Local cuisine as tourism offer of cross-border region

Starting Date: 
Ending Date: 
Albania, Montenegro
Donor agency: 
Lead Partner: 
Regional Development Agency for Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije
Contracting Relations: 
ECOPartners for Sustainable Development-Project partner, on the Albanian side
Other partners: 
National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro; Puke Municipality
Detailed description of the project: 
Overall objective of this action is to enhance the competitiveness of the tourism sector by the economic valorisation of the cultural and natural heritage, while the specific objective is to include local gastronomy of cross-border area into overall tourism offer.  The aim is, to summarize, to represent local cultural heritage, represented in the local cuisine, in overall tourism offer, and to provide guests an insight in local traditions through local gastronomy. 
This aim will be achieved through activities grouped around three results:
Result 1: Traditional local recipes included in the offer of local tourism industry – the activities of this result are focused on proper research of old, traditional dishes authentic for the region, and their preservation and utilization in local restaurants and rural households offering tourism services. The aim is to revive some of the forgotten dishes and train local chefs and cooks in preparing them, so that these dishes can find their place in the menus of local hotels and restaurants. It is intended to select at least 30 old dishes, and to involve at least 50 local restaurants, hotels and rural households offering tourism services in chain of service providers who will act as treasurers of local gastronomy. Such restaurants will be branded in a way that will demonstrate to their guests the fact that they are offering specific, traditional, local dishes. The target group of these activities are, therefore, local restaurants, hotels and rural families. The project team will work closely with the target group, and will fine-tune the activities according to their needs and priorities. The outcome will be well branded and properly positioned local tourism industry, responsive to the needs of the local communities as well as of the tourists visiting, which will result in better incomes for this target group. 
Result 2: Thematic, gastronomy routes created. The activities in this group are gathered around the concept of creating tourism product that is focused on gastronomy. These activities are targeting local, rural households who produce specific, traditional products or prepare traditional dishes, whose conditions for providing services will be improved through improved tasting areas in their households. It is expected that 40 families will be involved in at least 4 gastronomy routes, and appropriate packaging and labelling of products will be provided to at least 30 families. The tourism products that will be introduced to tourism market are the actual gastronomy routes, and such routes currently do not exist in targeted region. Such routes will not only promote local gastronomy offer, but bring more tourism traffic to targeted region, and ensure increased incomes for the target groups. 
Result 3: Local gastronomy offer promoted and marketed. Promotion of local gastronomy is currently not done in targeted area, as gastronomy offer is not properly integrated in tourism offer. To ensure that project activities are sustainable, it will be necessary to conduct a wide promotional campaign. The intention is to develop promotional videos dedicated to local cuisine and gastronomy routes, to arrange a familiarization trip for specific international journalists specialized in gastro offer, to organize a gastro fair in targeted region, and to present local gastro offer at international tourism fair, as part of regular National tourism organisation activities, this time with specific focus on the local cuisine as cultural heritage of the region. Part of the activities will be dedicated to branding slow food providers in the region, as Slow Food network offers particular benefits and attracts additional attention among gastro tourists, and both countries have initiated activities in terms of development of slow food convivia. Target groups of this set of activities are tourists, tourism agencies as well as local service providers. 
Applicant and co-applicants in this action have appropriate background and experience for quality implementation of all proposed activities, and have implemented projects in past that ensure a good platform for implementation of this action. It is important to state that the mix of skills and experiences that each partner brings into this consortium is what will make transfer of know-how and learning beneficial and easy. Projects implemented by RDA BKP were mainly focusing on rural tourism and were designed to support the promotion of existing natural and cultural resources, to provide better living standards and increase incomes of rural population. Results achieved during implementation of agro tourism, cultural routes and regional branding of typical products projects in past provide good basis for the implementation of this Action. RDA is currently implementing CBC MNE-KS project where the main focus is on katuns and tourism services that could be provided in katuns, with special focus on traditional cuisine.  All of these initiatives address the issue of typical products, local cuisine, local customs and tradition and thus ensure a good base for the implementation of proposed Action. Eco Partners for Sustainable Development has just finished the implementation of a cross-border project Albania Kosovo where the focus was on the promotion of the Typical Products of the both areas of the border (Kukes region and Prishtina) as well as the identification of the local culinary, branding the local products and linked with the integrated chain of the promotion starting from the “farmer to the table” of restaurants and hotels. Furthermore, the identification of the typical products, handicrafts, attractive touristic sites and culinary has been carried out in a scientific way particularly on the typical products, Whereas the Municipality of Puka has been more involved in the infrastructure part of the tourism promotion. NTO MNE has a rich experience in tourism promotion activities.  In cooperation with Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, local stakeholders and other institutions NTO MNE raises awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and its valorisation in a sustainable way. Gastronomy tourism is very important part of the overall tourism offer in Montenegro, mostly has a traditional and historical aspect and tourists show significant interest for it, so it is existing potential for valorisation and improving the quality and diversification of gastronomy offer. NTO MNE will be supporting the Applicants and other Partners through its expertise in tourism development. It will be in charge of promotional activities, in particular developing and promotion of the gastronomy routes. It will be the key source and focal point for all the tourist-related information in the project.