Six BiH destinations are starting the application process for the Top 100 best destinations in the world

Representatives of the destinations Bosanska Krupa, Šamac, Kozara National Park, Nature Monument Skakavac Sarajevo, Konjic and the City of Trebinje signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the panel, and thus at the event “The future of sustainable tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina begins now” officially entered the application process for the TOP 100 best destinations in the world.

Destinations that have the potential for green tourism are opening the way to this new chapter and promoting BiH as a sustainable tourist destination.

The development of new and attractive tourism products through support to selected destinations and local actors was made possible by the European Union and the German government through the Covid-19 Investment Response/EU4Business Recovery project, which was discussed at the panel on green certification based on the Green Destinations standard, where the benefits it brings, but also the challenges and the next steps in implementation were presented.

The project was created as EU’s response to help Bosnia and Herzegovina overcome the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had a huge impact on the economy of BiH, including tourism. The project is worth 13.7 million euros, one million of which is aimed at the tourism sector and the financing of tourist projects.

“Eight locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina have received grants, and six of the eight have decided to start the Green Destinations certification. Today’s event is the result of the desire of these six locations to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation, where the consulting assistance of our partners, GIZ and Green Visions, will help these local communities to enter the prestigious certification process and thus provide certain economic benefit to their local communities.“, pointed out Vesna Grković, program manager at the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and added that the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina is covered by this initiative.

The project partner Green Visions will work with these six destinations in the upcoming period to prepare them for applying to the TOP 100, which is just the beginning of the destination’s progress towards sustainable tourism and the promotion of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 “The idea of the program is that we guide them through the certification process and into the first TOP 100, and that we work together with their sustainability coordinators and go further towards higher certification requirements. We will form a sustainability training centre, with online trainings available to everyone in BiH. We will also work to raise awareness of what sustainable tourism means in BiH. The process that destinations go through in this project is simple. There are steps that need to be followed, and which the destinations need to meet,” said Thierry Joubert, project coordinator at Green Visions.

The city of Trebinje with its story “Hercegovačka kuća/Herzeg House” in 2022 won first place in the international competition “GreenDestinations Story Awards – Top 100 stories of sustainable tourist destinations” within ITB Berlin, the largest tourism fair in the world, in the category Local supply chains, while in 2023, it won first place in the competition The Golden City Gate 2023.

“Trebinje is an example for the destinations that have entered the TOP 100 application process this year. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them today, and their development will enable a better quality of life for the local population, contribute to the protection of natural and cultural heritage, and promote responsible tourism in our country”, said Danija Krieg, project manager at GIZ.

Mirko Ćurić, Mayor of the City of Trebinje, explained that the City of Trebinje has made a step forward, but he is of the opinion that even more efforts are needed in the upcoming period in order to achieve even better results.

“We were overjoyed when we became a Top 100 destination. And when we won first place with the Herzeg House, there is no price that could repay all of us who participated. It is important to know what your capacities and goals are and how to reach them. If you don’t have a deadline, the question is where you will end up, and here you know the deadline and what you need to achieve. We are ready to share our experiences with everyone from all six destinations. There is room for all of us to achieve results towards sustainable tourism, and there are no limits,” said Ćurić and emphasized that the signing of the Memorandum is important in order to exchange experiences.

Representatives of six destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina spoke about their projects, success stories in their tourism communities and about the reasons for applying for the certification program. One of them is Bosanska Krupa- a town on the Una and Krušnica rivers, just below mountain Grmeč, in the northwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Almir Halilović, the mayor of Bosanska Krupa, expressed his gratitude for the support and explained: “Our expectations from the project are expressed in the goals to present our resources that we want to turn into capacities and to present to our citizens all that we have in Bosanska Krupa. So far, we have cooperated well with our local businessmen, in terms of cooperation and development of tourism, with agricultural producers, and we have highlighted them at all the events we have held. Our vision is for Bosanska Krupa to become a city you come to and not a city you pass through. “

The Covid-19 Investment Response/EU4BusinessRecovery project, co-financed by the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, continues to support the development of green tourism destinations. Six tourist destinations in Bosnia and Herzegovina follow trends, recognize the growth in demand for green tourism and sustainability, and are becoming a model for other destinations in BiH.

More about the topic in the text European Union-Supported Certification of Tourist Offer for Sustainable Tourism in BiH  and on the website