Lake Ohrid region – Safe Destination for Adventure Travel

FIELD

INFO

Project Title

Lake Ohrid region – Safe Destination for Adventure Travel

Type of Contract/Category

Grant contract

IPA Component/ (national or regional)

Programming year

IPA 2, Cross border cooepration: former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Republic of Albania, allocations 2014-2015

Lead applicant and co-applicants

Macedonian Red Cross – Branch Organization Ohrid (Ohrid Red Cross) and

The National Centre for the Environment, Tourism and Sustainable Development (NCETSD) from Tirana

Context/background

In recent years the national and local tourism stakeholders are recognizing the strong growth potential of the region in the adventure tourism. With a largely preserved culture, a diverse and rugged landscape of mountains, rivers, lakes and forests and newly established tourism offers such as hiking, mountain and road biking, horseback and donkey riding, paragliding, diving, sailing and kayaking, the region is gaining traction as an adventure destination hotspot, while both Macedonia and Albania are among new adventure travel emerging countries. The relatively unexplored territory, variety of physical and cultural activities on offer, cost-effective nature and proximity to European markets, make the region particularly attractive. This was confirmed on the international B2B event AdventureNextBALKAN.

While all participating tour operators were satisfied from the existing offers of the region, tested in pre and post event tours, they all pointed out one big constraint for successful placement of the region on the international adventure travel market: lack of capacities in the region to ensure safe stay of adventure travellers i.e. comprehensive risk management systems for the adventure tourism supplier base and in particular lack of accident management system in the actual destinations. Improved safety and risk management practices are needed to provide a competitive advantage for the destination and the small group tour operators, on both the national and international markets. In particular, there is a need to reduce barriers of entry for international tour operators by improving the destination image of the region and the countries. The Ohrid region as the biggest and most popular tourist destination in Macedonia has been trying to address the problem of risk management, mainly through the strong engagement of the Ohrid Red Cross. An efficient and effective Water rescue service, operating within the Ohrid Red Cross, safeguards on all popular beaches during the summer tourist season.

As an answer to constantly increasing needs, the same organisation is making efforts to provide mountain rescue service, which at the moment is far from the desired level. The Pogradec region, as attractive Albanian Lake destination, despite the high numbers of tourists registered in the summer season, so far has not managed to organise any kind of risk management service in tourism.

Abstract (short project summary)

 

The proposed Action within this project wants to address one of the main constraints limiting successful development of adventure travel tourism in the cross border Lake Ohrid region. Thus, the overall objective of the Action is: to contribute to the development of adventure tourism in the Lake Ohrid cross border region by increasing the safety of domestic and foreign visitors. The specific objectives of the Action are set as follows: 1. To establish two rescue centres for land and water rescue for efficient interventions in cases of emergency on land and water (Mountain rescue centre in Ohrid and Water rescue centre in Pogradec). With the setting up of the two rescue centres the safety of tourist in the entire Lake Ohrid region will be immensely increased, and one of the biggest constrains for placement of the region on international tourist markets removed. Thus, the newly established risk management systems will largely contribute to increased adventure tourism in the region expressed through greater number of foreign and domestic tourist in the region. 2. To promote Lake Ohrid region as a safe destination for adventure travel activities. The newly established rescue centres and the set risk management procedures and standards will be strongly promoted to tour operators, travel agents and tourism service providers in order to be used in enhancing the competitiveness of the Lake Ohrid region for adventure travel tourism.

 

The proposed Action was developed upon consultations held with the local authorities in both Albania and Macedonia, National Park’s Authorities, providers of tourism services in the region such as travel agents, tour operators, sports clubs (mountain and alpine clubs, sailing, paragliding, kayaking, etc.) and they all see the great importance of tackling the problem of risk management. Most of them are among the main stakeholders of this Action, which can be grouped in two: 1st group of stakeholders - all parties involved in the rescue system: rescue teams, police, medical organizations, local authorities, National parks and existing local Centres for crises management; 2nd group of stakeholders - tour operators, travel agencies and other service providers involved in adventure travel, including accommodation facilities.

