The Center for Protection and Research of Birds from Podgorica in cooperation with project partners NGO North Land, Berane, Regional Tourist Organization Sandzak, Novi Pazar and the Association of Citizens Jadovnik, Prijepolje, since February 2021 implements the “Hoo Hoo project – Creation of owl and other wildlife experiences”.
This September was very dynamic and interesting for the project team because in over 10 days of field work they realized individual meetings with key stakeholders in the field of tourism in eight municipalities where the project is implemented (Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Berane, Petnjica and Rozaje in Montenegro, as well as Prijepolje, Sjenica and Tutin in Serbia). A conversation was held with more than 40 service providers in this area about their offer, the challenges they face and the possibilities for upgrading the wildlife tourist offer.
Although quite underdeveloped in terms of tourism, the border region between Montenegro and Serbia abounds in natural heritage and the offer of rural households, which are the ideal basis for the development of itineraries within the Hoo Wildlife Experience destination, as agreed to be the official name of the future cross-border wildlife brand.
After analyzing the collected data from the field, a draft of the itinerary will be prepared, which will be defined in May next year based on a joint decision of all parties involved. A company with experience from Slovenia was selected for the development of the itinerary, the preparation of a Manual for the interpretation of wildlife tourism, the development of a map of the area and the international promotion of the destination.
“Within the field work, we managed to identify the trail that will be the central part of the itinerary and which will directly connect the two countries within the itinerary. Work is currently ongoing to assess its’ adequacy and safety, as well as to specify the needs for small-scale interventions that will be implemented at a later stage of the project. Also, so far, guides have been partially identified and licensed, but also those who are interested in obtaining a license within the project and to be specially trained to lead wildlife tours in accordance with the developed itineraries in their municipalities. As part of the project, through four trainings that will be organized on both sides of the border, they will be trained to observe birds, mammals and other animals, as well as botany, especially for wild flowers, medicinal herbs, mushroom picking, etc. The first training for medicinal herbs is planned to be held at the end of October in Montenegro, and in November we will have a training for bird watching in Serbia “- Lejla Abdić, project manager.
The goal of the “Hu Hu project – Creation of Owl and Other Wildlife Experiences” is to enhance the development of tourism based on the natural heritage of wild plant and animal species in the cross-border area between Serbia and Montenegro. The value of the project is 262,028.98 euros and duration of the project is 24 months.