Nature Based Tourism and Environmental Conservation in Montenegro


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A report I did for UNDP in Montenegro a few years back. Still quite relevant today.

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Nature Based Tourism and Environmental Conservation in Montenegro

  1. 1. Sustainabledevelopment ofNature BasedTourism andEnvironmentalConservation inMontenegroReport on the potentialestablishment of aninstitutional Center forOutdoor Industries andEducationTony Karzen for UNDPMontenegro
  2. 2. IntroductionThis report establishes the potential contribution of the Outdoor Industry, (nature based tourism,educational programs, skills training and certification programs, et al.), to the sustainability of theeconomy and environment in Montenegro and more specifically the need to establish a unitingorganization to ensure that potential to contribute is capitalized upon. With a wealth of naturalresources, Montenegro has the potential to become a top destination for adventurous/nature basedactivities which include but are not limited to; Hiking, Mountain biking, Climbing; Kayaking;Orienteering; Road cycling; Bouldering; Caving; Canoeing; Diving; Kite surfing; Paragliding; Skiing;Snowboarding; Nordic Walking; White water rafting and Windsurfing.The report assesses the current situation in Montenegro and what steps are necessary to maximize itspotential. The assessment is a result of interviews with relevant stakeholders, (MountaineeringAssociation, Cycling Association, Ministry of Tourism, National Tourism Organization, and various CivilSociety Organizations). The report also takes into consideration best case practice examples fromaround the world, (New Zealand, UK, Australia, The United States and Canada).With the combination of these two sources of information, a clear picture of what is needed inMontenegro becomes evident. Specifically, the lack of central coordination for outdoor related tourismdevelopment, management of the relationship of that development to environmental conservation, andweakness in outdoor education programs are major obstacles to effective and sustainable development.As such, there is a need to establish such an organization through which all subsectors of the outdoorindustry can benefit.A “Centre for Outdoor Industry and Education” would be able to centralize coordination, management,and development and minimize the lack of organizational capacity that exists throughout the variousactivities related organizations within the sector. This organization would be developed so as to providesustainable Nature Based Tourism development through sectored destination management,organization of educational programs, provision of awards, (certifications), for cross-training of guides,and particularly through establishing international partnerships for business, research, and any otherviable activity. Furthermore, this organization would, (in time as a multiplier effect), develop the abilityto provide assistance in policy development in the areas of conservation, education, safety, tourismdevelopment, youth activation, and others.Background StatementThe concept of protecting wild lands for their inherent natural beauty, cultural and biologicalsignificance was realized in 1872 with the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the worlds firstprotected area. Since then, people have visited parks around the world to experience wilderness andpay homage to natural sites and icons. This is the essence of what is termed "nature-based tourism".Recently, with increasing appreciation of nature and heightened awareness of declining biodiversityworldwide, nature-based tourism has evolved as a rapidly growing sector of a globally significantindustry.In Southeast Europe nowhere has this fact attracted more attention than Montenegro.Montenegro is blessed by a wealth of biodiversity and natural resources that is capped by the existenceof the UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Park Durmitor. With this wealth of natural resources,Montenegro has the potential to become a top destination for outdoor/nature based activities which
  3. 3. include but are not limited to; Hiking, Mountain biking, Climbing; Kayaking; Orienteering; Road cycling;Bouldering; Caving; Canoeing; Diving; Kite surfing; Paragliding; Skiing; Snowboarding; Nordic Walking;White water rafting and Windsurfing.In an effort to build upon the established strategy to enhance environmental protection and developnature based tourism in Montenegro, UNDP has commissioned a report to assess the need andpotential for establishing a Center for Outdoor Industry and Education. Based upon the strategies forMountain Tourism development, (“Program Razvoja Planinskog Turizma u Crnoj Gori”, Ministry ofTourism 2005) with supporting evidence from additional strategies, (Oliver Bennett “Review ofMountain Tourism Potential”, 2005 UNDP, “Sustainable winter & summer tourism in northern & CentralMontenegro” 2005 RBF-UNDP, “Strategic Framework For Development Of Sustainable Tourism InNorthern & Central Montenegro”, Montenegro Ministry of Tourism-UNDP 2004, and the “HumanResources Development Strategy for the Tourism Sector in Montenegro”, GTZ 2006). As well, theMontenegrin Tourism Master Plan, while still undergoing final revisions, is expected to more support tothe area of nature based, (“Outdoor”), tourism. The plan as it is states, within the executive summary, arelevant weakness for Montenegro, “The country lacks… a commercial product and adequately qualifiedspecialist personnel”. Furthermore, The plan makes numerous references to the need for Montenegroto develop “specialized” forms of tourism with further references to wilderness hiking and biking, (aswell as other related activities), as viable forms that have potential to be developed, particularly in theNorth of the country.These statements are reinforced when put into the context of Montenegro’s ranking on the WorldEconomic Forum “Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report”, 