Una National Park is one of the four national parks in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only one in Bosnia's Federation region. Located on the territory of the City of Bihac in Bosnia's northwest, its larger parts create a natural border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The National Park representatives hope this unique destination will become more recognisable on the Bosnian tourism market.
National Park Director, Amarildo Mulic, said the area is unique with a “symbiosis of flora and fauna existing in interaction with culture and tradition.”
“Una National Park has become one of the unavoidable destinations for tourists coming to BiH, but also those from other parts of BiH and especially during the pandemic. It turned out last year that we have become a revelation for BiH tourists. I hope that once the epidemiological situation stabilises, we will slowly return to the traditional markets, especially regional, European, but of course, the Middle East, which has been expanding in BiH in the last few years,” he said.
As he points out, the area has recorded since 2011 the highest percentage of growth in the region. While 2,500 visits were reported in 2011, the record 120,000 visitors came in 2019.
Last year brought a change due to the pandemic that hit the world
“Last year we ended with 51 thousand registered visits, which we took as a success given the decline in the number of tourist visits in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was important for us to ensure the core business, which we continue to do today, and we kept the company on its feet thanks primarily to the FBiH Government and the FBiH Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who are the founders of the Una National Park, and of course thanks to our workers and the management”, he added.
As for 2021 and the pre-season period, Mulic said it is not promising but he hopes for more mass visits, especially after the vaccination against the coronavirus in the region and the country is over.
“I hope this year we will become a destination for the Bosnian population but also for the citizens of other countries. This March we recorded a decline of only about 15 percent, compared to the same month in 2019, which had the record number of visits. This is an indicator that the Una National Park, Bihac and Una-Sana Canton are becoming recognisable on the Bosnian and regional markets, as well as other target markets in Europe and other parts of the world,” he said.
Mulic also said they were working intensively on nominating the Milancev Buk, a waterfall in Martin Brod for entry in the World Natural Heritage Register.
”Martin Brod waterfalls are inscribed on the UNESCO Tentative List for Bosnia and Herzegovina, we also filed for nomination. We are now working on a management program for that microzone in the Una National Park. We hope that, in a period of two to three years, we will complete the process and that the Milancev Buk, a waterfall with a complex of travertine barriers and waterfalls in Martin Brod in the Una National Park, will enter the World Natural Heritage Register. We will put both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Una National Park on the eco-tourist map of the world “, he emphasized.
Mulic invited everyone to visit the Una National Park, the city of Bihac and the Una-Sana Canton this year, as one of the destinations in BiH.
“The Una National Park and USC are for many an interesting and still unexplored part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I hope that visitors will be positively surprised by the hospitality, gastronomy and, of course, natural and cultural-historical attractions,” he said. He called on tourism workers to unite and jointly create a more compact and diverse tourist offer in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The area of the Una National Park is located in the northwesternmost part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the area of the City of Bihac and belongs to the Una-Korana Plain. It includes the valley parts of the Una and Unac rivers and the orographic slopes of Pljesevica, Grmec and Osjecenica mountains. It stretches along the valley of the upper Una as well as around the Unac canyon, a right tributary of the Una, all the way to the river Krka in the west. This area represents a unique natural area in this part of Europe.
The enactment of the Law on the Una National Park in 2008 created a legal framework to protect a total area of 19,800 hectares, which is administratively under the territory of the City of Bihac, and a small part covers the area of the municipality of Drvar. As a public company, NP Una has been operating since 2011, working for almost ten years on the protection and preservation of natural, cultural and historical, but also all other values that exist in the area and the river Una, which is in focus when it comes to protection and preservation biological values, but also flora and fauna or biodiversity in the entire area.