Transcript of the podcast:

Samer Dolovac has been professionally engaged in tourism for 20 years. He is the manager of the San Tours Agency from Travnik, and has been involved in the NGO sector directly through the Association “Mt. Vlašić Planet of Life” and is indirectly providing support to others as a legal entity.

When asked how it all began, he explaines he has always been engaged in social activities through sport and folklore at the Culture and Arts Association Borac Travnik that took him for tours across half of Europe and he grew to love traveling.

What took him to the NGO sector, is that BiH has recognised and well-known tourist potentials, but we are weak on nature protection and environment, so he wanted to improve the situation and do something.

Samer Dolovac:

This gave an additional motive to join the NGO “Mt. Vlašić Planet of Life” in 2006, which has been implementing a number of projects and activities in the area of not only Travnik but beyond as well.

Every project, every activity, whether small or insignificant or a big one is my personal success or success of the Association. Which are the most important one? There are many but let’s say one of these is a quality initiative to build a seasonal outpatient facility in the Babanovac Plateau. When a number of clients use this service during the winter season, you see that this is your success, and you’re pleased.

Or when you install some swings or seesaws, you see both the local population and the tourists using these services, you see kids with smiles on, and that’s a success.

In your opinion, how are all your activities contributing to the society?

Every project contributes to the society if it serves its purpose, if it is well-intended and serving the needs of citizens or tourists.

If you get involved in the decision related to utility-issues in the Travnik Municipality, and you introduce an article on the ban on the burning of coal in the Babanovac area, which is recognisable by its natural environment. If this Article of the decision is applied, and it is applied by the largest number of property owners, this goes to say that one sentence gives a great contribution to the protection of the environment and nature and the development of tourism. And I think that’s only one example.

How helpful or unhelpful is the politics and the current situation in your work?

Unfortunately, these questions are always asked so as to separate individuals from politics. But I think that’s absolutely wrong. As much as politics should be approaching citizens, the citizens should just as much be getting closer to politics. So far, I never had any personal problems with politics as there’s always a way and model how to approach politics.

And I recommend, especially too young people, to get engaged in politics as much as they can, since only a quality massive group in any political option can give us quality in lives and work of us all. Unfortunately, many get away from politics and leave room to many who are not professional and are not competent to be in politics, and then we all pay the price. My personal example is that I’m involved in politics and I don’t have a problem with it. So in this regard, I believe I give an important contribution to the entire society of BiH, regardless of which political party I am in.

Plans for the future?

As for the Association “Mt. Vlašić Planet of Life”, in autumn we will do a monitoring of botanical paths. This is an interesting project that we have implemented for two years. We’ll now extend this project further. W’ll probably have some preparation for maintaining the recreational area Kukotnica that we manage as an association. It is n area for citizens and, of course, for tourism and it already had effects on the ground as we have a number of recreational offerings.

Is it possible to keep young people in BiH?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In this context, I think that young people must have patriotism restored and installed in them. Not only when BiH is winning in football, and when it loses, then no one goes to these games, but to have it instilled in them as a constant. That they can make a major contribution by connecting, building networks. They need to take the fate in their own hands as much as possible. When you love a country, it is more likely that more and more people will surely stay in the place where you live.

I love my country, I don’t think I’m going anywhere. I’ve built my own environment and my life, I have a healthy and lovely family I love. I earn just as much as our average person abroad. I can advance further, I contribute to society as much as I can and believe that not just perspective, the future of BiH is far better than unfortunately the media is negatively portraying the place we live in.

What can each of us do to make it all better for us?

Everyone should give their contribution in own field, even if it is to move it by just a millimetre. The best thing is to do the job you want and like.

I’ll give you an example of how many mistakes we’ve made in terms of career orientation, even by parents towards children and children themselves. I use the example of Travnik where the number of students in secondary school decreases and the number of those in the secondary school of medicine increases, because children see the prospect of finding a job as a medical technician in the West and of course, it is possible. But for example, a number of other vocations is being shut down, even those like the chef’s, where there is a high demand in our market and in the countries of the region. Personally, a couple of my partners from Croatia paid chefs around EUR 2,000 a month during the high season because they do not have quality staff as far as chefs are concerned. We cannot find them in Bosnia and Herzegovina either, and this profession, of course, provided you learned it and who ever does a good quality job here could earn more than the head of state.

That’s one example, this school is being shut down, it’s no longer available in Travnik, although it has great prospects.  Out of two classes in secondary school of medicine, we now have four or five and these children only see their fate on the West. I think this example says it all.