2008. This report shows thatMontenegro ranks 76th in Human Resources and a lowly 129th in Price Competitiveness, (despite a #1ranking for affinity for travel and tourism). The tie between these two is substantial. The current offer ofMontenegro has been built upon discount “sun and sea” tourism which requires low human capital, anddoes not require a high quality variety of product offerings. This, of course, is not a sustainable path.Robert McIntosh & Shashikant Gupta, authors of “Tourism Principles, Practices, Philosophies”, state,“Tourism is very sensitive to the quality of recreational use of natural resources, and unless highstandards are maintained, a depreciation of demand will invariably result. Thus, ecological andenvironmental considerations are vital”, and, “Tourism development must be guided by carefullyplanned policy, international in concept and interdisciplinary in its creation. A sound development policycan have the happy result of a growing tourist business and the preservation of the natural and culturalresources which attracted the visitors in the first place.”Within this context the Ministry of Tourism and UNDP have begun to provide immediate support tonature based/outdoor tourism starting with the Hiking and Biking sectors. An institutional assessment oftwo associations, Mountaineering and Cycling, was necessary to begin this process and has beencompleted along with a plan of action aimed at building capacity. These institutions are seen ascornerstones to nature based/outdoor tourism development as they are natural stewards and standardbearers of this sector. However, to build the outdoor/nature based tourism sector as a whole,enhancing these two institutions is seen to be not enough. While critical in improving their areas offocus, they are too narrow in scope to address the needs of the sector as a whole. It was out of this reality that considerations were made as to what type of institution could functiontowards the larger goal of Sustainable Nature Based Tourism development. UNDP and the Ministry ofTourism discussed the matter and consulted independent experts and through this process it wasdetermined that an institution which has a mandate of sustainable development of the sector as awhole, promotion of conservation and education was needed, thus the concept of establishing the
  4. 4. Center for Outdoor Industry and Education was developed. The decision to pursue this effort in the nearterm has been deemed to be essential as capacity building efforts will be required and it will take timefor the institution to mature. Where it is anticipated that this organization will have a primary initial aimof tourism development, its nature based orientation and the need to provide educational programmingto ensure sustainability will position the institution as a potential central player and primary partner infuture development projects funded by the European Union, (IPA), as Montenegro moves towardsascension.As will be shown in this report, throughout the world various forms of Outdoor /Nature BasedTourism/Education Associations have been developed to achieve the very aims that are being sought inMontenegro. These aims can be summed up in what the proposed COIE can provide;Nature based tourism organizations can deliver a range of environmental, social and economic benefitsincluding:• Increased community and visitor environmental awareness and understanding;• Promotion of environmental and cultural values;• Generation of revenue for the conservation and management of natural and cultural heritage;• Greater community and visitor enjoyment of natural and cultural sites and facilities; and• Employment opportunities, utilizing local knowledge and facilities.• Visiting natural areas provides opportunities for private contemplation (“getting centered”) and multiple unique experiences that are unattainable elsewhere and are a high value added product in the tourism industry. (Nature based tourists tend to be high yield tourists, spending more, and staying longer in a destination than general tourists.)• Improved knowledge of other people, areas, and natural resources will always lead to a greater understanding of and concern for these people, areas, and natural resources.• Properly managed and developed Nature based tourism is characterized by the existence of a large number of very small businesses that support & are supplementary to the industry. As tourism flourishes so do they. (Plus, not only does the tourist contribute financially to a specific area through direct expenses, but there is a multiplier effect as those tourist funds are spent on other indirect expenses related to the trip.)• The preservation of wildlife sanctuaries and parks as well as national monuments and other cultural resources are often encouraged when tourism begins to be a force in the society.• Nature-based tourism provides unique, regional experiences that create an awareness of the special value of the natural areas visited.• When properly managed, nature-based tourism is a way of offering low-impact experiences that bring unending benefits to the tourist & ultimately to the resource itself through efforts to preserve its quality.Importantly, as tourism, and in particular nature based tourism, is essentially about the environment inwhich we live, work and play Montenegro’s natural assets also represent significant communityresources and recreational opportunities that can be capitalized upon for the benefit of bothconservation and tourism development. However, a mechanism to ensure this must be in place, andthat mechanism is the proposed “Centre for Outdoor Industry and Education”.Vital Components of Nature-Based TourismEstablished author PH.D. Antony Lynam, a respected Australian conservation scientist and Tourismconsultant states in an online article on the Thailand Ministry of Tourism web site,
