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New Opportunities for Safe Winter Adventures

Project Title
New Opportunities for Safe Winter Adventures
Type of Contract/Category
Grant contract
IPA Component/ (national or regional) Programming year
IPA 2, Cross border cooperation: Republic of North Macedonia – Republic of Albania, allocations 2016-2017
Lead applicant and co-applicants
– Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia Red Cross Branch Organisation – Ohrid, coordinator, Contact: Mr.Antonio Dodevski, – Alpine club PATAGONIA Ohrid Republic of North Macedonia, non-governmental organisation (Sport Club) – Debrca Municipality Republic of North Macedonia Municipality (Local Authority) – Municipality of Gramsh, Republic of Albania Municipality (Local Authority)

Cross border region of North Macedonia and Albania with its rich natural and cultural heritage represent a strong potential for tourism development. Adventure tourism is the fastest growing sector in tourism industry in the last decades in the world. In recent years many tourist products were created and developed attracting large number of tourists in our country, especially in narrow region of National Parks. Basic infrastructure was established through marking and signposting of mountain trails, small accommodation and hospitality facilities in the rural areas, offering various activities: biking, hiking, paragliding, climbing, camping etc. Analysis made within the previous Project and experiences gained during its implementation, indicate increased interest for winter activities in the high mountain areas. One of the biggest drawbacks for extension of tourist season during winter is the lack of mountain infrastructure (mountain trails, huts etc.) and efficient system for risk management in winter adventure tourism. Moreover, for increasing the safety and management of risks, a Mountain Rescue Service is developed through IPA CBC Programme MK-AL, within the Project “Ohrid Lake Region – Safe Destination for Adventure Travel. This Service has already established close cooperation with relevant institutions, especially with the Ministry of Interior and their special forces and helicopter unit. Due to the importance of the region as a world natural heritage, protected from UNESCO, the development of winter tourism through sustainable forms and a minimal impact on the environment should be a key strategy of the region.

Abstract (short project summary)

The Action is designed to further promote socio-economic development of the wider Ohrid-Prespa cross border region through sustainable tourism development, with particular attention to creating business opportunities both for the urban and rural areas of the wider region by diversification of the tourist offer and promotion of high safety standards in tourism. With a set of proposed infrastructural improvements, product development and promotion, capacity building measures and strengthened cross border stakeholder cooperation new safe tourism products in Ohrid–Prespa CBC region (municipalities of Ohrid, Struga, Resen, Pogradec and Gramsh) will be developed, as well as mountain tourism products that will open new economic opportunities for the rural municipalities of Debarca and Gramsh throughout the season. More specifically, the Action will address the problem of a limited season to the summer months and the need for a more balanced and inclusive development of the wider cross border area around Lake Ohrid, by bringing the adjacent municipalities of Debarca and Gramsh to the municipalities of Ohrid and Pogradec. The Ohrid-Prespa region within the boundaries of the cross-border nature reserve is currently in great focus by different initiatives, supported by national and international donors. Our aim is to bring into the picture adjacent areas which have great unexplored potential for tourism development as an answer to the need to diversify their mainly agricultural economy and provide opportunities for the locals which will stop continuous outmigration to the urban areas and abroad. Thus, the diversified offer in terms of content, season and territory will lead to increased number of tourists and their extended stay and spending.

As such, the proposed Action New Opportunities for Safe Winter Adventures contributes to the global objectives of the call for proposal (CoP) to stimulate a balanced, inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in the cross- border area, it is in line with the thematic priority 1. Encouraging tourism, culture and natural heritage and aims to contribute to the specific objective of the CoP 1. To develop the potential of tourism by promoting cultural heritage and values.

Final beneficiary
– Domestic and foreign tour operators; – All kinds of tourism service providers in the wider Ohrid-Prespa cross border region; – Domestic and foreign tourist engaged in winter adventure activities in the region; – Local communities of Ohrid-Prespa cross border region.
Action location/s
Republic of North Macedonia, Southwest region, National Park Galichica and municipalities of: Ohrid, Debrca, Resen and Demir Hisar Republic of Albania, Korcha and Elbasan regions, National Park Prespa and municipalities of: Pogradec and Gramsh
Overall objective: to increase economic prospects of wider Ohrid-Prespa region by promoting safe winter adventure travel.

Specific objectives:

1. Development and promotion of new safe winter adventure tourism products.

2. Increasing the capacities for efficient winter mountain rescue operations.


1.1.1 Marking a long distance trail.

1.1.2 Restoration of mountain hut in village of Brezani, in Deabarca municipality.

1.1.3 Restoration of the mountain road leading from mountain hut in v. Brezani to the long distance trail.

1.1.4 Establishing an Adventure Park in Galichica.

1.2.1 Signposting of the cave Jaorec near v. Brezani.

1.2.2 Setting a wastewater treatment plant for the Galicica Mountain Hut.

1.2.3 Setting a monitoring system for visitors in NP Galichica.

1.3.1 Developing winter activities: winter hiking, snow shoeing, ski touring etc.

1.3.2  Developing promotional instruments: guidebook, maps, mobile application and web site.

1.3.3 Workshops and trainings with tourist service providers.

1.4.1. Various capacity building measures, workshops and meetings throughout the project


2.1.1 Purchasing of vehicles for increasing the capacities of beneficiaries in order to support newly established infrastructure.

2.1.2  Purchasing of specialized off-road vehicles for winter rescue operations.

2.1.3  Purchasing of specialized winter rescue equipment.

2.1.4 Purchasing specialized equipment for the helicopter rescue for the needs of the Ministry of Interior.


2.2.1 Training of mountain rescuers in Albania according to ICAR recommendations.

2.2.2 Training for rescuers in existing Mountain Rescue Service to use new specialized equipment and vehicles.

2.3.1 Creating work-group for simplified border crossing procedures in case of rescue operations in Albania.


1.1  Needed infrastructure for new winter tourist adventure products is provided.

1.2  Models for sustainable use of natural resources in tourism development are demonstrated.

1.3 New winter adventure products are developed and promoted, creating new business opportunities for tourism service providers.

1.4  Existing cross border platforms for tourism development are strengthened.

2.1 Needed specialized rescue equipment and vehicles are provided.

2.2 Mountain rescuers are trained and aware to use new specialized equipment and vehicles.

2.3 Procedures for efficient cross border mountain rescue operations are agreed between relevant institutions.

Facts & Figures

The key facts figures relevant to the project:

  •   Project duration: 36 months
  •   Start date of the project: 01.11.2019
  •   End date of the project: 31.10.2022


  •   Cost of the action:  692.000 €
  •   EU contribution: 588.200 €
  •   EU contribution percentage: 85%
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