Conference NEXT DESTINATION BALKANS: AGRITORISM LANDSCAPE DEVELOPMENT was held on March 22nd, 2018, in the City Hall of THE City of Mostar.

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The conference was organized by the University Džemal Bijedić of Mostar to present the LANDS project to the professional and general public, initiate discussion about the meaning of agritourism and its significance for economy and development of the local community, and initiate networking and cooperation of different actors from the sphere of tourism.

The conference gathered over 50 participants and among them there were numerous professors and lecturers, students, heads of higher education institutions, representatives of tourism organizations, regional development agencies, tourist clusters, non-governmental organizations, media and representatives of partner institutions.

In the introduction part, prof. dr. Sead Pašić, Rector of the University of Džemal Bijedić, presented the activities the University was implemneting within international partners. Prof. dr. Ahmed Džubur, Dean of the Agromediterranean Faculty, spoke about the significance of the LANDS project while Mr. Marko Stojanović from the Western Balkans Institute pointed out the cooperation between higher and non-academic institutions as a key link of the LANDS project.

In the plenary session, representative of the Tourism Organization of Herzegovina presented the potential of this region for further development of rural tourism. Mr. Nedim Badžak, director of Jaffa Komerc, presented the process of expanding his company from a fruit producing company to a company with significant accomodation and tourism capacity, providing an opportunity for the promotion and distribution of domestic, home made products. Marko Marić, representative of the Marić-Gaj Agritourism, presented the Marić family and their property as the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina to open accommodation capacities in rural tourism. The differences between the Balkans and the EU in the development of agritourism were presented by Dr. Nikos Emmanuoil from the Agricultural University of Athens. Mr. Ivica Sivrić, representative of the Regional Development Agency of Herzegovina, emphasized the mixed nature of agritourism and its advantages. Mr. Stipe Primorac, representative of the Tourist Cluster of Herzegovina spoke about the need to providing for continuous increasing the quality of existing and developing new products and services through the application of new knowledge and technologies. Dr. Simon Kerma from the Faculty of Tourism, University Primorska, pointed out that the incentive for the development of agritourism should be sought in non-tourism-oriented municipalities. Dr. Ivica Stancic from the College of Agriculture and Food Production Prokuplje talked about the principles on which agritourism is based on – cultural, economic, social and that the agrotourism should be considered as a family tourism opportunity. At the end of the plenary session, Vladislav Valach from the Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra represented the key areas of the National Strategy.

The afternoon session of the conference was dedicated to presenting the findings of research on the development potentials of agritourism in the Western Balkans. The research was conducted by a multidisciplinary team lead by prof. dr. Miljan Cvetković from the University of Banja Luka and dr. Milenko Đurić from the College of Tourism in Belgrade, together with associates from other partner institutions. The research report with key findings you may find at project website.

The conference was organized as part of the LANDS project funded by the EU under the Erasmus + CBHE program.

Contact person for the project: Mr. Marko Stojanovic, marko.stojanovic(at)wb-institute.org

Photo: Ivica Sivrić 2018