  5. 5. (, “To be truly successful, nature tourism must benefit both wildlife andinhabitants”. Tourism is one means by which local people can derive benefit from protected areas. Iftourism can provide employment and communities can benefit from activities in protected areas,wildlife, their habitats, and other natural features, the objects of nature based tourism can be sustained.Tourism and conservation can then coexist or the two are even symbiotic.The challenge for developing nature-based tourism is to make it symbiotic with conservation. A commondenominator is that if nature tourism can focus on special places, special activities, and select groups ofpeople, then it can be done and not requires large-scale investment in infrastructure that has a highimpact on the environment. Taking this into consideration, as the COIE is developed, it should be doneso in a way as to support these vital components, it is anticipated that initial focus should be on thefollowing;• Increase the recognition of Montenegro as a unique nature based tourism destination – via destination branding and positioning and the development and implementation of targeted and effective marketing strategies;• Provide quality nature based tourism products and experiences – via appropriate investment, research and training;• Foster the development of an effective, efficient and profitable industry – through the facilitation of linkages and development of opportunities within and between sectors.• Contribute to the conservation of Montenegro’s natural and heritage assets – via improved understanding, appreciation and interpretation of the environment and sound management principles and practices;Values and benefits of outdoor education, training and recreationA critical aspect of sustainable Nature Based Tourism development is education and training. The UKInstitute for Outdoor Learning provides perhaps the strongest guidance on the importance of outdooreducation and training and the value it provides with numerous statements on its web site,( These statements demonstrate both the importance of outdooreducation to Nature Based Tourism, as well as the multiplier effect that it has socially, delivering muchmore than improved tourism.“Outdoor education, training and recreation promote active learning through direct personalexperience and offer excitement, fun and adventure within a framework of safety.”Active learning and adventure outdoors can take place in a variety of environments: rural and urban,local and more remote. Outdoor education, training and recreation involve both young people andadults in a wide range of experiences, including adventurous activities on land and water and activitieswith an environmental focus. Methods used include skills-focused learning, problem solving, teambuilding and self-reliant journeys and activities, with residential experience an especially valued feature.“Challenging experience outdoors impacts powerfully upon a young person’s intellectual, physical,spiritual, social and moral development.”Use of the outdoors makes a major contribution to physical and environmental education and enhancesmany other curriculum areas. It contributes to personal growth and social awareness and develops skills
  6. 6. for life and the world of work. Qualities such as a sense of responsibility and a purpose in life arenurtured. There is also a great deal of intrinsic enjoyment and satisfaction to be experienced fromparticipation in outdoor activities.“Building self-confidence and self-esteem is fundamental to any young person’s development.” Outdoor activities provide valuable alternative, often non-competitive, avenues for achievement, aswell as opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. Through successfully facing up to thechallenges which outdoor activities provide, overcoming fears and apprehensions along the way, youngpeople make major strides in confidence, with implications for all aspects of their development.“A positive attitude to learning is essential if young people are to make the most of their education.” Participation in exciting and enjoyable outdoor activities with teachers, youth workers and peersreinforces a positive attitude to education and contributes significantly to the general ethos of a schoolor youth group. Direct experience out of doors stimulates and reinforces learning across many areas ofthe curriculum, and the use of the outdoors encourages young people to take greater responsibility fortheir own learning.“Awareness of the needs and contributions of others and the ability to sustain effective relationships,at work and in the family, are vital in today’s society.” Experience in the outdoors provides rich opportunities for personal and social development throughcarefully structured group work in challenging situations. Trust, care, tolerance and the willingness togive and accept support are all encouraged and anti-social behavior is challenged. Opportunities arepresented to exhibit and develop effective inter-personal behavior and to work co-operatively andeffectively in teams.“The purposeful use of leisure time is increasingly seen as making an important contribution to afulfilling lifestyle.” Outdoor recreation introduces young people to a range of worthwhile leisure pursuits which will enrichtheir future lives, and develops the skills and knowledge essential for safe participation. Outdoorexercise contributes greatly to health and fitness and continuing participation in outdoor pursuitsencourages the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle into middle age and beyond.“Our relationship with the environment is a key issue facing tomorrow’s citizens.”Active learning and adventure outdoors introduces young people to the environment in a way whichdevelops understanding, appreciation and respect. It fosters sensitivity to the environment, helps youngpeople to see themselves in a global context and helps to develop citizens with an awareness of theneed for sustainable use of the world’s natural resources.“Tomorrow’s successful citizens will possess the adaptability to cope with a rapidly changing world ofwork and the responsibility to be an effective member of a community.”
