I have not visited fortress Kastel in Banjaluka for a long time. I do not take my children there because now I have nothing to show them. Nevertheless, the other day we visited Kastel:

- Dad, how long will it take for Kastel to be totally restored?
- I really do not know.
- Say roughly.
- Well, about 30 years from now.
- But you will die then ...

The renovation of the Banja Luka fortress Kastel needs too much money to be restored in the true sense of the word. I really doubt that the Generation Y will experience the reconstruction, as I imagine it.

The broken walls, the destroyed buildings, the basements buried with a bunch of garbage, ruined and cracked roofs, hollow concrete blocks - are just some of the "symptoms" of Kastel's disease, for which there is simply no money in the budget.

The Republic of Srpska offers numerous possibilities to investors, both for direct investment and investment by means of concession, under very favorable conditions:

  • high potential for development of agriculture – one third of allarable land is still available for cultivation;
  • extremely favorable conditions for development of thermal and hydro energy sector – 30% of total potential for electric power production is used;
  • great possibilities for energy production from renewable sources (wind and sun energy; bio-diesel and bio-gas);
  • richness in forests – the area covered by forests and forest land comprises 40% of the Republic of Srpska territory;
  • ore and mineral resources (coal, bauxite, lignite, iron, copper, aluminum, zinc, manganese, silver);
  • great tourism potential enables development of spa, cultural and historical, rural, sports, ethnic, and eco tourism.

Republic of Srpska has a very favorable strategic location. Its position in the European continent allows investors to access easily the markets of the European Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

  • By means of the so-called Preferential Trade Arrangements, the European Union introduced unilateral trade concessions for BiH export products that meet the technical and technological standards of the EU, free of quantitative limitations (except quotas for a small number of products) and payment of customs duties.

    Also, the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Union was signed on 16 June 2008, under which BiH undertook to introduce customs concessions for the agreed groups of products (certain products will be excluded from these concessions) gradually over the following six years, pending the establishment of a free trade zone with the EU internal market.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina has preferential export regimes with countries of the EU, and also with Russia, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. As a result of market opening, business start-up in the Republic of Srpska represents a possibility of access to an extremely big market, without payment of customs duties.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the countries signatories of the trade agreement CEFTA – Central European Free Trade Agreement, which creates a single free trade zone that covers the market of over 30 million people.

Using the advantages of market opening, the Republic of Srpska is seeing constant export and import growth, where export is growing by the average annual rate of about 29%, and import is growing slower – by the average annual rate of about 10% (indicators for the period 2004 – 2007). Export growth is aided also by the activities of the Government of the Republic of Srpska on co-financing of export companies with quality production programs.

With its geographical location, natural beauties and rich cultural and sports activities Banja Luka is one of the cities that have a realistic assumption for a quality organization of the many touristic activities. Banja Luka has always been described as "Paradise Valley" with a mountain river Vrbas and the river canyon of exceptional beauty and unique looks and luxury. In addition to fishing, the Vrbas river is great for many other water sports like rafting, kayaking, canoeing and you can take a ride on a unique boat called DAJAK which is one of a kind in the world.

Banja Luka has numerous cultural and historical monuments, including the most famous: the fortress Kastel, the Temple of Christ the Savior, Monastery in Trapisti, Gomionica and Krupa.

Every year in Banja Luka there is a large number of cultural and sporting events and the most popular are: summer games “Ljeto na Vrbasu”, folk assembly “Kocicev zbor”, Banjaluka Carnival, the music fest “Demo Fest” and others. The city is known for its restaurants which serve local specialties and international cuisine and the unique “Banjalucki cevap"!

The Republic of Srpska has comparative advantages in potentials of an in-demand offer in the urban world, as nature tourism is currently the fastest-growing type of tourism in the world (according to the WTO – World Tourist Organisation’s official data).

Tourist potentials of the Republic of Srpska are based on the variety of its natural and cultural heritage. Their protection, valorisation and in some cases their revitalisation, as well as their partaking in tourist market are a strategic basis for the development of tourist economy.

Situated in the heart of the Balkans, it lies between the East and the West, geographically, politically and culturally. Here, the eastern and western civilisations meet, as well as collide sometimes, but most often they have enhanced and enriched one another throughout their long and fascinating history.

