PONT recently commissioned a report, which recommended supporting communities and entrepreneurs in Prespa to focus on developing and delivering nature-based tourism products and services to increase the chances of commercial success in the region. The partnership of protected area authorities and local governments is crucial.
PONT subsequently published a call, in August 2019, inviting environmental actors to submit proposals that support tourism businesses operating in the Wider Prespa Area in Albania and North Macedonia in developing or re-modelling the value chains of specific, economically viable nature-based tourism products.
Following a two-staged selection process, PONT awarded a grant to the Albanian Centre for Environmental Governance (ACEG) for a project supporting the development of nature-based tourism in the Prespa National Park in Albania.
The first module of the project focuses on enhancing the technical capacity of the Pustec and Devoll local governments, with the aim of creating an environment that enables administration of local tourism businesses.
At the same time, in cooperation with the GIZ ProSEED/IDEA granting programme, the project will deliver training for young entrepreneurs in the Prespa National Park to develop and market nature-based tourism products.
Young entrepreneurs will be then invited to submit business proposals that are in line with the management objectives of the Prespa National Park. The proposals must focus on viable, long-term economic operations that facilitate meaningful and high-quality visitor experience, and that create economic opportunities for local communities and enterprises.
Promising business ideas will be supported with small sub-grants or by assisting their proponents in developing business plans and applying to IDEA-Grant Scheme under the Albanian Ministry of Finance and Economy, which provides subsidies and financial support for business ideas through the ProSEED Project, in cooperation with the GIZ.
PONT’s grant will also enable ACEG strengthen its technical capacities in the field of nature conservation and nature-based tourism, in line with their Strategic Action Plan for 2018-2020.