  7. 7. Challenging outdoor experiences promote the development of communication, problem solving anddecision making skills which have currency across a range of occupations. They encourage a positive"opting in" and "can do" attitude. Young people’s horizons are broadened, new challenges come to berelished rather than shunned, and perseverance and determination are reinforced. Values and attitudesdeveloped in a context of shared endeavor help to form a sound basis for responsible citizenship.International Perspectives and Best Case PracticesThroughout the world there are various institutions that have a nature based tourism developmentfocus. Some of these institutions are oriented towards pure business development, others are focusedon education. Some are, as would be the case in Montenegro, focused on both. Here is a list ofnumerous institutions from around the world that provide various benefits to Nature Based Tourismdevelopment that would be provided by the COIE.ATTA: Adventure Tourism and Travel AssociationInternationally, the ATTA is the leader in Nature based Tourism development.The ATTA has operated since 1990 as the only international adventure travel trade association. Over theyears, the ATTA has executed many different programs and strategies, which has made it a centralorganization in the Adventure Travel Industry worldwide. It has operated twelve World Congresses onAdventure Travel (both in the US and internationally), built the trade association as high as 750 membercompanies, performed numerous research projects for companies and organizations in the industry, andacted as a consultant to the World Bank and various Ministries of Tourism on research assignments fordifferent countries. The organization has worked with many adventure luminaries including RichardLeakey, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Richard Bangs, Galen Rowell and David Brower. Additionally, it hasserved as an industry spokes-group, often quoted by CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Timesand many others when it comes to expertise regarding Adventure Travel.The ATTA offers various benefits for members, producing valuable industry research and raising theprofile of the whole adventure travel industry via a strategic trade and consumer media communicationplans. While the ATTA originally pursued primarily tour operators, refocused interests includes travelagencies, media companies, online content companies, ministries and boards of tourism, transportationcompanies, product vendors, travel experts, lodges, resorts and destinations. By working together as awhole, much better and bigger industry initiatives may be pursued.The relevance of the ATTA to Montenegro is derived primarily from both the benefits it provides to itsmembers, as well as activities related to the organizations “refocused interests”. It is anticipated thatthe COIE would provide similar benefits to its members while also seeking to bring together a broadcross-section of stakeholders that can through the COIE work together to pursue “better and biggerindustry initiatives”.Victorian Outdoor Education Association (Australia)Another related institution is the Victorian Outdoor Education Association (VOEA), the peak body andprofessional teaching association supporting teachers and educators in the conduct of outdooreducation in schools and other educational programs in Victoria, Australia.
  8. 8. The VOEA is a non-governmental organization. It is funded through membership fees, special projects,state government grants, revenue from the Education Outdoors Shop and sponsorship. The mission ofthe VOEA is to lead the development and support of the outdoor education profession.What does the VOEA do?- acts as a advocate for outdoor education in Victoria- provides a resource and advisory service for outdoor educators- develops and reviews curriculum, guidelines and standards in outdoor education- promotes a philosophy of environmental awareness and conservationThe VOEA supports its members through newsletters and journals, conferences, professionaldevelopment, selling resources, consultancy and network links. In turn the VOEA relies on fees frommembers, resource sales and events for its operation.The relevance of this institution to Montenegro comes from its structure, (a member driven non-profit),and its position as an advocate and central player in the field of outdoor education and environmentalsustainability. Both of these aspects are expected to be incorporated into the COIE.Similarly, the Outdoor Council of Australia is an institution that works towards the combined end ofenvironmental protection, economic growth and professionalism;VisionTo develop and promote a professional community that provides quality outdoor experiences.MissionThe Outdoor Council of Australia provides services to support:Professional conduct (Human Resources)Environmental sustainability (Education and Planning)Cultural and social sensitivity (Human Resources and Education)Risk minimization (Education and Planning)RoleThe role of the Council is to represent to the community, industries and all levels of government, theviews and needs of outdoor educators, leaders and guides as well as organizations that supportleadership or are otherwise involved in the training of outdoor educators, leaders and guides via theirstate and national peak bodies.This institution has also had a substantial impact on policy at the government level, contributing to theestablishment of various related strategies, such as the Nature Based Tourism Strategy for theAustralian Capital Territories.Perhaps the most directly related of any institution, the vision, mission and role are all expected to befully incorporated into the COIE in Montenegro. The three core areas of focus, Human Resources,Education and Planning are areas of critical importance to development of sustainable Nature BasedTourism and will be of great value to meet the current needs of Montenegro as it develops the sector.
