Combination of East and West Draws Tourists to B&H – Have a look at the projects being realized in the upcoming period

Source: eKapija Sunday, 19.03.2023. 21:19
Illustration (Photo: Rocksweeper/
Investments in Republika Srpska in several significant tourist areas,with great potential that until now haven`t had a developed tourist product and content have been either announced or their realization has already begun. The investments in question pertain to the ski resort Igrista, near Vlasenica, on the Manjaca mountain, near Banjaluka and expanding the existing features in Andricgrad.

When it comes to the project in Igrista, the end of June 2022 saw the start of construction of a ski center on Javor mountain worth around EUR 25 million, and because of its huge potential it will serve as a starting point for future developments in Vlasenica, the region and across the Republika Srpska. This investment will help create new jobs and enable the growth of business competition and the number of visitors in this municipality.

According to the project design, Igrista ski center will have three main man-made ski slopes, and there`s a plan to build a six-seat ski lift, a ski conveyor, water accumulation station, a lake, hangar, outpatient clinic, outlets and other features. In the first phase, the plan entails building a new slope, snowmaking of the two main slopes along with the construction of the lake, the construction of an area for kids with a conveyor belt, a tubing track and other summer activities.

The “Construction of the hotel and apartments within the winter sports and recreation centre Igrista” projects entails two top-rated hotels, with a maximum of three floors (including the ground floor) and an underground level with a total gross area of 5000 m2. It is recommended that the hotels have additional elements such as a SPA center with an indoor pool, smaller congress room and other.

– The plan is to build six apartment buildings near the proposed hotels which can offer boarding as well as accommodations, the document states.

Let us remind that in the mid-2022 the Government of Republika Srpska reached a decision to give the Olympic center Jahorina management over Igrista ski resort on Javor mountain in Vlasenica municipality for the period of 30 years so it could use the authentic natural area for the development of winter and summer tourism.

Regarding the Ski Center Manjaca, back in August 2022 it was announced that the RS Government was going to invest over EUR 25 million in designing and construction of the ski center on Manjaca.

The planned surface area of the ski center entails, for the most part, the ski slopes with the total surface area of 75,000 m2, and skiing installations and summer features. According to the Ski Center Manjaca project design, the plan is to build a six-seat ski lift, ski conveyor, two man-made ski slopes, snowmaking system with a lake, outpatient clinic, bike tracks and footpath, management building, parking lot, to install lightning for ski slopes and other features. Ski center will have three main slopes with a total length of about 4,750 m and the plan also predicts the construction of six-seat ski lift with a total length of 820 m and with a capacity of 3,000 skiers per hour and a ski conveyor the length of 150 m with a capacity of 1,500 skiers per hour.

Investments in Andricgrad

The preliminary design for the construction of a marina in Andricgrad was presented in October 2022.

– We will build ten prefabricated houses on the marina, they are going to be a special attraction. We have already made arrangements with the renowned company Galens from Novi Sad, which owns the four most luxurious hotels in Serbia, to build a five-star hotel here, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Olympic Center Jahorina, Nedeljko Elek told the press back then.

(Photo: Shutterstock/V.Dimitrov)

(Andricgrad) He pointed out there will be a lot of construction works done in 2023 and that he expected a new fast route connecting Visegrad and Jahorina. Elek also announced the construction of the largest aqua park in this part of Europe.

– The National Tourist Organization of Republika Srpska said that taking into account the significance and value of the said investments and also great tourism value of those very destinations it is expected that those same projects will result in the construction of new tourist capacities that not only will result in the increase of available accommodation units but also in building new features which will, together with the existing ones in these destinations, constitute a whole package in the tourist offer of Republika Srpska.

– After these projects are completed and open for business, The National Tourist Organization of RS will surely work on a better promotion of those projects through its regular activities on the domestic and regional as well as the international markets.

Unprecedented year for tourism in RS

The National Tourism Organization of RS states that last year could be considered an unprecedented for the tourism in Republika Srpska since for the first time over million registered overnight stays we recorded. When it comes to foreign tourists, there were almost half-million overnight stays recorded in 2022 which is twice more than in the previous year.

- The World Tourism Organization forecasts say that in 2023 the tourist economy will make a full recovery with an increase in international travels and announced return of tourist from Asian countries meaning that all predictions are in favor of a successful year for the tourism in RS as well. Concerning last year, the tourist have shown the biggest interest for spa centers and mountain resorts, mainly Jahorina followed by the city break destinations, where the most attractive for tourists were Trebinje, Banjaluka, Visegrad and other cities in Republika Srpska.

