This year was the first time for Albania to be represented at the International Birdwatching and Nature Tourism Fair in Comacchio, Po Delta Park in Italy, promoting the national Protected Areas as slow tourism and birdwatching destinations. The rare Dalmatian Pelican and endangered Audouini’s gull, river tourism and rafting, cycling and hiking were some of the attractions offered by the Albanian Parks.
Representatives of the National Agency for Protected Areas, environmental organisations and media supported by NaturAL Project were part of the Albanian delegation which promoted parks in a dedicated stand at the expo area during the fair (29 April to 1 May 2016). The focus was placed on wetlands, as the most important habitats for migratory birds, and specifically on the Lake Shkodra Managed Nature Reserve, Divjaka-Karavasta National Park, Buna River-Velipoje Protected Landscape and Vjosa-Narta Protected Landscape. Displaying the pictures of habitats and bird species illustrating the beauty and potentials of the wetlands included into the Adriatic basin and part of the bird migratory flyway, the Albanian stand attracted a large number of visitors.
Caterina Carugati, NaturAL Project’s Team Leader provided details on the implementation of the management plans in project protected areas emphasising Albania’s great potentials for developing slow and nature tourism. “Thanks to the moratorium on banning hunting, the wildlife has been revitalised in Albania”, said Carugati during her presentation. Slow tourism is defined by taking a break from the daily routine and spending time being at a particular place, enjoying the traditional products and local culture, meeting the residents and experiencing the nature.
The Albanian delegation took advantage of various activities organised during the fair, such as workshops and birdwatching guided tours. This allowed the participants to gather the knowledge, exchange the information and meet the tour companies in order to experience practically slow tourism initiatives that could be replicated in Albanian Protected Areas.
This study tour was a great opportunity for representatives of National Agency for Protected Areas to expand their network amongst organizations, parks and regional administration for the promotion of slow tourism in the Adriatic region.
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