NaturKosovo: Sustainability and Tourism Innovation for the Via Dinarica in Kosovo – 31 initiatives funded for a more sustainable tourism

Infografica ITA

The selection procedure for the awarding of grants to tour operators active in the promotion of the Via Dinarica, within the framework of the NaturKosovo project, has been concluded.

The Via Dinarica is a hiking route that stretches over 2,000 kilometres, crossing eight countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania.

The NaturKosovo initiative, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), operates in the Kosovo section of the Via Dinarica, particularly in the communities of Peja/Peć, Deçan/Dečani and Junik.

The project’s Endowment Fund has €363,568.54, with an additional €77,041.99 in co-financing from the beneficiaries. Of the 104 applications received, 31 proposals were selected and funded, with the final financial agreement signed on 5 June. The infographic shows a cross-section of the economic activities that will receive support from the fund.

During the fund’s definition phase, special attention was paid to social inclusion and the participation of women and young people, in order to involve these groups more closely in the management of economic and tourism activities.

Among the selected initiatives, projects dedicated to the renovation and energy efficiency of traditional hospitality facilities stand out. These interventions aim to improve infrastructure and reduce environmental impact, promoting more sustainable tourism in the region. In addition, proposals have been selected for the purchase of equipment and safety devices for mountain sports activities.

Another priority area concerns increasing the quality of local products. To this end, proposals were selected that focus on the provision of equipment for traditional agri-food production and the purchase of kitchen equipment, thus improving the quality of food products and services offered. This will not only strengthen the local gastronomic offer but will also contribute to preserving and enhancing the culinary traditions of the project areas.

In addition, the initiatives financed include promotion and visibility activities, which will help to highlight the area’s natural, cultural and historical resources and increase its attractiveness to visitors. These include marketing campaigns, the creation of thematic routes and the staging of cultural and sporting events, in order to stimulate a sustainable flow of tourists.

In addition to tourism and agri-food, there are projects concerning local handicrafts, with funding aimed at improving production techniques and product innovation, so as to make them even more competitive on national and international markets.

The NaturKosovo initiative is financed and promoted by AICS Tirana with the support of the Italian Embassy in Pristina and is implemented by Volontari nel Mondo RTM and CELIM Milano in collaboration with Utalaya Foundation, CAI – Italian Alpine Club, CNSAS – National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps, and A.I.T.R. – Italian Association for Responsible Tourism.