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Thursday, February 20, 2014
New Agency Has Amibitious Plans For Albanian Coast
NEWS19 FEB 14
Tare told Balkan Insight that the goal is to coordinate efforts between local and central government, local communities and civil society in order to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated.
“Albania ranks last among Mediterranean countries when it comes to the benefits that come from tourism to its economy, with little or no visits from cruise ships and few yacht marinas,” Tare said.
“Although parts of the coast have been destroyed, it still has the chance to apply a new philosophy on how to develop coastal areas, away from what is termed 'abusive' tourism toward a more sustainable model,” he added.
Tare says such a sustainable model would do away with the high-rises and condos that now litter Albania’s beaches, preserving the traditional architecture of coastal villages.
“The idea behind this agency is to bring in and apply all good international practices in terms of integrated coastal management, by coordinating all the chain of possible economic activities in this area in harmony with nature,” he said.
“Although this might sound like propaganda, I believe with the right model we can change the economic factors of coastal areas and raise the living standards of its inhabitants,” Tare added.
In 2014, the agency will open up five offices in coastal areas, concentrated in small town and villages. It plans to work in cooperation with local business to create a lifeguard system and install the Blue Flag programme for local beaches.
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label that has been awarded to more than 3,850 beaches and marinas in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.
The programme works towards the sustainable development of beaches and marinas through applying strict criteria on water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and other services.
Tare admits that his agency has few funds, and the challenges are not small, but believes that if they can gain people’s trust, donors and the government will step up their support.
“My past experience has taught me that small and concrete actions on the ground can change people’s perceptions and shake bureaucracy,” he concluded.