  9. 9. Outdoors New Zealand is yet another exemplary institution to demonstrate the value of these types oforganizations. This particular institution serves to ensure the highest quality level possible in the area ofhuman resources related to nature based activities. The organization has established a series ofstandards for guiding and rescue services and runs both training and certification programs as amechanism for financial self sustainability. Furthermore, they organize conferences, provide knowledgebased research in the area and actively promote outdoor leadership training as a means to conservationand sustainable development. The organization of certification for guiding, called “OutdoorsMark”, hasbeen developed upon that of the UK Adventure Activities Licensing Authority scheme and was launchedby the Ministry for Sport and Recreation in the NZ Parliament on 1 March 2004.ONZ is also very similar in what it is the COIE will do functionally. Their human resources efforts and useof the “Outdoors Mark” brand of certification will be something that should be directly mirrored.Furthermore, their organization of conferences and research efforts to ensure the highest possiblestandards are also relevant activities that could apply to the COIE. As well, their usage of the trainingand certification programs as a revenue stream to aid in financial sustainability is a functional aspectthat the Center should employ.The UK Adventure Activities Licensing Authority certification program began in 1996 to ensure qualitystandards would be maintained within outdoor educational programs. A license indicates that a providerhas been inspected by the Adventure Activities Licensing Service, and has been able to demonstratecompliance with nationally accepted standards of good practice in the delivery of adventure activitieswith due regard to the benefits and risks of the activity. This program has led to the UK achieving aposition as international leaders in the area of conservation education and practice as well as havingguide certification programs that are among the most recognized in the world, (example: the BritishCanoe Union guide certification program is so highly regarded that any guide holding this certification isemployable anywhere in the world as it is transferable at a higher standard level to any othercertification program).This certification model is clearly the primary model that should be followed by the COIE as it develops.The high regard with which the certifications are held internationally provides a benchmark the Centercan use to maximize the level of quality care and product delivery, thereby enabling Montenegro tocapitalize the small but lucrative high value added end aspect of Nature Based Tourism.The British Activity Holiday Association was formed by a number of responsible activity centreoperators in 1986, with the express intent of establishing operating guidelines for an ‘industry’ thatotherwise had no specific controlling regulations. Representatives from established activity holidaycompanies formed a steering committee, chaired by the Sports Council, and spent several monthsdrafting a Code of Practice and Constitution. The English Tourist Board invited activity operators to twoopen meetings after which the Association was launched.During 1993 the Association completed a revision of its Code of Practice and inspection scheme, givingdue regard to the documents produced by the United Kingdom Activity Centre Advisory Committee, theWales Tourist Board and the EU Package Travel Directive for the UK Travel Industry. Further revisionshave taken place since to accommodate the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 1996 (ActivityCenters Act) and other developments.Since that time, successive committees of elected members have developed a Code o f Practice, ActivityGuidelines and an Inspection Scheme.
  10. 10. The BAHA Members’ Manual lays down standards for: • Customer Care, • Recruitment, staffing and management, • Staff induction / training / assessment, • Accommodation, • Health and Safety, • Fire Precautions, • First Aid, • Insurance, • Activity Equipment, • Activity guidelines , • Transport, • Environmental responsibilityWhile the focus of this institution, Human Resources Development and quality of care, are both aspectthat will be functionally within the Center, what is of particular note from BAHA is its existence as amember driven organization. Certainly the longstanding success of the institution must be derived fromthis fact. It is well known that the more an institution of this type is “owned” by its members, thegreater the level of impact, relevance and ability to provide benefit. As the COIE is developed, the factwill be taken into deep consideration as to ensure stakeholder/member “ownership”.EUROPEAN LEVEL:At the European level, there are a couple of relevant institutions. The European Institute of OutdoorAdventure Education and Experiential Learning (EOE) and the Association for Conservation, (an initiativeof the European Outdoor Group.The EOE seeks to achieve the following: • Develop theoretical foundations for the field of outdoor activities. • Promotes alternative education and complementary education through the means of outdoor activities. • Outdoor recreation of young people and of aged people is promoted and encouraged as well. • Therapy by using outdoor adventure activities is a field that the Institute tends to support and develop. • Research on using experiential learning as a means to nonconventional education and environmental education is also encouraged.Within the context of Montenegrin ascension to the EU, these activities can be highly relevant. While itis not anticipated that the Center would initially function towards these specific goals, as the institutiongrows and develops more capacity, all of these are activities that would be excellent as either directfocus or a smaller portion of potential EC funded projects. Furthermore, the EOE represents a potentialpartner in that respect.The European Outdoor Group, (Association for Conservation)The European Outdoor Group is an organization of outdoor product manufacturers and retailers thathas established within its structure an “Association for Conservation”. This Association is an active
