A real-life rural experience

In most places business ideas are often born from dreams and aspirations of wealth. Sanja Koric, an
economist and former bank employee, found that it wasn’t those kind of riches that fulfilled her but
rather the intangible ones. She loves psychology and is fascinated by the human mind. She’s an avid
outdoorswoman. And she’s a natural leader who seeks that her work has positive social impact. In
Sanja’s own words, she’s an ‘ice breaker’, one that has led the charge in developing rural tourism in this
part of the world. For her, Visit Bosnia just seemed like the most logical leap to make.
For years she had worked in the tourism sector with Herzegovina Lodges, providing countryside
accommodation for those looking to unplug and enjoy an authentic Herzegovina experience. Her idea
for Visit Bosnia has simmered for a long time. Recently, the time just seemed right and with the support
of Swiss Government through MarketMakers project, Visit Bosnia has been providing unforgettable rural
tourism experiences for clients from near and far.

Although Sanja is the heart and brains behind the operation, she never refers to herself but rather her
team and the larger tourism family. Visit Bosnia has an experienced, certified and, according to Sanja,
the most attentive group of guides they could hope for. The base of the business model, however, is
renting rural households to guests. As for the wider tourism family, Visit Bosnia always accentuates the
need for cooperation, sharing resources and knowledge. ‘In this business, no one can do it alone, we
have to work together. It’s the only healthy path to sustainable development’ she emphasizes.

What is it, though, that sets Visit Bosnia apart from the others? They certainly offer the classic hiking
and rafting experiences that has become so popular in the Konjic area. But even these more traditional
eco-tourism activities are nothing ordinary. Visit Bosnia integrates the real rural experience into every
one of their trips. It may be picking berries or mushrooms for lunch with their guests. It could be
preparing the meals together in the traditional way. You might have to milk the cow if you’d like some of
the white liquid with your coffee. This type of rural experience that Visit Bosnia offers is unique to the
wider region. Cutting the grass with a traditional scythe may seem like a simple task but after a few
strokes one quickly realizes the great efforts a farmer exerts to cut a field of grass to make a haystack for
his/her livestock for the winter.

The experience also nurtures understanding and respect for the traditional rural lifestyles in hopes that
some of these traditions can be preserved. So they synergize the tourism experience with a real life one.
At the right time of year one can even enjoy the very special ritual of making rakija. The production of
‘moonshine’ is a centuries-old tradition in these parts and very often the entire community gets
together to concoct a batch of homebrew plum, pear or apple brandy.

Regardless of which kind of tourism experience one embarks on, there seems to be two common threads that intricately weave themselves into all types – food and experience. That leads us to the gastronomic offer of Visit Bosnia. The only thing on the menu is what’s locally grown. The meat and cheeses are all produced and cured in the villages around Konjic and throughout Herzegovina. Herzegovina, the sunny side of Bosnia and Herzegovina, enjoys a Mediterranean climate where a plethora of fruits and veggies grow. On the south side of the mountain towards the Adriatic Sea one will find pomegranates and figs while to the north plums and apples grow in abundance. Food preparation and eating is an important part of the Visit Bosnia’s experience. It brings people together. It excites the senses and provides food for the soul after a spectacular day of hiking, rafting or visiting rural homesteads.

Visit Bosnia lives by a simple code:

“the village is a place where you can find peace, unity, strength, inspiration and most importantly a natural and beautiful life.”

Address: Stara carsija 4, Konjic | Tel: +387 (0)603069600 | Email: info@visit-bosnia.ba | Website: www.visit-bosnia.ba

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