Discovering hidden attractions

FIELD

INFO

Project Title

Discovering hidden attractions

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

Municipality of Demir Hisar, Munciptility of Klos, Association -  International Centre for Art and Sustainable Development “ART POINT – GUMNO”, Foundation for Local Autonomy and Governance - FLAG

Context/background

The proposal “Discovering hidden attractions” focuses on developing consistent travel package across the borders. Developing similar factors of attraction in both municipalities’ as well developing products of active tourism such as hiking, cycling and local experiences delivered by locals ends in joint cross-border travel package motivating visitors to go beyond borders and explore untouched places offering unique yet two-country travel experience.In particular, Klos’ and Demir Hisar unexploited tourism remains of great potential. In the Klos Development Strategy drafted with the assistance of co-applicant NGO Foundation for Local Autonomy and Governance (FLAG, www.flag-al.org), and the General Local Plan developed following expansion of the municipality with the territorial–administrative reform of 2015, and also in Local development plans of Pelagonija region, Demir Hisar included, (LRCP, EU funded study) the community articulated its need for development of the tourism sector. The project will enable both municipalities to attract and assist tourists in exploring the area of and around the municipality, and further into Pelagonija and Diber Region, by introducing new tourism products, attracting interest to renovated cultural landmarks and engaging local businesses into logistic activities in the rural areas such as B&B, traditional workshops, home-made products.Prior the development of the proposal participative meetings were held with all relevant stakeholders including NGOs and tourism related businesses following their strong willingness to work together towards developing tourism potentials into real marketable tourism products. Stakeholders confirmed that the cultural landmarks as Cultural Center in the v. Sloestica in DH and as well as the construction of the Klos museum are to be renovated and turned into points of interests along with newly developed and logistically supported adventure activities like hiking and mount cycling, local products availability for visitors and finally promotion of the previously tested travel CB packages.

Abstract (short project summary)

The proposal “Discovering hidden attractions” directly contributes towards creating new business opportunities for local service providers and operators in the field of tourism. The overall goal of the project is to increase the attractiveness of the CB target destination by promotion of cultural and natural heritage, expanding the tourism product offering, introducing innovative services/products by the local toursm businesess, assessing the supply/need market situation and uplifting the capacities of the locals dealing with tourists. The proposal “Discovering hidden attractions” focuses on developing consistent travel package across the borders. Developing similar factors of attraction in both municipalities’ as well developing products of active tourism such as hiking, cycling and local experiences delivered by locals ends in joint cross-border travel package motivating visitors to go beyond borders and explore untouched places offering unique yet two-country travel experience. The proposal will enable the target groups to learn by doing while providing possibility to restore the neglected cultural potential and turn it into factor of attraction. Essential attention must be placed on developing activities within the destinations already present due to the nature possibilities like hiking trails, cycling, culinary classes, herbs and forest fruit collection, etc. Local population must be trained how to recognize and market their traditional skills via touristic demand. The present proposal will target filling that gap. The objectives of the national strategy target: improvement in standards of accommodation, and increasing the number of beds and registration of 80 percent of family accommodation (B&B) by 2022, among others. The biggest portion of the envisaged project budget (+60%) will be consumed by developing new touristic attraction by reconstructing/building of existing or new cultural and natural landmarks. Part of the budget will be invested in uplifting the capacity of the locals engaged in tourism activities thus enabling them to diversify their sources of income by marketing their authentic way of life. In addition, analysis in depth will be conducted involving the business sector to plan and test the innovative ground services that can attract and extend visitor stay. Online promotion of the joint cross border tourism offer will be implemented for targeted audience.

Final beneficiary

Population of the regions Pelagonija and region of Diber approx..400 000 people

Action location/s

Muncipality of Demir Hisar - North of Macedonia and Muncipality of Klos -Albania

Objectives

Overall objective: To promote cultural and natural heritage of the CB target destination as a touristic attraction

Specific objectives:

  1. To increase the touristic of the cross-border target destination

  2. To develop joint cross-border cultural and tourism products

  3. To diversify the cross-border target area touristic offer by SEMs innovations

  4. To uplift skills of persons engaged in rural and active tourism

Activities

All project activities are divided in 5 Working packages as bellow:

WPPM refers to the working package of the management of the project where 4 co-applicants: Leading applicant Municipality of Demir Hisar, co-applicant Municipality of Klos, co-applicant NGO Art Point Gumno (MK) and NGO FLAG (AL) will prove their firm partnership by establishing joint management team of 5 people, 2 by the Leading Partner plus one per co-applicant responsible for sound administrative and financial implementation of the project.

