Cross-border biking: Next level adventure tourism in Mavrovo-Rostushe & Dibra.

FIELD

INFO

Project Title

Cross-border biking: Next level adventure tourism in Mavrovo-Rostushe & Dibra

Type of Contract/Category

Grant contract

IPA Component/ (national or regional)

Programming year

IPA 2, Cross border cooepration: Republic of North Macedonia – Republic of Albania, allocations 2016-2017

Lead applicant and co-applicants

Albanian Local Capacity Development Foundation (ALCDF)

Association for Active Tourism Explorer 2018 Ohrid

Keshilli I Qarkut Diber (Diber Regional Council)

Municipality of Mavrovo and Rostusha

Context/background

Diber Muncipality and Mavrovo-Rostuse Municipality border together. Both Municipalities are blessed with exceptionally attractive mountain ranges, river valleys and traditional villages with a well-preserved natural heritage. There is plenty of room for tourists to “Go their Own Way” in Diber and Macedonia where the greatest assets have remained pristine and traditional which a growing number of tourists are looking for.

 

Both Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber region are facing challenges such as unemployment and rural exodus. Both is massive and ongoing, especially with youth. Rural tourism being one of the most promising sectors in the area and with the biggest potential for job creation, but so far it has not yet been developed even close to its potential. In Albania and in the Diber region, there is a lack of appreciation for the economic development engine that tourism could be, particularly for employment in an area with otherwise few alternatives.

 

Tourism and especially adventure travel are one of the very few economic opportunities of the region. And while tourism can be a rather “ugly” and for sure unsustainable business, rural adventure tourism as proposed here can bring jobs, income and growth to a remote rural population. Applied in the cross-border regions with the sustainable concept of “soft”, ecological adventure tourism, the proposed project also will incentivize locals to better protect their nature, as this now became an asset necessary to sell this kind of tourism. Creating an offer where there is nothing yet and making locals want to protect their natural heritage.

 

Based on the national strategies for tourism development for both countries, despite the legacy of the past, which presents many shortcomings such as seasonal tourism, quality of service, low average spending and underqualified staff, Albania's and North Macedonian position in the international tourism market has grown and is steadily maintained. Specifically, during 2017, the number of non-resident visitors with foreign citizenship increased by about 13% compared to 2016.

Abstract (short project summary)

The proposed project intends to enhance further the cooperation, communication and exchange between the two municipalities, while creating and promoting the area as one region, creation of bike trails that connect both countries, visitors that enjoy similar experiences and good quality of tourism services. Furthermore the project intends to address the increase the number of qualified staff, mainly focusing on the adventure tour guides, family guest houses and especially in improving the adventure tourism infrastructure in bike trails and qualified staff and infrastructure of vistors’ centres.

 

The project aims the further development of tourism sector in the project area through:

        Improved economic opportunities through job creation for the inhabitants of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Dibra;

Improved infrastructure for adventure tourism development in the    Mavrovo-

        Rostushe & Dibra project area;

        Improved business opportunities in local tourism;

        Improved promotion of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Diber cross-border region as ONE adventure tourism destination

 

With a more developed adventure tourism sector we will create directly 10 (ten) new and indirectly 50 new jobs within the project. The direct jobs will be adventure guides, info point staff and accommodation/food providers. The indirect jobs will come from logistics providers, further tourism value chain actors and even involved municipality employees. On a mid- and long-term perspective, we expect even higher numbers of direct as well as indirect jobs – all building on the work done by this project.

 

Furthermore, through the usage of the regions strong natural and cultural potential, we will invite and integrate regional, national and even international tourism value chain actors for the development, marketing and sale of new adventure products.

 

Another element relates to infrastructure investment part of the contract. Building on the infrastructure implemented (40 km of biking trails and renovation of two multi-functional visitor centre) and the capacity built by this project, and with the adventure tourism products developed from it, the Mavrovo-Rostushe & Diber cross-border region will be promoted & sold as ONE unified adventure destination for active tourism. The region will be promoted at 2 (two) international (Eurobike/Garda) and 3 (three) national fairs (AL/MK/KS), and the all the tourism actors involved in the project will multiply this promotion into the various target markets. A strong promotion for success will also come from our connection to crucial actors (trail-builders/experts/magazines) of the mountain bike-scene in Europe – the kind of tourism spearheading rural development in this project. Within the three years after the project we expect at least 500 foreign guests for biking tourism and another 700 foreign guests for further products of active tourism (hiking etc.).