 

The specific objectives 1 of the Action will be achieved with the following results: Result 1: Needed infrastructure for two rescue centres (land and water) is provided; This involves construction work to readapt and renovate Ohrid Red Cross storage building to be used as premises for the Mountain rescue service; equipping the rescue centres with specialized equipment for individual and collective use following international recommendations; Result 2: Procedures and standards for the rescue systems are defined and agreed for the Lake Ohrid cross border region; Introducing and knowledge transfer about international standards such as the recommendations of ICAR (International Commission for alpine rescue) for the mountain rescue service and ILS (International lifesaving standard) for the water rescue service; Joint set up of procedures to be followed in the field of risk management in tourism. Result 3: Trainers and rescuers for rescue services are trained according to international standards; The training and other capacity building measures will increase the professionalism of over 40 mountain rescuers according the ICAR recommendations and develop up to 40 young people in good physical condition in life guards according to ILS standards. The rescuers with the best performance and ability will be further trained to become trainers. The specific objective 2 of the Action will be achieved through the Result 4: Tourism service providers and visiting domestic and foreign visitors are aware and use the new developed rescue services; By use of different instruments: printed material, phone application and various promo events wide promotion of the newly established services will be done. Leaflets containing recommendations and emergency contacts will be prepared, published and widely distributed in the region for visiting domestic and foreign tourist. A more detailed Safety Guidelines for risk management will be prepared and publish for the use of tour operators, tourist agencies and other service providers. This publication should serve the tourism service providers in the part of risk management while developing and promoting various adventure travel products. Specialized seminars with the same target group will be organized according to the needs. A simple SOS phone application will give information about procedure to be followed in a case of emergency and enable quick contact with the rescue services. Result 5: The basis for a cross border partnership and network for risk management in tourism is established. This result will be an outcome of all activities undertaken in the Action: regular meetings and exchanges, joint actions and events, agreements on procedures and joint standards.

 

Final beneficiary

- Foreign tour operators;

- All kinds of tourism service providers in the Lake Ohrid cross border region;

- Domestic and foreign tourist engaged in adventure activities in the region;

- Local communities of Lake Ohrid cross border region;

Action location/s

The region of municipality of  Ohrid and Pogradec, i.e. the cross border Lake Ohrid region;

Objectives

Overall objective: to contribute to the development of adventure tourism in the Lake Ohrid cross border region by increasing the safety of domestic and foreign visitors.

Specific objectives:

1. To establish two rescue centres for land and water rescue for efficient interventions in cases of emergency on land and water (Mountain rescue centre in Ohrid and Water rescue centre in Pogradec)

2. To promote Lake Ohrid region as a safe destination for adventure travel activities

Activities

- Establishment of joint project team and project partnerships;

- Readapting and renovating an existing Red Cross building to be used as a Centre for the Mountain rescue Service;

- Equipping the Mountain and Water rescue services with specialized equipment for individual and collective use;

- Establishment of 24 hours SOS service for Mountain rescue;

- Establishment and agreement on cross border procedures and standards;

- Development and publication/production of promotional instruments;

- Organization of trainings and other capacity building measures to reach international standards;

- Organization of seminars and other promotional events;

- Regular meetings and exchanges according to the set OP;

Impact/Output/Result

Result 1: Needed infrastructure for two rescue centres (land and water) is provided;

Result 2: Procedures and standards for the rescue systems are defined and agreed for the Lake Ohrid cross border region;

Result 3: Trainers and rescuers for water and mountain rescue are trained according to international standards;

Result 4: Tourism service providers and visiting domestic and foreign tourists are aware and use the new developed rescue services;

Result 5: The bases for a cross border partnership and network for risk management in tourism is established. 

Facts & Figures

The key facts & figures relevant to the project:

• Project duration: 2 years (24 months)

• Start date of the project: 01/11/2017

• End date of the project: 31/10/2019

Figures

• Cost of the action:  415 000 €

• EU contribution: 352 750 €

• EU contribution percentage: 85%

Final useful footnotes

Include at the bottom of the page the statement

For more information:  

http://www.ohrid.gov.mk/index.asp?novostiID=142

https://www.facebook.com/OhridMountainRescue/

https://www.facebook.com/CKOhrid/