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A young woman with long brown hair stands on a scenic village hilltop with her arms outstretched. She wears traditional Bosnian dress which includes a white veil, dress, and green vest, all with colorful embroidery.

Lukomir, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Photo by Sead Sasivarevic

  • Center Partners with USAID on Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Beginning September 2021, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage is partnering with USAID’s Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (USAID Turizam) project to develop community-based cultural heritage tourism.

    Center staff will travel to three regions of the country to lead training workshops on festival-making and approaches to cultural heritage tourism product development.

    Over two months, the workshops will present the Smithsonian methodology for developing sustainable tourism, using a research-based approach and community-centered design to curate engaging, inclusive, and sustainable tourism experiences. Drawing on Smithsonian Folklife Festival presentation methods and the Center’s work on the My Armenia Cultural Heritage Tourism Program, the workshop content will engage participants in dialogue about cultural heritage representation and exchange.

    Through participatory learning, hands-on activities, and site visits, participants will learn how to incorporate local cultural practices to create cultural heritage tourism experiences and festivals that benefit both visitors and communities.

    Ibrahim Osta, chief of party of the Turizam project, stated, “We are looking forward to the partnership with the Smithsonian and to capitalize on their world-class educational programs in creating extraordinary cultural heritage experiences that are immersive, unforgettable, and instill a sense of place that will leave travelers with enduring memories.”

    “We are excited to work with new community partners through the USAID Turizam project,” said Halle Butvin, the Center’s director of special projects. “Much like the Folklife Festival, cultural exchange through tourism presents an incredible opportunity to learn, make new connections, and develop an appreciation for other cultures.”

    Situated in southeastern Europe, where Eastern and Western cultures meet, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a rich history of religious, natural, and cultural diversity.

    In partnership with USAID Turizam, the Center aims to highlight the contemporary cultural life of Bosnia and Herzegovina—experienced through music, dance, food, and craft.

    This new partnership builds on the Center’s growing Cultural Heritage Tourism Initiative, which supports tradition bearers to engage in tourism and to ensure their communities benefit from having their cultural heritage shared with the world.

    About USAID Turizam

    USAID’s Developing Sustainable Tourism (Turizam) project facilitates broad-based, tourism-driven economic growth and promotes social harmony by capitalizing on the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. The Turizam project supports the recovery of the Bosnia and Herzegovina tourism sector from the negative impacts of the pandemic by fostering collaboration among all levels of government, industry, and community stakeholders.

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