  11. 11. funder and technical assistance provider of activities that protect threatened wild areas for their habitatand recreational value, focus on specific issues and root causes, involve direct citizen action, are timesequenced, results oriented and measurable, have a one to two year lifecycle and that build publicinvolvement, consensus and support.The EOG’s Association for Conservation represents another potential partner for the COIE. This is trueboth in terms of potential to seek funding from within their grant scheme, and also as possible partnersin related activities within an EC funded program, (Life+, Europe 4 Citizens, as well as others).European Union Priority RelevanceAlso relevant on the European level are priorities relating to the Lisbon Process, as well as thesustainable tourism development strategy. The EU Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) has threekey objectives: economic prosperity; social equity and cohesion; and environmental protection. Takingeach of these in turn, the following aims for the sustainability of European tourism are proposed by theEuropean Commissions Sustainable Tourism Group:1. Economic prosperity a. To ensure the long term competitiveness, viability and prosperity of tourism enterprises and destinations. b. To provide quality employment opportunities, offering fair pay and conditions for all employees and avoiding all forms of discrimination.2. Social equity and cohesion a. To enhance the quality of life of local communities through tourism, and engage them in its planning and management b. To provide a safe, satisfying and fulfilling experience for visitors, available to all without discrimination by gender, race, religion, disability or in other ways.3. Environmental and cultural protection a. To minimize pollution and degradation of the global and local environment and the use of scarce resources by tourism activities. b. To maintain and strengthen cultural richness and biodiversity and contribute to their appreciation and conservation.As indicated through the various examples already presented, these objectives sit at the core of anyorganization with an agenda towards Nature Based Tourism and Outdoor education. Aspects of theseobjectives exist either directly or indirectly within all of the examples given thus far. It is thereforerelevant and consistent to say that they should and will be a central driver within the COIE.With respect to the Lisbon Process, Tourism is regarded as a major tool for job growth throughoutEurope, and there is particular focus on job creation for youths within the sector. To this end, theSustainable Tourism Group has set forth within its various stated “Challenges for European Tourism”, avariety of activities to support job growth, improve the standard of living and protect theenvironment. Some of these are; • Being more prepared to use the tourism argument (as an economic driver) as a reason to fund the protection of nature and culture and prevent damaging change. • Appropriate designation of protected areas, including completing the Natura 2000 network.
  12. 12. • Strengthening the relationship between protected areas and local tourism interests, within the context of a sustainable tourism strategy and action plan • Pursuing ways of increasing contributions to conservation and management from visitors, the tourism sector and other enterprises benefiting from tourism. • Supporting conservation activity, linked where appropriate to tourism, on individual sites and private land, including the restoration of heritage buildings and the maintenance of traditional landscapes and habitats. • Strengthening the development, interpretation and promotion of quality products and services based on natural and cultural heritage, including traditional crafts, local produce and other elements of local distinctiveness, as a component of the visitor experience. • Developing monitoring programs to measure trends and impacts and facilitate adaptive management.As the Lisbon Process has a primary focus on employment development through human resourcedevelopment this list of challenges gains direct relevance for Montenegro. It is expected that the COIEwill develop the capacity to address these challenges. This expectation further demonstrates theimportance of establishing the institution. As the COIE develops the ability to address these objectives, itgains by becoming a player in Montenegrin alignment to the EU’s Aquis, and potentially become aleader within the region for addressing these challenges.The Montenegrin Situation: What will the Center for Outdoor Industry and Education beand how will it be developed?What will the COIE be?The establishment of an institution such as a Center for Outdoor Industry and Education in Montenegrowould provide substantial benefit to the development and sustainability of Nature Based Tourism, aswell as provide numerous other benefits. The institution will be the central coordinating and drivingbody supporting associations, businesses, educators, civil society and the government in Nature BasedTourism Development and Outdoor Education, (it is believed that the institution will, due to its relationto the outdoor industry as a whole, have the capacity to participate in the development of relationshipsbetween international outdoor product manufacturers and domestic textile suppliers, however this willnot be the focus of the organization).The Center will be an independent, non-governmental organization. It will develop and ultimately befunded through membership fees, special projects, state grants, and revenue from educationalprograms as well as potentially generating revenue through Destination Management Organization typefunctions. The organization will be a member driven institution with primary focus on providing benefitto those members. The organization will also seek to function for the improvement of lives of allMontenegrins. OIEC’s mission should be one that seeks to develop and implement a vision forsustainable nature based tourism industry/outdoor education development in Montenegro inpartnership with local communities, domestic and international institutions and businesses. An examplehow that may look is thus;
