The regional online forum “Western Balkans Tourism in the spotlight” was held on the 19th of May 2021 and reunited 50 stakeholders from tourisme sector in WB6.This forum was the occasion to share best touristic practices in the region and to learn from one another.
Indeed, the touristic sector is at stake in the region and the resources made available need to be exploited in the best way possible. In that regard, tourism can be seen and observed in different perspectives: memorial tourism was at the heart of the discussion since it is following both Monumental 9 and CulTours project but besides that, natural tourism was also presented as a strong asset that generally speaking, that Western Balkans dispose of; lastly, sustainable tourism was also mentioned as a key factor for development.
The speakers were invited to talk about their own country and how tourism was working for them, they would explain what the tourists were looking for, how they were working closely with touristic agencies and how they would align their offer with the overall demand.
The common idea shared among all the participants lies in the fact that the Balkans do have a rich history that deserve to be open to the world but in order to do that, awareness, and consciousness about this part of history need to be risen. On top of that and as mentioned by other participants, Balkan’s countries are also a beauty of nature that should be explored so the combination of “educational” purpose by learning about history along with the possibility to go for a hike in the mountains, to go kayaking in the river or to simply walk in the forest deserve to be on any tourist’s bucket list.
To reflect on different aspects of tourism, the forum was also the occasion to obtain some advice and insights from a representative from the Regional Tourism office of Normandy region, who spoke about the projects of Normandy and presented the current activities.
The event had a second aim, to promote the Cultours mobile application. This new application developed aims to offer three significant tours, including the visit of war memorials, so the tourists can learn about this forgotten part of history.
Finally, developing such an activity is also a way to build bridges and to come closer to reconciliation, in a region that has suffered a lot in the past, while working as a united team, where all the organizations established in the Balkans will be playing a significant role.