Promotion of unexplored tourist routes in the Bulgaria-Serbia border region

The National Tourist Cluster “Bulgarian Guide” has launched a project to increase the value of unexplored cultural and historical routes and tourist resources in the cross-border region of Bulgaria-Serbia. The data show that this destination is still less popular among tourists compared to other regions in both countries. For the period 2013-2017, in Bulgaria, on average, only 4% of all overnight stays in the region were realized. The situation is similar on the Serbian side of the border.

Within the project “Valorization and capitalization of unexplored natural, cultural and historical resources in the cross-border region Bulgaria-Serbia”, many activities and events are planned to solve this problem. Bulgarian and Serbian partners – National Tourist Cluster “Bulgarian Guide” (Bulgaria), ENECA (Serbia) and the Municipality of Vratsa (Bulgaria) have set the goal of creating the so-called generators of business models for sustainable use of the potential of natural and cultural resources in the border region, through the participation of local actors. It is planned to identify and analyze unexplored cultural, natural and historical sites in the border region of the two countries.

Activities are also planned to increase the sustainable use of identified tourist resources, e.g. on creating routes. Consultations will be held to formulate and resolve common problems with the participation of local actors.

The identified places and tourist services will be presented on the online map within the planned platform and application, where the developed tours will be distributed. The platform will promote responsible travel in the region, present leisure opportunities and selection of themed tours, and show videos about pilot tours. Within the project, a workshop will be organized on the topic of “Best practices in the development of sustainable tourism” and “QuesTour” approach. Cooperation between tourism organizations and local authorities is expected to increase in order to manage destinations more efficiently and develop attractive tourism products.

The “QuesTour” project (April 2020 – July 2021) will enable the practical use of created resources by organizing a Design Thinking competition for young people. The idea is to encourage young people (aged 16 to 29) from Serbia and Bulgaria to develop a joint tour with elements of natural, cultural and historical heritage. The winners will be presented at a special ceremony in Vratsa. A cross-border festival will also be organized, which will show the culture, customs and traditions of local communities on both sides of the border – folk music and dance, crafts, local dishes and much more.

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