  13. 13. Mission: COIE’s mission is to be an inspirati o inspirational leader excelling in responsible nature-based tourism. Not based to simply meet best practice – but to lead best practice. Furthermore, COIE seeks to position Montenegro as an authentic and diverse nature nature-based destination of choice. The Center will . work to involve all stakeholders in the process of development and ensure its position as a leader by developing a first class outdoor education system in cooperation with and for the benefit of the members, local communities, civil society organizations and the n nation. The COIE will work with international organizations to ensure that standards are at the highest level possible and to improve the state of Nature Based Tourism and Outdoor education everywhere.The Role of the Center will be to engage in a variety of activities designed to achieve the mission. These factivities, while diverse, will also be cross cross-cutting, (interlinked, i.e., Education and environment, Tourism ,and education, environment and tourism, etc.), and together will serve to ensure the organizations organizatposition and that it is able to provide intended benefits to its members. The COIE will provide specificsupport to its members by a variety of means; professional development, (skills training), developinginternational linkages, promoting Montenegri businesses and organizations, develop and provide Montenegrin ,outdoor education programs, and develop an take part in award and certification schemes that meet and schemeinternational standards. The organization will, over time, develop the capacity to provide guidance andconsulting services to the Government in preparation of future relevant strategies, policies, and legalstructures.After review of numerous similar institutions, (such as those listed in the International Perspectives and thoseBest Case Practices section), it is expected that f functionally, the institution will likely have a structure tutionsuch as the following; Board of trustees WG Education WG Development WG Environment Director/President Environment Development Education Coordinator coordinator Coordinator
  14. 14. The Board and working groups are expected to be made up of members and stakeholders on a voluntarybasis. It is expected that the director/presidents position will also be a volunteer position although this isnot a certainty. The rationale for this is that the Board, working groups and directors’ position shouldshift amongst stakeholders/members to ensure that all feel that they have a vested stake in theinstitutions operational success. The coordinator positions will be professional paid positions that willadminister and manage the day to day operations of the organization and contribute directly to it’s longdevelopment.In order to implement its mission, the COIE will need to address the following objectives: • The protection and preservation of rural/environmentally sustainable way of life. • The recognition of a stewardship role regarding the environment. • To draw together the principal representative organizations operating in the field of outdoor education, training and recreation • To develop opportunities for participation in adventurous activities and experiences outdoors • To encourage the provision of outdoor learning experiences of the highest quality, safety, value and enjoyment • To promote environmentally sustainable and responsible practice in the use of the outdoor environment • Participate in the development of Outdoor Industry related production and sales businesses, (manufacturing, wholesale, retail). • General promotion of active lifestyles • Promote partnerships among businesses, communities and institutions; • Represent and promote the interests of members at meetings with governments, government agencies, commissions, other organizations; • Support the development of tourist products that exceed market standards by creating quality standards and by recognizing success with awards; • Ensure the participation of all stakeholders in the development and promotion of tourism and outdoor activities. • Place a priority on increasing awareness of nature based tourism as a sustainable economic development opportunity; • Develop programs for “at risk” groups, (women, youths), to ensure inclusive participation • Support and encourage human resources development. • Develop alliances and coordinate with other tourism, outdoor and environmental organizations and to work toward common goals; • Actively seek funding and other resources from governments, the private sector and others, (National Ministries, EC, UN, WB, USAID, etc.) • Develop, where appropriate, revenue-generating activities.Ultimately, it is expected that the institution, whatever its final structure, should be able to deliveroutputs in the following areas:Enhance and grow authentic experiences Deliver innovative nature-based visitor experiences. Undertake an audit of our nature-based attributes to establish opportunities and priorities
  15. 15. Use the audit to select specialist product opportunities, develop effective partnerships and seek funding sources Work to increase the number and quality of experiences in parks Provide business advice and support to new and existing private sector, nature-based tourism initiatives Explore the opportunities for additional World Heritage listings Investigate the opportunities for engaging children and families in nature-based experiences Support the development, operation and promotion of urban nature-based experiences Identify at least three opportunities for cross-thematic product development Ensure cycling is a healthy soft adventure way of connecting with nature-based and cultural themes and secrets Commit to a strong interpretive element in all nature-based product (consistent with accepted Cultural Tourism principles of interpretation) Encourage existing and new links between local, regional and international educational and research institutions to facilitate innovative content-driven experiences Develop by 