TRNOVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — A Dubai-based construction company plans to build a luxury resort worth 2.3 billion euro ($2.6 billion) on a mountain near Sarajevo — a ski resort where three decades ago the Winter Olympics were held.
The mayor of the municipality of Trnovo, Ibro Berilo, said Wednesday he signed a memorandum on cooperation with the head of the Buroj Property Development company from Dubai, Ismail Ahmed. The project includes the construction of villas, residential buildings, hotels and shopping malls.
Ahmed told reporters he was surprised to see how beautiful the area of the Bjelasnica mountain was and that his company would be ready to start work at the end of the year.
The project would be the biggest foreign investment of this type in Bosnia.
"I had the chance to sign something that will make history in this small community and I am overwhelmed with happiness," mayor Berilo told the AP. The project is a small city that can accommodate some 40,000 people.
The area of the mountains of Bjelasnica and Igman, some 20 kilometers from Sarajevo, are locally famous for fresh air and stunning views. Berilo said he understands why investors from the United Arab Emirates were attracted by the mountains. "Here, in just 21 days, your entire blood count changes for the better," he said.
Bosnia has not managed to attract many investors since its bloody 1992-95 war ended. The foreign ministry has lately focused on economic diplomacy and the project is a result of a campaign Bosnia's embassy in the UAE has launched, a statement from the ministry said.
The country has hardly any industry and is eager to develop tourism.