OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Via Dinarica Support Center - Connecting naturally!

Regional Volunteer Support Center for sustainable mountain development, reconciliation and eco-tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Photo of Olja Latinovic
2 1

Written by

The western Balkan region is a nature lovers’ paradise. Most of the region is situated in the heart of the central Dinaric Alps – one of Europe’s most unexplored mountain ranges. Each country offers a vast range of activities, from adventure to relaxation, on both land and water. There are more and more B&B’s being established in mountain villages as well as small guest houses that offer accommodation, food, and light outdoor activities.

Via Dinarica is a platform that serves to promote and develop the local communities and small businesses active on local, national, and international level in the field of hospitality, service and tourism, as well as agriculture and cultural heritage. Its purpose is to connect the countries and communities of Dinaric Alps by creating a unique and diversified tourist offer. A similar model, Via Alpina, has been implemented in the European Union, connecting eight countries in the region of Alps with over 5000 km of mountain trails. This model been shown to be a sustainable and effective long-term economic development strategy. Via Dinarica promotes tourism for the purpose of economic development of the region, while preserving the environment and respecting the sociocultural diversity and authenticity of local communities.

The final goal of Via Dinarica is to make connections between cities and rural communities in the region, raise awareness on good business practices and environment protection, create a tourist offer which relies on natural beauties, traditional products and the unique cultural heritage, as well as to link stakeholders in the region for the purpose of jump starting sustainable economic development.

The Via Dinarica is also a mega trail that extends from Albania to Slovenia. The largest part of the trail slices diagonally from southeast to northwest. The Via Dinarica trail encompasses the largest karst field on earth, and is consisted of three trails:

White Trail

This is the main trail along the entire length of the Via Dinarica that follows the natural flow of the highest peaks of the Dinaric Alps.

Blue Trail

The Blue Trail veers towards the coastline and the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea.

Green Trail

The Green Trail is exactly that, green carpet of conifer forests that meander through some of the lower mountains of the Dinaric Alps.

And all this was recognized by the National Geographic Traveler which recently declared Via Dinarica as “21 Top of the World”.

Explain your idea

Now when you know what Via Dinarica is, let's focus on concrete idea which is to be implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Bosnia and Herzegovina is a “heart-shaped land”, located in the heart of Europe and in the center of the Balkans; it is a country where horrible war was fought 1992 - 1995 and which left deep scars on people and the nature. It is a country where Europe’s last primeval forest, Perućica, is located, in the Sutjeska National Park. BiH is inhabited by three dominant ethnic and religious groups - Serbs-Orthodox, Bosniaks-Muslims and Croats-Catholic - who were bitterly fighting during the nineties; the wounds from the war are stil fresh, even if 20 years have passed since the conflict. Idea Terra Dinarica, an organization which is implementing Via DInarica in BiH and works directly on the field and with different stakeholders (local communities, mountaineers, mountain clubs and organisations, outdoor enthusiasts, local self-government units and others), plans to open a Via Dinarica Regional Volunteer and Support Center on Mt. Bjelašnica, an Olympic mountain located in close proximity to Sarajevo, BiH’s capital and a largest city. Mountain lodge, owned by a local Mountaineering Association Željezničar, was just recently given to Terra Dinarica on a 10-year pay-free concession. However, the mountain lodge needs a great upgrade and investment in infrastructure before it can become a serious Support Center.

Who Benefits?

The Via Dinarica Volunteer and Support Center is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for tourists including children and teenagers, families, young professionals, retirees and all other interested in nature protection and conservation. Via Dinarica Regional Volunteer and Support Center will provide pre-conditions for prosperity to local farmers and craft makers, as well as to local communities located on the Via Dinarica trails; help youth to overcome prejudice about the "others" and encourage them to "get out of the box", for the sake of long-term peace and genuine reconciliation; assist in environmental protection of one of Europe's most beautiful and preserved places and raise awareness that sustainable tourism is possible and it can become one of the top products of the country. All together, we want to show that the change is possible and to send different and positive picture of our country to the general regional and international public, but also to the locals.

How is your idea unique?

Via Dinarica Regional Volunteer and Support Center will provide pre-conditions for prosperity to local farmers and craft makers, as well as to local communities located on the Via Dinarica trails; help youth to overcome prejudice about the "others" and encourage them to "get out of the box", for the sake of long-term peace and genuine reconciliation; assist in environmental protection of one of Europe's most beautiful and preserved places and raise awareness that sustainable tourism is possible and it can become one of the top products of the country. All together, we want to show that the change is possible and to send different and positive picture of our country to the general regional and international public, but also to the locals.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

The NGO Terra Dinarica has been and is a key partner in the overall implementation of the Via Dinarica. Terra Dinarica is a BiH based NGO that is dedicated to the sustainable development of the mountain areas of the Dinaric Alps. Its main goal is to implement different activities which would improve life in rural areas and connect communities, protect wildlife and nature, and preserve traditional way of living and cultural heritage of the Dinaric Alps. Terra Dinarica supports various projects in the fields of rural development, eco-tourism development, sports, recreation, production of organic food, preservation of traditional agriculture, traditional arts and crafts. Terra Dinarica team has vast knowledge and experience in sustainable mountain development, eco-tourism product development, environmental protection, as well marketing and promotions.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of eldy wullur
Team

Hi Olja,
Tourism is a field that most favors to unite people in the world. Through our tourism know each other and interact. Promote world peace with tourism is a sweet idea.

Photo of Olja Latinovic
Team

Hi Eldy, Thank you for the comment. This is purely connecting naturally and bringing all three components people, prosperity and planet together!