MEDF with Local Action Groups of Pec, Decani, Klina and Istog in period from 28 to 30 June organized a study visit to Montenegro and Albania. Participants had opportunity to see these countries develop and operate alternative tourism. The hosts of Montenegro, the Regional Development Agency Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije made the choice of good practices of alternative tourism in northern Montenegro. In Petnica, participants were gests in a rural household that offering services of accommodation and traditional food for tourists. Then, they visited the association of craft "Valuable hands". In Mojkovac was visited a point of cultural route. Participants were interested in the preparation of cultural routes as an opportunity to emphasis part of history, tradition and culture of a municipality or region that is not geared only to tourists but to locals. While visiting the honey producer Milija Madzhgalj participants heard about the opportunities offered by branding the products. Branded and well packed they are particularly interesting for tourists. At the end of the first day, participants had the pleasure to visit the national park Biogradska Gora and enjoy the beauty of one of four remaining rainforests in Europe.
The second day for participants began in eco Katun “Vrnjak” at an altitude of 1700 meters on the slopes of Mount Bjelasica. Owner Darko Bulatovic, share with participants his experience of 15 years of operation of the family business in tourism. "The people who deal with tourism in Kosovo would advise first to realize that tourism is not a hotel bed and restaurant, tourism is much more than that. Kosovo has resources that can at best quality way to offer the western market, and it is untouched wild beauty in the Kosovo Mountains and lakes and on the basis of active tourism several days offer. You shouldn’t offered a one-day vacation when you can offer longer one which has hiking in the Kosovo mountains, rafting rivers in Kosovo, riding on horseback in the hills of Kosovo and possibly stay in authentic neighborhoods like this eco Khatun who have own tradition. Western tourists also want a good hotels and restaurants, but almost 80% of their needs and wishes is alternative tourism. All inclusive packages need to be offer to the western tourists that begins with taking guests out there where they arrived, airport or elsewhere, then food, accommodation and return to their transport. It is the only way to attract foreign guest and believe that by it you will come easier if you offer them nature instead the hotels you have available, "says Darko Bulatovic.
The next destination of the participants was the village household Puletik which deals with tourism in the village Lipovo. They are part of the "cheese route" and their product, cheese is also branded and offered to tourists. At the full table with traditional food prepared by the housewife Milijana participants discussed experiences and cost of dealing with this business.
Rexhep Rexhepi, President of LAG from Klina and participant of the study visit, believes that the experiences of Montenegro can be used in Kosovo. "Lipovo was something that fascinated me, and I believe our entire group, these experiences can be developed in our places. We are very pleased with what we saw with the hospitality that was provided by our hosts. The greater involvement in development of rural tourism is needed and we will have such examples in our area,"said Rexhepi.
Then, study visit moved to Albania. Over Shkodra, in the natural resort Rasma the participants had opportunity to hear how it works a different type of tourism. They met with the Mayor of Shkrelj municipality and from the organization VIS Albania they heard about alternative tourism in Shkrelj and Vermosht. In Shkodra, the participants visited the fortress Rozafa and study visit ended with a visit to the restaurant Mrizii Zanave where chatting with one of the owners learned how the restaurant functioning and what is the path to success. "When we started three years ago," remembered one of the owners and chef Anton Prenga, the motto by which develop the restaurant was '0 km food ', which means, everything that we need to prepare meals we provide by farmers who live and produced in this environment." Anton applies the whole experience he gained in restaurants in Italy yet despite modern elements, trying to keep the charm of tradition. This is another proof of multiplication of the benefits from tourism.
For Mirishane Krasniqi, coordinator of the organization of women Rnja, study visit really worth because the place visited in Montenegro and Albania were good examples. "As I watched these examples I become interested to start to work in tourism because really impressed me a lot of things such as preparation of traditional foods, incredible hospitality and many other things," says Krasniqi.
Participants were satisfied with what had the opportunity to see and hear. Part of the experience under them can be applied in the development of alternative tourism in Kosovo, especially in the Western Kosovo.