This slogan marked the participation of the National Agency of Protected Areas in Albania (NAPA), EU funded project NaturAL and Italian Agency for Development Cooperation AICS at the 2nd edition of the Tourism Mediterranean Fair organized in Albania beginning of April. Their aim was to promote protected areas as sustainable tourism destinations, and highlight both their importance for the preservation of biodiversity and for offering recreation opportunities. Sustainable and responsible tourism is increasing in protected areas, offering possibilities for significant sources of income through activities such as hiking, biking, canoeing, bird watching, etc. The staff of Regional Administration of Protected Areas (RAPA) helped to raise awareness among visitors and interested business about the role nature has for the economic benefit of the local community. According to NAPA statistics 2,722.744 visitors were registered last year in protected areas and 70% of them stayed overnight.
Local businesses presented their products promoting own rich cultural tradition. Visitors enjoyed local products and learned about the activities offered in the protected areas by local and national tour operators. Children from RAPA Diber enrolled in the newly launched initiative of NaturAl project, titled Junior Ranger, participated at the fair and got acquainted with the values of protected areas in Albania and the ranger’s work on protection of wildlife. The young rangers have also contributed to the awareness campaign “Fair Business, Respect Wildlife", in collaboration with the NGO 4PAWS and SAB, aiming to end the practice of keeping wild animals in cages as tourist attractions.
The 2nd edition of Mediterranean Tourism Fair was a good opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of protected areas as tourism destinations, and for participants to take part in various workshops and back-to-back meetings organized during the fair.
To see photos from the event go to Gallery.
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