As we all know 2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world but the COVID 19 pandemic has had a particularly significant impact on tourism. This has had some implications on our financial operations with the income of firewood production having dropped to 0, while the revenues from tourism decreased by an astounding 73% in comparison to the previous year. However, despite this, PIGNP stuck to the decision not to continue with the production of firewood throughout the year and we managed to provide a quality service to mainly domestic and local tourists through new signage and enhanced information.
Advanced METT assessment.
This year also saw the implementation of the ‘2020 Operational Plan’ for Galicica National Park by PIGNP. The plan considers the findings of the Advanced METT assessments and has been a great opportunity for the staff of the institution to learn, practice, and acknowledge the advantages of proper operational planning, and the financing of nature conservation (part of the operational costs). This has been made possible through the support provided by PONT.
The grant provided by PONT has financed activities enhancing the tourist offer in Galicica National Park, as well as improving the tourism infrastructure and enabling activities connected to nature conservation. This was the second year of cooperation in the long-term partnership. In 2020 the main support by PONT has been provided through the co-financing of the salaries of employees working on activities in both tourism and conservation, while the rest of the operating expenses have been covered by the institution’s own budget. It should be noted that initially a greater portion of the PONT`s contribution had been planned for purchases and equipment which unfortunately couldn’t go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Achievements of 2020:
- Enhancement of the ‘tourist offer’ and management efficiency through physical and human resource capacity building;
- Enhancement of the efficiency of the biodiversity monitoring and reporting as required by the national authorities and international practices (EU Directives);
- Enhancement of the environmental education segment of its operations;
- Enhancement and ensuring positive management practices through the internal development of the Management Plan for 2021-2030 (including a detailed multiple-year operational plan and budget, a five-year sustainable tourism strategy, and a five-year environmental education strategy);
- Regular sightings of a Balkan Lynx in the Galicica National Park after a long period of absence.
As required by Law a Strategic Environmental Assessment linked to the new updated Management Plan was conducted on a transboundary level. The PIGNP hopes that the Management Plan (2021-2030) will be approved soon by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.
Photo credits: PIGNP