The Green Paths of Pirin, East Macedonia and Thrace Project was implemented in 2007 in the regions of two national parks – Pirin NP in Bulgaria and the NP of East Macedonia and Thrace in Greece. It was funded by the PHARE 2004 Programmefor Cross-border Cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece, budget line BG2004/016-782.01.03-03. The lead beneficiary was the Pirin Tourism Forum, in partnership with the Greek NGO of Border Region Delta – Rhodopi and the Pirin National Park Directorate.
Project duration: 12 months
Project value: 166 135.97 EUR, fully granted by the EC.
Main goal: Create conditions for the development of sustainable forms of tourism in the region of the two national parks and set the basis for a new and non-traditional cross-border tourism destination.
- A database of the available tourist resources, services and attractions on both sides of the border was created.
- Two exchange trips were organized for representatives of the target groups on both sides of the border (employees of the two national parks, municipalities, NGOs, cultural institutions, tourist business, etc.). Many new contacts and opportunities for future partnerships were established, and the participants got acquainted with the tourism supply of their neighbours.
- A Guidebook of Tourism was published in Bulgarian and Greek language in support of those willing to develop sustainable tourism.
- Small tourism infrastructure was developed for the needs of Pirin National Park: an Information and Control Point for the Bezbog Park Region in the village of Dobrinishte, and finalization of two tourist trails on the territory of the Park – Mozgovitsa – Bashliitsa and Vlahinska River – Chernata Voda (restoration of a bridge, strengthening of a steep terrain, organization of rest places and information boards).
- Three tourist programmes were developed as a first step towards the development of a new tourist destination: Nature as Fun (for families with children); Miraculous Waters (for students) and Contrasts of Wild Nature (for visitors with special interests towards wildlife watching). The programmes were tested with representatives of Bulgarian and Greek media and tour operators; special leaflets were printed for their promotion.
- A set of advertisement materials was produced for the better marketing of the destination: series of postcards and posters; 12 leaflets for the tourist attractions of the two areas; a joint travel guide and image brochures for the national parks.
- A Development Plan for the destination was elaborated for the next five years, in order to secure the sustainability of project results.