UNDP, the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, and Prishtina Alpine Club commit to collaboration in support of Kosovo’s ecotourism and inclusive economic development through initiation of a new hiking route in Gollak/Goljak
December 5, 2022
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kosovo, in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in Kosovo, the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, and Prishtina Alpine Club inaugurated a new hiking route in Gollak/Goljak, thus marking the initiation of joint efforts towards promoting ecotourism and sustainable development in the region.
On this occasion, Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative, Liburn Aliu, the Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, and Kay Kurimoto, Second Secretary of Embassy of Japan in Kosovo, went for a walk in the new hiking trail which has now been marked with signposts and digitally visualized for the purpose of informing local and international tourists. Jonas Westerlund, Ambassador of Sweden in Kosovo, also joined the walk to show his support to ecotourism initiatives in Kosovo.
“Kosovo has great potential for ecotourism thanks to its beautiful mountains and rich cultural heritage, with great opportunities for outdoor activities. Investing in ecotourism contributes to inclusive growth, local livelihoods and creation of green jobs. Through mapping of hiking routes in this region, we can make them accessible to local and international visitors and provide important information for strengthening databases and promoting sustainable tourism,” Maria Suokko said.
Kay Kurimoto from the Embassy of Japan in Kosovo highlighted the role of suburban areas in a country’s economic development. “In order to boost the regional economy, I think that ecotourism could be a legitimate sector to support. It is usually located in a suburban area and could produce a variety of job opportunities for the locals. Kosovo has many places which offer beautiful scenery combined with diverse cultural heritage and tradition. I look forward to discovering more of Kosovo through ecotourism,” Ms. Kurimoto added.
Liburn Aliu, the Minister of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure, stated that “Data is critical to improving the tourism industry, especially after being hit hard by the recent crisis. This makes the need for accurate and timely data even more important. Now with UNDP’s “Mapping hiking routes” activity, we have the tools and the information we need for creating a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector.”
Given Gollak/Goljak is one of the least explored areas in Kosovo, the mapping of the hiking routes and data collection in this region, helps visualize nature, attractions, and tourist offerings, while raising awareness, educating, and informing local and international tourists on the region’s recreational activities. Importantly, by enriching the database of the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure on hikes, cultural, ethnographical, and archaeological explorations, this activity helps create a system that informs the tourism policy, supports job creation, and enables tourists to experience local resources for recreation, sport, wellbeing and connectedness with nature, especially amongst Kosovo youth and women.
Mapping of hiking routes in Gollak/Goljak region is part of the “Growth through Green and Just Recovery from COVID-19” project, supported by the Government of Japan, which aims to boost the overall recovery of Kosovo's tourism sector in the post-COVID-19 era and accelerate its path towards climate resilient and just transition.
For more information, please contact:
Burbuqe Dobranja, Communications Associate UNDP
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Danijela Mitić, Communication Associate UNDP
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