Selection of target groups, attitude towards tourists, who are the local clients and how to work with them – are some of the topics covered by the participants at the workshop “Souvenir Production”, organized within a three year EU funded project aiming at strengthening rural touristic destinations in BiH.
The aim of the workshop was to connect citizens and reduce unemployment through the improvement of cooperation between main stakeholders at the local level and assessment of the active population market. The workshop was attended by individual producers within the agro-industry, small entrepreneurs, rural household owners and tourist office employees.
Edina Hadzic, the product design expert, gave a lecture on how to develop an idea and make a souvenir that will represent the identity of one place, or rather emotion evoked by a destination, in such a manner that one is not able ‘to resist’ and has to buy the souvenir. “Products made in rural households and rural areas are in most cases high-quality souvenirs, but throughout the process, major issues are related to distribution and selling of a particular product or souvenir. I am convinced that by having basic product design skills, souvenir producers can have more benefits by employing business strategies of this discipline,” said Hadzic.
Samples of different souvenirs made by participants were presented and according to the standards of the product design, good and bad examples of souvenirs were analyzed. Hadzic emphasizes that significant feature of every souvenir is that it is special, unique and it resembles everything that a tourist has experienced during his visit to a particular destination.
Gordana Berberović, a member of the Women’s Association “Strica-Zaruđe” said that the project is an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and meet people with similar ideas, as well as providers of various services. “It is really important for every one of us to promote local tradition and heritage. This activity is useful for the preservation of traditional cuisine, but also many crafts, that could completely disappear if they do not become economically sustainable and valorized,” Berberovic added.
In 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been listed among the world’s top ten destinations to be ‘discovered’ and recorded a stable growth of the tourism sector. The wide offer for visitors, starting from untouched mountainous areas, forests, pristine rivers, all the way to pleasant houses with high quality cuisine, represents enormous potential for rural households, small entrepreneurs as well as tourist communities. What connects these actors is the ultimate goal, and that is to improve the economic situation and sustainability in the rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are considered to be one of the most populated rural areas in Europe.
Besides Alterural, the Association for the Development of Rural Tourism, partners on the project are Eurogites (European Federation of Rural Tourism), MS “Vranica” Fojnica, ZU “Kreševski citrin” and Forum of Women “Strica-Zaruđe”.