Projects in FB&H

When it comes to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, interesting projects have been announced in Sarajevo, Mostar, Bjelasnica...

Namely, the project for a hotel and a shopping mall on the Sarajevo International Airport has been presented on the last-year`s Sarajevo Business Forum. This is a significant investment which would improve the quality of accommodations and the tourist offer in the vicinity of the Sarajevo International Airport. The project description states that the estimated value of the investment is KM 27,5 million. After the owner bought the land, the regulatory plan was changed in order to integrate the future hotel shopping mall into the existing surroundings. The feasibility study was prepared and approved by the Hilton, Marriott and Accor hotel chains that are suitable for a location such as this one. The plan is for the hotel to have 138 rooms, a conference room and over 100 parking spots, both in the parking garage and the outdoor parking lot.

New hotel in Mostar

(Photo: Printscreen iz dokumentacije)

The City of Mostar is planning to reconstruct the former Mostar Municipality building (The Old Municipality), which was declared a national monument of B&H, and turn it into a top-rated hotel. The public call for the development of the preliminary design for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the building has been announced in February 2022. The plan is to do a historic reconstruction of the building and build an underground garage, so the new building, with the same number of floors and same external dimensions would have a total floor surface area of 10,500 m2 and the total usable area of 8,400 m2.

Alpine Coaster on Bjelasnica

The cantonal government in Sarajevo has announced that this year Bjelasnica will get an alpine coaster and numerous other summer attractions, and highlighted that this will be the longest alpine coaster in the country. This is a joint project of ZOI `84 Olympic Center, the Tourism Associations of Canton Sarajevo, Sarajevo Sume public company and The Forestry Directorate of the Ministry of Economy, the first of its kind to include the collaboration of public companies in its realization. The profits will be shared only between ZOI `84 and the Tourism Associations. According to the first unofficial assessments, the project is worth KM 2.5 million and the Tourism Association is prepared to fully finance it. The start of construction is planned after the standard administrative procedures are completed, mid-spring of the current year according to estimates. The deadline for construction is the beginning of 2023 summer season.

Una National Park soon to enter the UNESCO Register of Natural Heritage

The Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism (FMET) told eKapija that a Development Strategy of the FBiH 2021-2027 was adopted and it includes a specific set of measures aimed at tourism.

– When it comes to mountain tourism, Jahorina, Bjelasnica, Igman and Trebevic are mountains that have the necessary infrastructure for Olympic competitions and are close to Sarajevo. However, what is needed here is to increase the investments in modernizing and enriching the offer for the whole year. Apart from the forementioned destinations we also have: Vlasic near Travnik, Radusa near Gornji Vakuf/Uskopje, Stozer and Cajusa near Kupres, Risovac that is a part of the Blidinje-Jablanica area and
Rostovo near Novi Travnik, Farida Cikotic from the FMET says.

Cikotic adds that the Una National Park is one of the pearls of the natural heritage of B&H and at the moment, there is a process of enlisting this national park into the Unesco Register of Natural Heritage.

– This place has many unique features and it`s a place where visitors can enjoy the beauty of river Una, rafting, fishing and adrenaline sports. Not far from Una NP there is Jajce with a unique waterfall in the heart of the city along with the cultural and historical landmarks that attest to the thousand-year old history of our country, Cikotic says.

Our interviewee also highlights Herzegovina as a place that has always enchanted all those who visited it. The nature, the climate and cultural and historical landmarks combined with traditionally excellent cuisine provide plenty of possibility for an active holiday through many recreational tours and activities such as harvesting medicinal herbs, seasonal fruits, visiting wine routes and wineries, etc.

– In fact, wherever you go in this country, aside from recreational activities, you can also enjoy the cultural and historical landmarks. B&H is a country located on a crossroads where East and West intertwine and it is this kind of dynamic and harmonic interaction that is our hallmark and distinction.

Apart from Sarajevo, other attractive tourist destinations that Cikotic mentions are Mostar, Neum, Pocitelj, Bihac, Tuzla with Pannonian Lakes...

– Every local community should be involved more in advertising, promoting and selling their own products, something which Jajce handles magnificently, by promoting the waterfall at the city core which is truly breathtaking. Other places like Gradacac, Srebrenik, Gorazde, Konjic also have its beauties. Everywhere they go in Bosnia and Herzegovina tourists can enjoy the culinary, cultural and adventure offer.

Slobodana Subara
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