Thank you for taking the time to learn about Balkan Green. Like you, many international Travelers have discovered the Balkans and want to know more. And though we welcome that discovery, it is important to remember that tourism is big business. When done right, this business has enormous cross-sector potential to contribute to economic growth, diversification, poverty reduction, biodiversity conservation, and natural resources management.
The Balkan Green Initiative has been established to frame this discussion and pinpoint the solutions that keep responsible tourism at the forefront of the region’s priorities.
Sustainable tourism practices create viable long-term strategies for success, create linkages to other economic sectors, typically employ women and youth, create opportunities for small entrepreneurs, have low start-up costs with few barriers to entry, promote cultural pride and create awareness, and increase a sense of ownership. However, the level of sustainability in the Balkans does not meet global standards or the expectations of responsible, discerning travelers, who weigh such factors when choosing destinations to visit.
To address these issues and work towards more sustainable tourism development, we have established the Balkan Green Initiative. Balkan Green is comprised of carefully selected representatives from Albania (Terena.al), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Green Visions Ecotours), Montenegro (HYVÄ Coaching & Consulting), North Macedonia (Mustseedonia) and Slovenia (GoodPlace). We are in the process of including representatives from the rest of the Balkan countries.
With this partnership of key professionals working on the development of sustainable tourism in the region, our aim is to be a strong, reliable, and professional network. We will strengthen synergies and help align sustainable development with globally recognized standards and acknowledged methods — thus improving business sophistication.
Each of the partners focus on the country they represent and bring their knowledge, skills, and experiences into the network. As well, they each are committed to learning from one another and jointly addressing regional issues on sustainable development of tourism. Moreover, Balkan Green has been assigned to become the official, exclusive full representative of Green Destinations and Good Travel Program in the region.
Our cooperation and joint advocacy will help us increase cooperation across all stakeholder levels with the aim to bring up-to-date knowledge, share international experience, and cooperate to tackle challenges on development of sustainable tourism in the region, reduce barriers to cross-border trade and investment, and improve and expand market integration and linkages. Each partner is a “Representative Body” for Green Destinations in their country, which gives them the possibility and responsibility to work with destinations and businesses as they develop sustainable tourism practices through education, coaching, advisory services, and certification on sustainable tourism.
Rather than a “project,” it is more accurate to think of Balkan Green as a long-term development process for the entire region. With this digital platform we aim to enhance regional sustainable tourism cooperation and communication, sustainability education, development, monitoring, and benchmarking in local languages, including visual content, green product development, and marketing.
Our vision and desire is not just to raise awareness and create knowledge about “the why, the who, and the how” for responsible tourism and improved cooperation across all levels. Balkan Green’s lens is focused on the region’s needs to more clearly and objectively measure improvements in sustainable small business development, industry standards, and destination management.