Even though Albania still presents a white spot on the map of the European tourism market and is struggling with a negative image, its already being visited by some hiking and trekking tourists, but mainly organized by international tour operators, while the individual travel market is not really taking off due to still missing visitor information systems what is of particular importance for the hiker. Especially the Albanian Alps mountain region is quite well known on the international market, due to the promotional news, articles and gained international recognition on the tourism market through the cross border GIZ supported project “Peaks of the Balkans” which was awarded by the WTTC with the price “Destination Sweardship” in 2013. Albania has great potential to become a leading mountain tourism destination but needs to further develop and professionalize the tourism product hiking and its related services. What is lacking is a joint strategy and a strategic and systematic approach (Wanderleitsystem) to planning and further developing Albania’s hiking and trekking infrastructure, thus developing Albania into a competitive international hiking and mountain tourism destination. Therefore, a strong strategy for the development, mapping and organization of hiking and trekking trails in Albania needs to be adopted on national level and regulated by guiding principles like those in European and neighboring countries such as Montenegro. A pilot implementation for the mapping, classification and organization of a first professional trail network is foreseen in the Albanian Alps.
The aim of the assignment was to develop, jointly with key tourism stakeholders, a guiding framework for the establishment of a national hiking system (Wanderleitsystem); based on the German, Austrian and Swiss hiking system, focusing on pilot implementation in the Albanian Alps.
AGEG Tourism for Sustainability Consulting provided the following services: