners, UNDP has adapted existing programmes and launched a series of new interventions aimed at mitigating the impact the crisis has on the most vulnerable people. Tourism was targeted as one of the key areas of economic recovery, with a specific aim in mind: to now attract domestic tourists.
As a nature-based tourism initiative, Via Dinarica offers visitors the opportunity to spend their free time in a healthy environment where it is possible to maintain physical distance and at the same time visit interesting natural, cultural and historical tourism sites.
Through the project, UNDP partnered with 20 municipalities and cities, investing US$1 million in tourism services and infrastructural development with support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Agency for Development Cooperation of the Republic of Italy (AICS).
But it has to adapt to the new reality of tourism and the circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The social media campaign Via Dinarica Will Wait for You was launched in April, so that the tourism offers and brand could be sensitively communicated even during the lockdown period, to keep the interest of past and future visitors.
Adapting part of an ongoing economic and environmental programme, UNDP in partnership with the Swiss Government and the City of Bihać launched domestic tourist voucher subsidies. Each voucher has a value of BAM 200 (US$120), which is de facto a discount on accommodation payment in Bihać.
Bihać, the site of a new tourist voucher scheme. Photos: Dejan Miholjčić / UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina
Strong emphasis is placed on digital marketing campaigns and online sales platforms to attract domestic tourists. A week after its release all of the ‘Rest in BiHać’ vouchers had sold out.
These immediate impact actions will be followed by grants to farmers, craftspeople and artisans along Via Dinarica in order to strengthen the domestic value chain. UNDP is providing technical assistance to help Via Dinarica providers adapt their businesses, maintaining the liquidity of operations, and adjusting their premises and services to the new epidemiological and health safety requirements in line with the best international practices.
Slavojka, for example, is now welcoming domestic guests only and hopes to host many more in the future.
As the entire tourism sector needs to adapt to the new reality of tourism and the circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that a joint whole-of-government approach is required.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNDP and the relevant Ministries in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been discussing the pandemic consequences to tourism sector. UNDP is advising the government on an appropriate response to tourism sector recovery, particularly more resilient, digital, green-job oriented and effectively coordinated amongst relevant stakeholders.
UNDP supports the country to re-start in a strategic, sustainable and coordinated way, to protect those who are most vulnerable and to prevent a deterioration of the progress achieved over the past decades.
Read more about Via Dinarica and UNDP's work on the initiative: An epic trail comes to life in the Balkans
U periodu od marta do juna 2020. godine izvršena je obnova dijela Zelene staze Via Dinarica staza u banjalučkoj regiji, i to na dionici od vodopada Švrakave do Kamenog mosta. Na pomenutoj dionici urađeno je krčenje rastinja i uklanjanje oborenih stabala nakon zime, obnavljanje markacije, te korekcija postojeće trase. Radove su izveli licencirani markiraoci Jugoslav Vuković i Aleksandar Svitić iz planinarskod društva Kozara, Banja Luka.
Kompletna dionica planinarske staze koja ide od Kašića do vrha Vito, i to preko Vranskih stijena, Lukomira i Bobovice u dužini od 40,5km je u potpunosti obnovljna. Staza je očišćena i markacija osvježena. Donosimo vam nekoliko fotografija sa radnih akcija koje su trajale u periodu od maja mjeseca. Na održavanju i obnovi ove dionice radiolo je Planinarsko društvo "Željezničar" iz Sarajeva. Inače ova dionica dio je Bijele staze Via Dinarica rute.
One of the beautiful hiking adventures you can do while in BiH is to hike up Čvrsnica Mountain, the highest mountain of Herzegovina. Čvrsnica boasts many summits above 2000 m.a.s.l. and several plateaus. Its unique beauty attracts mountaineers from the whole region. Depending on your enthusiasm and fitness level you could go all the way to the famous Rebel’s Gate (2000 masl – 6 hr), to Tise (1380 masl – 3,5 hr) or, like me, you could just go to the Žlijeb viewpoint at 1090 masl (2 hr). The view, as well as the hike are rewarding wherever you decide to go.
Diva Grabovica Valley
The hiking journey starts at Diva Grabovica Valley, some 35 km north of Mostar. Just drive the main M-17 road until you reach the turnoff point for HE Grabovica (hydroelectric power plant) where you cross the Neretva River. There is another 5 km to drive on macadam road until you reach the starting point with an information board at 250 masl. From there it is an 1.5 hr – 2 hr hike (quite seriously uphill though), but the journey is pleasant as you go through a beautiful beech and pine forest.
Flora and fauna
Being that the area is a natural boundary between the Mediterranean and continental climates you will find a very interesting mix of flora here. It abounds in the beautiful endemic Bosnian pine, dwarf pines, beech and hornbeam trees, and plateaus are filled with grass and juniper. Before the war the area was teaming with wildlife and throughout history hunting lodges were built here for famous kings and rulers including Tito. It used to be full of mouflon, chamois, bears and wolves. Unfortunately, the war destroyed much of wildlife. It is no longer a hunting zone and these animals are few and far between.
There are two water sources on the way to Žlijeb house and you should stock up, specially if you plan to spend the night there (which I really liked). There is no running water or electricity in the hut so plan accordingly. You should bring your own food, coffee as well as some candles, lighters and matches and I would advise some rakija as well. You will thank me at the magnificent viewpoint which is only 5 min from the hut.
Žlijeb mountain hut
To me Žlijeb hut feels like a ruggedly romantic little place where you can come with friends and spend the night around the fire telling stories or playing (listening to) music. It is a basic, but fully functional mountain hut that can fit 3 or 4 people downstairs and 5 people upstairs though you can stretch this a bit if you’re coming with friends. There is an inside and outside fireplace and an outdoor shower filled with rainwater. Bring sleeping bags and flash lights.
Only a few minutes away from the hut you will reach a viewpoint providing you with some stunning views of rocks and cliffs of Čvrsnica Mountain. There is a wooden bench just perfectly positioned for a grand view of the area. This is a place to bring out rakija :).
If you are not in a rush you could spend the night here and continue towards Tise or Rebel’s Gate in the morning or simply come back down the next day and chill in Mostar, Boračko or Blidinje Lake. Neither of these places are far away and you can check all the details on how to get there and what to see and do in my Boračko and Blidinje travel guides. Rebel’s Gate in itself is one of the highlights of BiH and of Via Dinarica (Stage 30: BH-W-05) and should not be missed, but unless you are a very experienced hiker I would recommend coming with a guide. For me, Tise and Rebel’s Gate adventure will wait for another time, hopefully soon.
The Žlijeb mountain hut is open, but there is always a possibility that it is full so leave enough time to return if that’s the case.
When to go: April to October, though possible through the whole year.
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