The development of a sustainable tourism can contribute to raising awareness and consciousness of nature values and create public support for the preservation of these natural systems. Under certain conditions, tourism can also be a pioneering poverty reduction mechanism for communities living near touristic areas. The growth of sustainable tourism today does not only reflect environmental realities, but also a desire by tourists themselves to embrace eco-tourism or also called the green tourism.
On this topic, on November24, the First Sustainable Development Conference, held in Vlora, focused on building a Public Private Partnership for Sustainable Tourism Development, the Impact of Rural Areas for Sustainable Development, the Role of Policy Orientations and Policies fiscal as an incentive instrument, along with challenges for the future and concrete cases and projects in the analysis.
The Mayor of Vlora, Mr. Leli referred in his speech the Municipality of Vlora as a guide towards sustainable tourism development, while Prof. Dr. Mihallaq Qirjo, director of the Regional Environmental Center (REC) Albania presented to the participants at the conference the potentials of the wetlands for the sustainable tourism development, referring to the Kune-Vain lagoon model, which offers a variety of ecosystem values and services valid not only for the community living next to it, due to the favorable geographic position, the Mediterranean climate, water resources and the natural landscape.
During 2018-2019, REC Albania will develop and implement awareness raising campaigns at national and local level, as well as organizing specific school activities related to climate change adaptation and the advantages of implementing ecosystem-based recovery practices.
Global climate models predict a reduction in precipitation levels, leading to increased lagoon salinity with detrimental effects on the fishing sector. By 2100, the rate of sea level rise will be higher (up to 61 centimeters) leading to erosion growth and constant loss of habitat within the lagoon system of Kune-Vain. However, the relationship between tourism and wetlands is complex and needs approaches based on natural principles by building new balances between man and nature.
During the summer, the lagoon is visited on average by about 100 tourists per month, focusing only on beach tourism.
There is no enterprise oriented in ecotourism and local community members have not received any training on ecotourism development or the promotion of small enterprises that support sustainable tourism development. The rapid population growth and the poor economic situation of residents living in the area has led to an increase in pressure in the lagoon leading to unplanned changes in the so-called buffer zone surrounding the lagoon.
* The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) has approved funding for the implementation of the project “Building the resilience of Kune-Vaini”. The project aims to increase the capacities of government and local communities living near the KVLS to adapt to climate change using an integrated set of adaptation interventions, including an ecosystem-based approach (EbA).