WP1:includes infrastructural works for the reconstruction of the Cooperative into Cultural Center in the v.Sloestica in DH municipality, the museum in Klos Municipality, the upgrading of the natural attraction of “Valavici”, marking Gurra Kaculit, Gryke e Xhabes, Ura Vashes, and Petralba and Xibrit castles into touristic attraction and place for recreation. Further, development of hiking trail of Sloestica to Shiroka Rudina along with placing the Info Boards and road direction signs in DH and hiking trails in Klos to the glacial lakes at Balgjat, Gurra Kaculit and the canyon Gryke e

Xhabes, and to all 21 cultural/natural monuments in Klos.

WP2: results in Joint tourism products development thru preparation of Hiking and cycling trails starting from the surrounding rural areas to the attractive mountain tops over the DH and Klos.

6 km of hiking trail will be established from the area of “Valavicite” till Shiroka Rudina spot connecting all newly developed infrastructure with the natural attractions in the surrounding area thus capitalizing the project investment into new tourism product offered by the target group: local businesses and the activity clubs from the Municipality as they will now market the supply (guided hiking, accommodation, local products, local experiences of traditional cover washing into natural made whirlpools) with online promotion provided by the project. In Klos, capacity development and promotion of the museum, local handicrafts and artisanal produce (honey, jams, yufka, mountain tea and herbs) will take place along with renovation of hiking trail to glacial lakes at Balgjat, renovation of hiking trail to Gurra Kaculit and Gryke e Xhabes. These activities will be supplemented by putting proper Touristic signalization along new hiking and cycling trails explaining the natural and cultural heritage including at Ura Vashes and plus 21 points of interest.

Online targeted campaign on new touristic packages involves fb and instagram promotion, offering the touristic products elaborated above by linking the service providers directly with the tourists enhanced with a paid campaign during the high season.

WP3: introduces Innovative SMEs tourism offerings thru Developing competitive destination plan for the CB target area as well Proposal of developed indicative innovative services/products following after intensively participative process of local businesses on Incoming Tourism market supply/demand analysis along with Field visit to successful rural touristic area for selected business representatives. Innovative business offerings developed and indicated in the CB destination plan will be Tested in an organized FAM tour for travel industry representatives.

WP4: Capacity building aimed for the local businesses implements 2 themes on joint CB seminars, one elaborating the marketing of local traditional products will gather producers of souvenirs and easy-to-take home food, while the second seminar will focus on the service providers like the mountain guides, B&B owners, locals, providing them with specific knowledge on what are the expectations of the tourists and again on the online possibilities for promotion of their services. This WP will be implemented by co-applicants of Art Point Gumno and FLAG organization.

Impact/Output/Result

Impact:

To promote cultural and natural heritage of the CB target destination as a touristic attraction.

Outputs:

- narrative and financial reports           

- Cultural landmarks are constructed/renovated and attractive to visitors introducing new cultural content

- At least two ready –to-market touristic packages including hiking/ cycling trails with info boards and sings and cultural tours are jointly developed

- CB target area is promoted as a cultural and adventure travel destination

- At least 2 new innovative services/products are developed and tested jointly with SMEs

- Cross-border destination plan of target area is developed inclusive of touristic supply/demand analysis

- Capacities are built of at least 20 people working in the cultural and adventure tourism area

- Field study visit for business representatives to exchange positive experience of rural tourism in CB region

Results:

1. Cultural landmarks are restored/renovated and attractive to visitor introducing new cultural content

1.1 CB target area is promoted as an active (adventure) travel destination

2. At least two ready-to-market touristic packages including hiking/cycling trails and cultural tours are jointly developed

3. At least 2 new innovative services/products are developed and tested jointly with SMEs

3.1 Cross-border destination plan of target area is developed inclusive of touristic supply/demand analysis

4. Capacities are built of at least 20 people working in rural/adventure tourism area

Facts & Figures

The key facts & figures relevant to the project:

  •   Project duration: 20 month

  •   Start date of the project: 01.12.2019

  •   End date of the project: 31.07.2021

Figures

  •   Cost of the action: 455 633€

  •   EU contribution: 387 288€

  •   EU contribution percentage: 85%

Final useful footnotes

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