The Vjetrenica Cave, as one of the longest and most attractive cave systems in BiH and the region, rounds off the year 2023 with record attendance. Davor Baković, acting director of the Public Company Vjetrenica, told Visit BiH Magazine that they are extremely satisfied with the number of visitors, both in the Protected Landscape of Vjetrenica – Popovo Field, and in the entire municipality of Ravno.
– So far, we have had around 17,000 visitors. Given that we still have time until the end of the year, we are talking about a record season since the establishment of the Public Company Vjetrenica. He is especially happy that this season is also a record for the number of foreign visitors. Apart from the countries of the region, we had the most foreign visits from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Scandinavia – says Baković.
This year marked the completion of projects financed by the FBiH Environmental Protection Fund, the Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Environmental Protection of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. With the financial support of the Environmental Protection Fund, the project “Inverterization and monitoring of the condition of birds and bats in the protected landscape of Vjetrenica – Popovo Field” was completed, and in this way a database was created for the mentioned species within the protected area.
– We always point out that sustainable development, sustainable management, and preservation of biodiversity is the key in the way of doing business in a protected area in order to ensure that the values that the Protected Landscape possesses remain for future generations – emphasizes Baković.
The construction of a promenade on the Zavala plateau and the installation of smart benches for cycle tourists have further strengthened the infrastructure in the Protected Landscape and thus provided cycle tourists with additional content and facilitated their stay in the protected area.
-Cycling tourism is on the rise throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, including in our municipality, especially considering the revitalized Ćiro bicycle path – he emphasizes.
The nomination file for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List was accepted this year, and at the end of this summer they had a visit from the evaluators of the IUCN Committee for UNESCO. Baković says that the entire process for inclusion under UNESCO is always long-lasting, complex and demanding.
– In this sense, we would like to thank all relevant institutions, ministries, Municipality of Ravno, experts and everyone else who participated in the entire process. We hope that in 2024, we will be recognized as one of the most important underground ecosystems in Europe and the world and receive confirmation from UNESCO by being included in the list, which would additionally position and brand not only the area of Ravno and Vjetrenica municipalities, but also the whole of BiH on the tourist map of the world. This would additionally confirm the wealth of our country – says Baković for Visit BiH.
Extension of offer
According to him, it is extremely important to work on the expansion of selective forms of tourism to offer visitors additional facilities. This is one of the main directions for the coming year, sustainable management and expansion of tourist infrastructure and offer.
– Along with the Ćiro Trail, the cultural and historical heritage that we have in the Protected Landscape, the Biospeleological Museum, this year we continued with the organization of “Adventure Tours Veliko Jezero.” We are talking about a unique experience for all visitors. We organize the mentioned visits in the summer period (due to weather conditions) and offer visitors the opportunity to become speleologists for one day by riding a boat on the 250-meter-long Great Lake. We are satisfied with this year’s interest in the mentioned visits, and we are sure that the interest will exist and grow next season as well – he says.
According to Baković, they offer certain discounts to visitors in the preseason and postseason, for all contents in the Protected Landscape, because in this way they want to encourage, especially domestic visitors, to use the winter period for excursions.- It is important to point out that the cave is particularly attractive and hydrologically rich in the winter period. Namely, with the increase in the amount of precipitation in Vjetrenica, many lakes, spectacular waterfalls and streams are created, and surely such scenes will not leave anyone indifferent. We invite all visitors to visit the Vjetrenica cave with the discounts we offer, enjoy the panorama of cave decorations, lakes, waterfalls, spacious halls that take your breath away and the entire protected landscape of Vjetrenica – Popovo Field. Enjoy the mystique that the cave hides, have the experience of meeting rare animal species such as the world-famous olm and become an explorer with our friendly staff. On behalf of the Vjetrenica company team, I would like to wish all our visitors, colleagues, and residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina happy holidays and a happy and successful 2024. We are waiting for you – says Baković at the end of the conversation.