ČAPLJINA, 11 January (FENA) – “Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Program between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro 2014-2020: The Endemic Path” (ePATH) project aims to create, through the promotion of natural (endemic species) and cultural values, joint tourist offers in three protected areas in these countries, presented on Monday at the premises of the Public Enterprise (PE) Nature Park Hutovo blato in Čapljina.
The project holder is PE Nature Park Hutovo blato with partners Makarski komunalac from the Republic of Croatia and the Public Enterprise for Marine Management of Montenegro. The partnership is aimed at strengthening and promoting three protected natural areas inhabited by many rare and endemic species of flora and fauna, namely Hutovo Blato Nature Park (BiH), Botanical Garden Kotišina (Croatia) and Solila Nature Reserve (Montenegro).
Director of PE Nature Park Hutovo blato, Nikola Zovko, said that the project started on November 1, 2020.
“The “ePATH” project will last for two years, and two months have already passed since its beginning, and now we need to engage a little more in the implementation of the activities that are planned. It is about developing a tourist offer based on natural potentials, especially endemic species. In addition, we will certainly constantly touch on the cultural and historical heritage, traditions and so on,” said Zovko.
He added that most activities are planned in the Hutovo Blato Nature Park through the project.
“We are talking about some five, six interventions, and it is mostly about the rehabilitation, adaptation and reconstruction of existing facilities, but there is also new equipment and facilities that will be arranged. As for what binds us all together, it is the educational part. In our country, the basis of everything is the Interpretation Center, it will also be in the Nature Reserve “Tivat Saline” in Montenegro, while Makarska will develop or arrange the Botanical Garden Kotišina. Afterwards, we will brand it and import it into one joint tourist offer,” Zovko pointed out.
The project improves a number of tourist facilities that support sensitive ecosystems, creates a common thematic trail dedicated to endemic species and promotes the preservation and appreciation of natural heritage.
During the implementation of the project, there will also been some works on the formation and promotion of a joint tourist offer of all three nature reserves “Endemic Trails” and organizing group visits, bird watching camps, visitor competitions, workshops for school children, development of mobile phone applications, development of promotional materials and similar activities.
The three listed locations in the cross-border area will be equipped with new technologies, new infrastructure will be developed and adapted, and a presentation of natural heritage through virtual reality will be installed, and the main target groups of the project are tourists, citizens, travel agencies and the education system.
The total project budget for all three partners is 1,540,375.03 euros, of which 1,309,319 euros is EU co-financing in the amount of 85 percent, while the remaining 15 percent is financed by project partners.
The project was approved for funding in the II Call for project proposals under the trilateral Interreg IPA Cross-border Cooperation Program between Croatia, BiH and Montenegro under Program Axis 3: “Contribution to tourism development and protection of cultural and natural heritage” to strengthen and diversify the tourist offer through cross-border cooperation and improving the management and sustainable use of cultural and natural heritage.