The new visitor centre was opened on June 18th 2018 in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park welcoming the local community, national and international travellers, civil society organisations, representatives of the local institutions, National Agency of Protected Areas (NAPA), EU Delegation to Albania and the media in an official ceremony.
The representative of the EU Delegation to Albania at the ceremony, Mr. Sylvain Gambert Team Leader, Political, Economic and Information Section emphasized that through the NaturAl project the EU is investing in protection, management and promotion of protected areas in Albania. Explaining that it is in our interest to guard the natural resources we have, he said: „The legislation and law enforcement are essential and rangers that will work here will play a key role in safeguarding the nature of Divjaka. This new visitor centre and the work of the rangers will contribute to the protection of the flora and fauna of the park and will play a key role in educating people on the proper behavior in the park and help raise awareness on the ecosystem values of the park,” he concluded.
Participants praised the natural beauty, biodiversity and ecosystems of Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, a destination with high tourism potential offering bike rides, park visits guided by junior rangers and tasting of a variety of local food products. For Fieri Prefect Mr. Baki Bala the new visitor centre is a value added not only for the Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, but also for the entire area. “This center will link nature and visitors, providing adequate information and rising respect for the site,” he said.
The head of NAPA, Mr. Zamir Dedej welcomed the investment of EU funds through NaturAl project in this center, emphasizing its educational purposes as well as the important collaboration with the local community for the efficient management of the centre that will promote all the values of the park. “During the last years the Project has supported NAPA in undertaking important steps for a better conservation of Albania’s natural heritage, in particular liaising with the Regional Administration of Protected Areas and relevant NGOs to preserve and enhance the values of Divjaka - Karavasta National Park,” said Dedej.
Besides supporting the conceptualisaton and realisation of the Visitor centre exhibits and all the modern refurbrishments, the NaturAL project is working to set-up two other visitor centres, allocating to these activities an amount of 200,000 EUR. Ms. Caterina Carugati, NaturAl project team leader stressed that this investment aims at raising educational awareness and building strong partnerships with local communities. “This is crucial for the efficient management of the areas, and contributes greatly to turning natural capital into a development resource generating income for local communities,“ she concluded.
The visitor centre is equipped with 35 panels. This investment of EU funded project NaturAl offers detailed information on Divjaka-Karavasta National Park unique ecosystem and its rich biodiversity. Inside the centre there is a corner dedicated to the children where they can explore the park’s flora and fauna. A small shop, managed by a local NGO, offers souvenirs with park landscape and its pride, the Dalmatian Pelican. Divjaka - Karavasta is home to the Dalmatian Pelican and its only nesting place in Albania. It is also an important resource for development of the sustainable tourism and economic activities of the local community.
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