CASE STUDY: Tourism Development in the Western Balkans

Western Balkans Geotourism MapGuide Portal

Western Balkans Mapguide website is a regional portal designed by and co-branded with National Geographic. The MapGuide is the first joint effort in the region to promote the Western Balkans as a single destination by highlighting the rich natural and cultural wealth of the region. The project was supported by USAID through RCI project and was implemented by the National Geographic Maps Division and the Western Balkans Geotourism Stewardship Council (WBGSC).

Regional Tourism Promotion: National Geographic Supplement

RCI has developed a plan for a special supplement to be circulated with the National Geographic Traveler Magazine (NGT).  This supplement would showcase the unique features and characteristics of the Western Balkans countries. 

The NGT supplement will include sites and items from the following themes:

NG Western Balkans supplement.jpg
  1. Historical / world heritage sites & ruins

  2. Unique villages / towns

  3. Churches, cathedrals, monasteries & mosques

  4. Art & museums

  5. Festivals & celebrations

  6. Native music / musical instruments

  7. Outdoor markets / specialty stores / boutiques

  8. Distinctive foods or dishes, cafes & restaurants

  9. Unique crafts wood, glass, fabric, etc.

  10. Beaches, lakes, parks & gardens

  11. Resorts & spas, b&b’s, agri-tourism

  12. Outdoor activities (hiking, biking, skiing) outfitters & guides

  13. Wildlife birds, fish, animals, etc.

This is a co-funding collaboration between RCI and the countries of the region (USAID Missions/Projects, National Tourism Agencies, etc.) The supplement is scheduled for distribution in the Spring of 2010

Authentic Quality Mark

RCI is introducing a Quality Mark within SE Europe, to encourage and guide authentic accommodations such as small hotels and guest houses within each country in the region. The program focuses on improving product quality, business practices, market readiness and profile, and has a major emphasis on responsible tourism. This will support sustainable competitive tourism sectors in each country. The first Quality Mark programs are in Albania and Macedonia. There will be country-specific Authentic Quality Marks all reflecting the same disciplines and standards across the region, providing recognizable and credible endorsements for travelers.