Regional development agency for Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije has signed a contract a week ago for a new project funded by EU, through CBC program with Kosovo. Project is called ‘Rural tourism for economic development of cross border area of Kosovo and Montenegro’, and will start on January 15, 2016. The applicant is regional development agency, and partner on Montenegrin side is municipality Berane. On Kosovo side the applicant is Initiative for Agriculture Development of Kosovo from Vucitrn/Vushtri, and partner is an NGO Golden Honey from Decan/e. Total value of the project is 529000 euros, while 258000 euros is allocated for Montenegrin side of the border.
Overall objective of the project is socio economic development of the programme area by fostering cooperation and joint initiatives, while specific objective is promotion of economic development of the programming area through economic valorization of its tourist and sustainable agriculture and forestry potentials. Results that are intended to be achieved through this project are:
Result 1. Improved infrastructure for tourism development in katuns.
Result 2: Increased capacities of rural population for tourism services in katuns
Result 3: Unique values of katuns as drivers for agriculture and tourism development promoted
Concrete activities that will be implemented through this project are diverse. The first step will be to design a nice and attractivebiking route that will pass through both Kosovo and Montenegro. This trail will enter Montenegro somewhere in the area of Cakor, and will connect numerous katuns all the way to Hajla, where the trail will enter Kosovo side again. In spring RDA will engage collaborators who are familiar wih mountain biking and with this geographic area who will propose the best trail option having in mind criteria such as connecting as many as possible katuns, natural attractions, areas that are under-valorized in terms of tourism. After deciding the exact trail route, next step will be working with population in katuns along this trail. 45 solar systems will be procured and delivered to households in katuns. It is expected that many more households will be interested in solar systems, so the project team will develop series of criteria based on which decision will be made on who will get the systems – priority will be given to families who did not receive such assistance in past, families who have more cattle, families that have young family members, families interested in providing tourism services. Aside from solar systems, rural families will also benefit from capacity building in terms of agriculture and tourism, and intention is also to select 5 katuns where camps will be developed along with resting points for tourists where locals will be able to serve traditional meals and sell their products. The plan is also to implement numerous promotional activities such as develop promotional brochures, biodiversity maps, web portal dedicated to tourism in katuns and villages. The key aim is to use this project for valorization of potentials of the territory that is neglected and insufficiently developed despite being very attractive, and to improve basic living conditions for local population and provide the with the opportunity to generate additional incomes through tourism services. Locals in katuns will be able to offer home-made, traditional food, their products such as cheese, milk, cream, aromatic herbs, but they can also provide other services such as rental of horses etc. In case this project achieves this aim, more young people would be motivated to return to katuns, which would have a long-term impact on overall development of this region.