Ever since the ancient Roman times, the history in these areas has left numerous cultural-historic monuments and traces of a rich spiritual heritage of the people who lived and held out at this crossroad of cultures and civilisations. The variety of civilisations is verified through numerous archaeological findings in the areas of Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Derventa and Trebinje.

Surely the Republic of Srpska’s mountains, such as Zelengora, Treskavica, Jahorina, Romanija, Grmec, Kozara, Ozren and many others, with their huge forest and hunting reserves, are a gem to be singled out from the country’s natural riches. Thanks to a specific vegetation and favourable microclimate, the mountains in the Republic of Srpska represent a sort of an air spa.

Once you are in the Republic of Srpska you should not miss to see the winter beauty of Jahorina, which played host to the unforgettable 14th Winter Olympics in 1984. The long tradition of skiing and organised winter games started in the distant 1923, when the first pair of skies was brought to Jahorina, whilst the beginning of organised skiing goes back to 1933. Skiing schools, ski rentals, courses for mountaineers, alpinists and paragliding with trained instructors are a guarantee that you will overmaster skills of these sports and adventurous disciplines over a short period. Skiing professionals, amateurs, as well as the young visitors have more than 25 km of arranged ski runs for Alps skiing, ski lifts taking up to 7500 skiers at one time.

In the Republic of Srpska existent when it comes to the position of foreign investors, many liberal legal framework for foreign direct investment. This framework offers foreign investors a number of rights and benefits in the business. In fact, foreign investors with national treatment, that is, the rights and obligations are tied with local businesses.

Foreign investments are regulated by the Law on Foreign Investments of the Republic of Srpska and the Law on Foreign Direct Investment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to the Law on Foreign Investments of the Republic of Srpska are the following types of investments:

  • establishment of legal entities in total ownership of foreign investors,
  • establishing a legal entity in the joint ownership of domestic and foreign investors,
  • investment in the existing legal entity,
  • Particular forms of investment (concession, B.O.T. contracts ...).

The Republic of Srpska is located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, and well connected by transport network with the adjacent countries (Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro).
Quality agricultural and forest potentials are one of the main features of the Republic of Srpska. Agricultural land covers the total area of 1,299,000 ha (51% of the RS area), or 1 ha per capita, which is above both the world average (0.24 ha per capita) and European average (0.40 ha per capita). The forests cover 0.67 ha per capita.

Waters represent another richness of the Republic of Srpska (water potential use is of 30%), and watercourses meet over 73% of parameters prescribed for first class water.

The Tara River is situated in the vicinity of the “Sutjeska” National Park and is 140 km long. It is called “the tear of Europe” and is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, abounding in river fish. What makes Tara famous is its magnificent canyon.

The 1300 m deep Canyon of Tara is considered the deepest in Europe and the second one in the world, right behind the Canyon of Colorado. The Tara Canyon is one of the local oasis of untouched nature, as well as a reservoir of many endemic and relict species of flora and fauna. The water in the canyon and all along the river is of the first category and is a drinking water. There are about eighty caves in the Canyon, still insufficiently explored, whereas in some of them, traces of prehistoric life have been tracked.

All of the above is good-enough a reason why it should be added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage of Natural Wealth. The brave ones, eager for adventures in authentic surroundings of pure nature can enjoy one of the most demanding rafting opportunities in Europe, rated as a 3-5 level. Besides, rafting is also organised through the famous cascades, narrow cuts rimmed with dangerous rocky cliffs of the Durmitor Mountain. Therefore, if you find yourself on the very crossroad between Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska, between Brstanica and Scepan Polje, do not miss a one-day or a several-day long rafting experience to treasure in your memory for a lifetime.

Republic of Srpska is very rich in natural resources, most notably in good-quality and unpolluted agricultural land (especially suitable for the production of organic food), forests, and electric energy potential.

Agricultural potential

Total area of agricultural land in the Republic of Srpska is 1.299.000 ha (51.4% of territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina), which, against the size of the population, makes approximately one hectare per capita, which is above the world average (0,24 ha per inhabitant) and the European average (0,40 ha per capita). Clean air, land and water provide favorable conditions in the RS for the production of organic food. Planes in the south and westward from the river Sava provide ideal conditions for cultivating wheat, corn and vegetables, industrial plants, such as flax and hemp. Land is not polluted with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The biggest potential lies in cattle farming and meat industry, chicken farming and egg production, as well as fruit and vegetable production.


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