Bearing in mind the enormous natural and cultural resources of rural mountain communities of Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Centre for Sustainable Tourism Initiatives in cooperation with the Extreme Sports Club Limit and in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and National Tourism Organization of Montenegro is moving towards implementing the project 'Establishing Via Dinarica' in a term of two years. The area selected for this project includes: Žabljak, Plužine and Šavnik from Montenegro and three municipalities, which gravitate to the National Park ‘Sutjeska': Foča, Kalinovik and Gacko.
In this way, the connection between the National parks ‘Durmitor' and ‘Sutjeska' and the whole process of identification of potential tourism resources and creating a trails will help local producers of traditional products, owners of old authentic buildings, a small guesthouses, ‘katun' owners, some of the accommodation providers and traditional restaurant owners to establish business cooperation in accordance with the needs of target groups. This will create a tourist offer under the brand ‘Via Dinarica', to support cross-border initiatives for economic development with an emphasis on the improvement of rural tourism. By creating connections and exchanging experiences, knowledge will be improved and as well as a raised level of services and awareness of environmental issues within and amongst communities.
After initial research, the database of natural, cultural and human resources of the targeted area will be created, as well as data on the types and quantities of products that will be offered. Development of joint concepts will create a variety of tourism products and services. It will include the design and selection of necessary infrastructure (boards, signposts, etc.) as well as their manufacture and installation and will be conducted by members of the community as well as hikers and local guides. It is also an opportunity to highlight the importance of standardization in cross-border region. There will be meetings that will connect local entrepreneurs and the mayors of the communities to establish joint public and private partnerships. In addition, a model of project management will be developed as well as a marketing plan along with promotional materials that will include the printing of maps, guidebooks, leaflets and website development. Printed materials will be distributed at the access points to the region, through the local tourism organizations, while the website will be used not only as promotional tool but also as a backbone for the future projects and information exchange.
It is important to note that the Montenegrin Ministry of Tourism was selected as a partner in this project, primarily because MoT has initiated Hiking and Biking development projects and have established a working group consisting of international and local organizations active in this field in which CSTI participated as one of the most active in piloting the first projects related to developing sustainable tourism practices in Northern Montenegro.
Having in mind all of the above, CSTI and Limit designed this project to economically regenerate this region. Establishing ‘Via Dinarica' allows linkages through joint activities so that the stakeholders are becoming active participants from the early stages of the project, thus initiating a sense of ownership that will be of extreme importance for the future sustainability of the project.
This project is funded by the European Union contributing 85% of the total cost and will be managed by the Delegation of the European Union in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.