Connecting nature and tourism for Albania’s economic development
31 May 2012 | Article
More than 10,000 people will participate in the opening of the 2012 tourist season in Velipojë on Friday 1 June. IUCN, with a project funded by the Italian Cooperation, will participate to promote the importance of protecting the natural beauty of the area which every year attracts thousands of tourists.
“Protected areas, like the Buna River Protected Lanscape where Velipojë is located, can generate economic opportunities for local investors and residents. Ecotourism represents a great potential for the sustainable development of the community” said Hans Friederich, IUCN Regional Director for Europe, “The opening of the tourist season is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this potential”.
IUCN’s project “Institutional Support for Protected Areas in Albania” promotes an innovative approach for the management of the Buna River protected site which aims to demonstrate a broad range of benefits that local and wider communities can enjoy from preserved and well-functioning ecosystems.
With the project, IUCN and the Italian Cooperation are currently supporting Velipojë’s community efforts to clean up and restore 200 metres of beach. When completed, it is expected that nearly 1,000m3 of rubble left over from the demolition of illegal buildings in the town will be removed from the shore.
“A cleaner beach and town means a more welcoming environment for tourists and nature alike” said Andrea Ghiurghi, IUCN Project Manager, “IUCN is glad to participate in this effort and stands ready to support the community to promote the sustainable development of the area”.
The tourist season opening event will feature various activities and also promote the culinary values of the area with typical dishes and much more, like local folk music, dancing and children’s games.
Representatives of central and local government authorities will participate in this event supporting the goal of increasing ecotourism to boost the region’s economic development. Private sector representatives from tour operations, restaurants, hotels and local authorities from the town and the surrounding communities will gather to celebrate Velipojë and to promote their businesses in this top tourist destination.
Information on the Buna River Protected Landscape and IUCN project activities will be available to participants and the public.