Via Dinarica Initiative
The Dinaric Alps encompass the southern stretch of Alps from Slovenia through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo to Northern Albania. It is one of the least known and explored mountain ranges in Europe. A newly emerging Via Dinarica Initiative is inspired by the Via Alpina Trail that interlinked the countries and communities along the Alps with a developed system of various trails and nature based tourism products.
It is an area of extraordinary beauty and value, both in terms of natural and cultural wealth, characterized by very distinctive natural and historical features. Most of nationally protected areas such as national parks and nature parks which attract an increasing number of visitors in Croatia are part of the Dinarides.
The overall objective of Via Dinarica is to contribute to socio-economic development of the Dinaric Alps region through increased competitiveness for the region in the nature-based tourism.
In order to prepare a high-quality programme, based on realistic needs on the field, the regional team, lead by the Adventure Tourism Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ATA BiH) from June to December 2013 conducted field research by Walking the Via Dinarica project. The journey through Croatia lasted from 28 September to 10 October 2013. Main implementing partner for Croatia was the Mountain Guides Station Zagreb (SPVZ).
During walk, numerous meetings were held with the representatives of protected areas, local and regional governments, tourist agencies, mountain climbing associations and clubs, and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service along with the numerous tourism services (eg. outdoor tourist agencies, rural households etc.). Field research related to existing tourist offer, potentials and needs showed that in terms of established hiking routes, educated guides, developed rescue service and similar, Croatia is one of the most developed countries in Dinaric Arc. Therefore, it has an important role in knowledge and experience transfer in the region. However, in terms of infrastructure, it needs a lot of improvements. Accommodation facilities - mountain huts, houses and shelters should be rebuilt (or established at some points) in accordance with the highest ecological standards. Recognized needs for the whole region are:
- need to improve collaboration and coordination of the tourism stakeholders from the Dinaric Alps region through a sustainable mechanism;
- need to enhance promotion of the existing and support establishment of new tourism products and offers from the Dinaric Alps;
- need to adopt set of quality standards for the establishment of Dinarica as recognized trademark (following international best practices) and implement standardization of tourism products and offers;
- need to strengthen individual and institutional capacities of the entire tourism sector in the Dinaric Alps region;
- need to improve infrastructure that will enable tourism development in the region.
These needs will be addressed through a comprehensive programme, developed by UNDP offices in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in partnership with WWF Mediterranean and in close cooperation with the key national and regional partners.