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Biotourism in Prespa and Korçë

Prespa and Korçë develop a commontourism product for regional growth

The cross border region between Greece andAlbania is a rare cradle of natural and cultural beauty.Lofty, forested mountains rise above a basin framing twocrystalline lakes, Great and Small Prespa, shared by Greece and Albania. 
Sharing common cross border resources involvescooperation and common management practices toensure social and economic benefits for localstakeholders, while minimizing environmental damages. Sustainable economic development must be promotedwith the intention of increasing cooperation in commonbusiness initiatives for the support of the localcommunities of Prespa in Greece and Korçë in Albania.

A tourism product, which spans the cross borderregion and preserves natural resources and habitats,can mold tourism features into traditional lifestyles andnatural habitats, while complementing and enhancingtheir economic and environmental viability. From basictourism services like transport and accommodation toactivities like bird watching, farm tours and joining localfestivals, the combination of the principles ofsustainability and socio-cultural empowerment is centralto the development of the tourism sector.
Natural and cultural assets are already abundant; allthat is missing is effective ways to share them withvisitors. A large part of this includes building on thecurrent services offered and increasing their scope andefficiency, such as offering training in hospitality andguiding and sharing best practice techniques for sustainabilityin hotels, restaurants and other tourism services.
Creating effective channels for disseminating informationto tourists is also a major area in need ofattention. Especially in the Korçë region, where tourismis less developed, a great number of precious sites likeold hidden churches and unusual geological formationsare poorly advertised. A lack of comprehensive guidesfor the area of Korçë creates a barrier for tourismactivity. As tourists become better informed about whatthe area has to offer, their interest will growtremendously, boosting the potential for biotourismdevelopment.
 Biotourismall
Community Initiatives
MerTo facilitate a proliferating tourism industry,community engagement is central. Localcommunities will provide employees andemployers who run the operations and whostand to benefit from tourism. Workshops andcooperative engagements should aim to informresidents of the potential benefits of tourismand how it should be applied to their ventures ina sustainable way.
One of the best examples of a sector whichcan absorb a tourism dimension is agricultureand agrotourism. Farm tours, selling productson site, and offering accommodation are allways to buffer a strained agriculture industry.Stimulating this sector can also go hand in handwith promoting organic and sustainablefarming, which are critically needed as bothwater and soil in the area are under stress fromintensive farming methods. Organic productsare in high demand and may gain a bettermarket price which tourists are especiallywilling to pay.
With patient, cooperative engagement withthe local communities of the Prespa basin,simple training plans and incentives can beoutlined to generate proactive tourism efforts.By preserving and promoting the image ofnatural and cultural significance to tourists, andmaintaining these values throughout thetourism experience, the precious resources andhabitats of Prespa and Korçë may be sustainedand shared through biotourism for generationsto come.


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