BojaNaTour, an ICZM project in Montenegro focusing on tourism and nature

Ulcinj, in the south coast of Montenegro, is an important tourist destination in the summer for neighbouring countries. Furthermore, it hosts one a highest valuable ecological sites in the Balkans coast, the Bojana delta, shared with Albania. These two facts require an integrated management allowing win-win situations. In this context, the recently started BojaNaTour project – Fostering and Bringing Together Nature, Tourism and Civil Society at Bojana Delta through Integrated Coastal Zone Management- is seeking for synergies between nature and tourism.

The project is led by the ECNC Land and Sea Group, which gathers together expertise from EUCC Mediterranean Centre, the European Centre for Nature Conservation and Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC). In Ulcinj, the local partners are the Ulcinjs Business Assocation (UBA) and the NGO GreenStep. It is funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

BojaNaTour uses ICZM as framework to pursue sustainable development in Ulcinj, particularly with Bojana Delta where the actions will take place and focus on nature and tourism.

First months of the project will be devoted to reinforce links with related initiatives and to start engaging stakeholders in ICZM. It will be achieved through kick-off meetings and interviews and will result into a state-of-the-art report regarding ICZM in Ulcinj, focusing on links nature-tourism and stakeholders mapping.

This will be the basis to conceive a series of ICZM workshops that will bring together local authorities, civil society and private sector representatives. Participatory meetings will assist to build and agree on a Common ICZM Vision for Ulcinj and Bojana Delta, assuring coherence with other national policies and initiatives and their downscaling to the local level (ICZM Protocol, National Strategy of Sustainable Development, Spatial Plan of Montenegro, CAMP Montenegro, ICZM National Strategy, Coastal Area Spatial Plan (CASP), CEPF projects). This vision intends to agree on a management model that fosters responsible tourism and nature conservation, among other coastal issues. For this, scenarios and group discussion animations will be used. Examples from other Mediterranean sites will be provided to learn critical success factors to avoid the mistakes. The Vision will guide future project activities such as the sub-grant programme and the tourism communication strategy.

In order to put ICZM in practice, nature-based and responsible tourism pilot demonstration activities will be carried out. Firstly, a two-days training will be organized on these topics, focusing on best and worst cases in similar contexts. Secondly, the sub-grant programme will aim at implementing concrete actions by local entrepreneurs and associations on e.g. resources efficiency, quality certification, nature-based products (local food, handicraft, hikes, shows). A call for proposals will be launched and it is expected to grant 4-5 projects. Implementation will last a year and will provide ground for finalizing the tourism communication Strategy.

Engagement and interest along the project will be achieved through a communication strategy and related tools, including a green seal. By the end, it will be enhanced in the shape of a Responsible Tourism Communication Strategy in Bojana Delta, to be agreed in the last ICZM workshop. This strategy and related tools will be promoted by the partnership and concerned stakeholders, thus allowing project follow up and facilitating fund raising.

The project website, www.bojanatour.org will be launched soon.

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