COUNTRY: Albania

GIZ - Conservation of Agrobiodiversity in Rural Albania Programme (CABRA)

Development of a National Hiking System for Albania, including suggestions for the piloting of a hiking trail network for the Albanian Alps Region.



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.

Project Aim

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.

Services Provided

AGEG Tourism for Sustainability Consulting provided the following services:

  • Elaboration of an illustrated strategy and implementation concept for a national hiking system (Wanderleitsystem) for Albania and the pilot implementation of a professional hiking trail network for the Albanian Alps. Including e.g. the following:
  • Design and technical lead of participatory workshops with the leading stakeholders in tourism and protected areas management.
  • Mapping of key stakeholders involved in hiking trail and hiking tourism development on national and regional level (Albanian Alps).
  • National trail concept (Wanderleitsystem) including (1) trail standards; (2) categorization and classification (3) mapping and (4) management and maintenance and further development.
  • Components of the product hiking tourism for Albania and competitive tourism services related to the tourism product hiking.
  • Classification of the trails for the Albanian Alps region jointly with local experts, focusing particularly on the area of the designated National Park of the Alps and the adjacent Regional Nature Parks Shkrel and Nikaj Mertur.
  • Action plan for the pilot implementation in the Albanian Alps.