In the framework of the “Co.Co.Tour” project, the Albanian Development Fund, in collaboration with the assigned external experts and Himara Municipality, organized on 3 November 2020 the first training/know-how exchange session with all relevant local stakeholders of the project in the Himara Municipality area.
The exchange session was focused on community tourism, accessibility, and eco-museum management. The meeting was held in a spacious place and with a limited number of stakeholders to respect the safety regulation due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. The Communication Coordinator created and published links in the Zoom platform to help stakeholders to participate online in the exchange session. To make the meeting more accessible to international participants, the presentations were conducted both in Albanian and English.
This meeting was attended by the local community coming from different villages and different age groups from the project area. This meeting was especially interesting due to the presence of 2 tourists, who were attracted by the natural beauties of Himara.
The first part of the training and know-how session was dedicated to the local community. During the 3 hours of training, it was possible to present the project objectives, the eco-museum concept, how the community was part of this initiative, and how they will benefit from it in the future. Another presentation was related to the Eco-Museum Logo and how it was designed to represent the three categories of natural heritage, cultural heritage, and immaterial heritage.
Another key point discussed was identifying the point of interest in Himara Municipality and the community tourism concept and how it can help with deseasonalization and increase local family incomes due to expanded tourism season.
A new concept presented to the community was the accessibility concept and the accessibility handbook, where the community was informed on disabilities and accessible spaces. This topic encouraged residents to seek to improve the road infrastructure of some of the points of interest since most community members are senior citizens and motivate young people not to abandon this area.
The second part of the training which was dedicated to local businesses that operate in the Himara area and again it was presented the following topics: a short presentation of “Co.Co.Tour” project progress, the main concepts of the eco-museum, the prototype of the Port Museum of the Tricase, community tourism and touristic products, development of a network and smart products for community tourism.
Participants were introduced on how they will benefit from this initiative and the impact on the market demand to create experimental, diversified, deseasonalized, and accessible tourist packages based on the specifics of each area to create opportunities for economic sustainable growth and employability, as specified in Interreg IPA CBC “Italy-Albania-Montenegro program”.
The representatives from Albanian Development Fund and Himara municipality explained how the eco-museum with be managed, the impact of the ICT tools and touristic package, how the internal eco-museum spaces are designed, and the role of the community for long-lasting eco-museum management and safeguarding, enhancing, and promoting the coastal community of the Himara area.
This Know-how exchange session was a way to empower stakeholders on eco-museums progress to create a more genuine relationship between the tourists and the community and prepare them on accessibility standards and behaviors, reception, and services with attention to specific targets (allergic people, foreigners, children, disabled people, etc.).The concept of accessibility (as defined by OMS) and the handbook that Italian accessibility experts prepared for the project partners and network stakeholders were presented to all participants.
Progress Foundation organized this session, in close collaboration with Endri Teta (Project Manager of the cooperation project unit), Mirbana Lame (Project Manager of the Co.Co.Tour project), Genti Stratoberdha (Project Coordinator of Himara Municipality), with the special online participation of experts Blerjana Bino (Communication Coordinator), Antonio Errico (President of Magnia Grecia Mare) and Ettore Ruggiero (accessibility expert).
“Co.Co.Tour” project is funded by the Interreg IPA CBC Italy-Albania-Montenegro Programme.