Together for cultural tourism – Cross-border cooperation for socio-economic development and preservation of traditional craftsmanship

Donors:  European Union
Partners: Etno mreža, Udruženje humanitarna organizacija Bosanske rukotvorine
Beneficiaries: Primary beneficiaries - at least 60 women artisans and artists from 18 municipalities in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; secondary users - local self-government units and tourist organizations, local and regional cultural institutions, craft associations, and other professional organizations, local and regional development agencies and chambers of commerce, educational institutions, national/federal institutions and structures in charge of tourism development, social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and economic development
Period of realization: 01 Mach 2023 – 28 February 2025.

Project “Together for cultural tourism – Cross-border cooperation for improved socio-economic development and preservation of traditional craftsmanship” is aimed at increasing the contribution of tourism to the socio-economic development program area in:

  • Republic of Serbia - Mačva district (municipalities: Loznica, Šabac, Mali Zvornik, Krupanj) and Srem (municipalities: Sremska Mitrovica, Ruma, Šid, Inđija, Stara Pazova, Irig, Pećinci),
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina - Municipality of Tuzla, Sarajevo (Novi Grad Sarajevo, Stari Grad Sarajevo, Center Sarajevo), Banovići, Gračanica, Vlasenica.

Project activities will be aimed at supporting cross-border cooperation to empower women artisans and the expansion of the tourism industry through the development of new, collaboratively created tourist products that reflect the local cultural heritage. Experts of various profiles will work on training women artisans and artists during the project so they can recognize the tourist and commercial potential of the traditional handicrafts they produce. Thanks to the mutual exchange of experience, they will have the opportunity to improve their own, but also to create recognizable joint tourist products that reflect the local cultural heritage and tradition. These products will be promoted in tourist organizations as well as art studios.

In addition to empowering women artisans and artists, the Project will focus on connecting participants in tourism (tourist agencies, development agencies, professional associations...) to create a more favorable environment for the development of local tourism and promote new, joint tourism products from the cross-border region. This way, women artisans and artists will be acknowledged by local actors, reducing depopulation and slowing migration from rural to urban areas, while contributing to the balanced socio-economic development of cross-border regions in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

An important goal of the Project is to familiarize colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina with the legal framework and leading practices for social entrepreneurship in the Republic of Serbia. The Law on Social Entrepreneurship was adopted on February 4, 2022, and is one of the more advanced laws in this area in Europe.

Goals and activities

  • Training up to 60 women artisans to improve skills in creating and marketing their own and joint products as a part of the tourist offer;
  • Developing at least 2 collaborative tourism products that are jointly marketed on tourism markets in participating municipalities/cross-border areas;
  • New cooperation and links between cross-border stakeholders, established to support the sustainable socio-economic and tourism development of the cross-border area.

Key activities

  • Developing criteria for the selection of project beneficiaries;
  • Organizing info days for users;
  • Capacity building program for users;
  • Development of conceptual joint cultural-tourism products (including design of products and packages);
  • Organizing study visits;
  • Development of final joint cultural and touristic products;
  • Creating a program of tourist colonies/events for the promotion of developed common tourist products;
  • Organizing joint cultural tourism colonies/events to promote joint tourism products and support networking among interested parties in tourism;
  • Advocating for the establishment of a specialized cross-border sales gallery of traditional arts and crafts;
  • Organizing joint creative workshops for teachers and academic staff working with youth and children in cooperation with local schools from the program area;
  • Development of recommendations for defining the regulatory framework for social entrepreneurship in program municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (based on the successful example of Serbia).

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