Final beneficiary

  • All kinds of tourism service providers in both countries;  

  • Domestic and foreign tourist engaged in adventure activities in the Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border region;

  • Local people with their facilities like (accommodation, restaurants, souvenir shops, supermarkets and small stores, info points and stores with home products) from Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border region;

  • Local Businesses

  • Local municipalities of Mavrovo-Rostushe and Rostushe Municipality and Diber Region

Action location/s

For the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Polog Region, population of Mavrovo and Rostushe Municipality

For the Republic of Albania

Dibër Region population of municipality of Dibër

Objectives

Overall objective:

Further develop the economic sector of adventure tourism in Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border by creation of new active products and increasing the numbers of domestic and foreign visitors.

Specific objectives:

  • To increase the number of jobs for the inhabitants of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Diber region through improved touristic services/products

  • To create business opportunities for service providers and tourism operators from both countries

  • To promote Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border region as one adventure destination for active tourism

Activities

A1.1 Training of 12 mountain bike guides/trail builders 

A1.2 Training of 6 future guide / trail building trainers (train the trainers)          

A1.3 Training of 4 qualified visitor centre staff

A1.4 Exchange visit between the visitors’ centres’ staff

A1.5 Training of guest house/accommodation providers     

A2.1 Creation of 40km of natural mountain bike trails 

Prepare digital maps of the trails and investment in the bike trails (construction work, sign and marking)

A2.2 Installation of signposting and info-boards

A2.3 Creation of 2x multifunctional visitor centres (info/rental/services) – investment and refurbishment                   

A3.1 Production of variety of digital & printed promotional products for the region

(maps, digital brochure, video spots, documentary)      

A3.2 Promotion of the region at 2 international and 3national fairs   

A3.3 Promotion of the region through media invitation trips

A3.4 Promotion through social and official media (facebook, YouTube, SPIS, visitdiber.com)

A3.5 Closing Conference

Impact/Output/Result

Impact:Further develop the economic sector of adventure tourism in Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border by creation of new active products and increasing the numbers of domestic and foreign visitors

  • 10% increase of registered SME with tourism related function

  • 15% increase in the number of visitors

  • Average length will be increased in more than 2 nights

 Outcomes:1. To increase the number of jobs for the inhabitants of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Diber region through improved touristic services/products1.1 35% of tourism offers generated by CBC initiative1.2 26 qualified tourism workers (12 bike guides and 4 visitors centre staff – 16 individuals (12 men and 4 women) employed1.3 100 tourist providers (50 indirect jobs created (guest house, handicraft, souvenir) are active and providing touristic services 2. To create business opportunities for service providers and tourism operators from both countries2.1 minimum 80% satisfaction level of satisfaction of users/clients with new services 3. To promote Mavrovo-Rostushe and Diber cross border region as one adventure destination or active tourism3.1 40km of biking trails constructed3.2 Number 1200 tourists visiting the project area3.2.1 5,000 tourists enjoying enhanced tourist facilities

 

Outputs:

 

  1. Improved economic opportunities through job creation for the inhabitants of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Dibra:

  • Minimum 12 local guides (11 men and 1 woman), and

  • about 100 operators (agro-producers, hotel owners, taxi – 60 women and 40 men)

Increase knowledge through active participation to training and capacity building for sustainable tourist product development.

  1. Improved infrastructure for adventure tourism development in the    Mavrovo-Rostushe & Dibra project area.

  • 40 kilometer of new or rehabilitated bike trails;

  • 120 sign postings and 40 info boards will be installed

  • Refurbishment of 2 multi-visitor centres

 

  1. Improved business opportunities in local tourism

  • number of mountain lodges is increased with minimum 25 guest house owners, or local touristic suppliers

  • 2 touristic maps are introduced (as a region and as a product)

  • 5 fairs visited (3 national and 2 international)

   

  1. Improved promotion of Mavrovo-Rostushe & Diber cross-border region as ONE adventure tourism destination

  • 60% of local population participate in the information and visibility action of the project and are aware of tourism potential of the region

Facts & Figures

The key facts & figures relevant to the project:

  •    Project duration: 30 months

  •    Start date of the project: 01 January 2020

  •    End date of the project: 30 June 2022

Figures

  •    Cost of the action:  677,729.00 €

  •    EU contribution: 576,069.00 €

  •    EU contribution percentage: 85%

Final useful footnotes

Please find more information in our web

www.alcdf.org

or contact us at e-mail address: info@alcdf.org