2010 three to five new or revitalized ‘iconic’ nature-based experiences.Be productive in marketing• Position Montenegro, (a self-proclaimed “Eco-State”), as an inspirational leader in nature-basedtourism Connect with global initiatives in sustainable tourism, nature-based tourism and ecotourism (e.g. World Tourism Organization [WTO] ‘Signposts for Sustainable Tourism’ Program, United Nations Environment Program [UNEP] Ecotourism Partnership Program, UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program, Earthwatch, Cairns Charter on Ecotourism Partnerships) Showcase Montenegrin environmental management initiatives and products at relevant international and national tourism conferences Involve internationally respected experts in nature-based tourism and related fields Encourage and support more Montenegrin entries in the Environment category of Tourism and Education Awards Encourage the inclusion of a specific Sustainability Award in National Tourism Awards Attract high profile, nature-based ecological sustainability conferences Convey the message that Montenegro welcomes developers and investors that are innovative and have a sustainability mindset and motivation.• Undertake targeted promotion with the right messages. Ensure all relevant marketing communication messages are responsible and reinforce environmental values and experiences Encourage the linking and bundling of complementary experiences Develop a new media kit for nature-based tourism highlighting Montenegro’s products Work to promote selected ‘tourism ready’ parks Target cultural / nature-based publications for visiting journalist programs (e.g. ‘National Geographic’) Continue to produce information-rich visitor promotional material
  16. 16. Target and develop strong distribution links with the high yield ‘not-for-profit’ and special interest travelers, (e.g. ‘Voluntourism’) Explore the opportunities to develop the conservation volunteer market Improve the knowledge of tourism organization staff about local and national nature-based products and experiencesAchieve strategic policy, investment and developmentAs the Centre develops capacity and gains valuable experience, it is expected that it will, as a central roleplayer and stakeholder, be capable of advising in policy matters through consulting and participatingprojects with a policy impact component.• Develop a sound planning policy framework for nature-based tourism Consult on the integration of positive, responsible nature-based tourism policies into policy instruments of government agencies Support the requirement for a comprehensive site analysis and design response to be undertaken for any development assessment within sensitive environments Ensure nature-based tourism opportunities are identified in regional strategic planning processes Work within the framework of the Tourism Master Plan to facilitate innovative and sustainable nature-based tourism development Encourage and Consult in the development of a Protected Area Tourism Strategy.• Establish infrastructure that supports nature-based tourism. Identify key infrastructure priorities from the audit of nature-based attributes and from each regional tourism strategy plan and incorporate these into future infrastructure projects Give high priority to environmental management infrastructure within the scope of potential infrastructure funding programs Ensure that developments demonstrate environmentally sustainable principles and use design expertise and innovative technologies Facilitate by 2012 at least three memorable nature-based accommodation developments in strategic locationsDevelop a strong professional and profitable industry• Ensure high standards of nature-based operating practices Encourage tourism and tourism related businesses to achieve appropriate accreditation (e.g. Green Globe – tourism related businesses; Nature and Ecotourism Accreditation Program (NEAP) – nature-based operators) Achieve a 200% increase in the number of Montenegrin nature-based products that are accredited by mid-2010 Promote development of an system of licensing commercial tour operators in protected areas• Build a strong and vital nature-based sector capacity. Strengthen our understanding of the nature-based market through targeted research Encourage the participation of tour operators within the institution Undertake a training needs analysis and conduct periodic nature-based stakeholder forums
  17. 17. Investigate and develop ‘best practice’ public/private partnership agreements (especially within protected areas) Encourage nature-based training initiatives (e.g. on-job traineeships) Develop stronger links with Research Centre’s for Sustainable Tourism.Implementation Build strong partnerships and mobilize resources to achieve common objectives Build strong partnerships with other agencies and organizations both domestically and internationally. Special attention should be paid to developing strong partners within the EU context Participate in funding bids for the implementation of nature-based tourism initiatives and infrastructureHow will the COIE be developed?In order for this institution to succeed, various support efforts will be required to build up theorganization. As such, a series of strategies and actions can be set forth to accomplish this thusly;Strategies and actionsTo achieve the desired outcomes, support to the COIE must invest in and implement a range ofstrategies that focus on:• Coordination– effectively linking stakeholders• Structure and Planning – ensuring sustainability.• Product Development – providing quality nature based tourism experiences;• Marketing and Promotion – promoting the Natural Resources of Montenegro. (Efforts under the first two headings should take place before the end of 2008 so that the organization can be in existence by January 2009)Coordination – effectively linking stakeholdersDevelopment of nature based tourism relies on a range of complementary nature based tourismstakeholders and private sector tourism interests. These include:• resource management and regulatory agencies;• relevant associations• nature based, ecotourism and adventure tourism operators;• attractions with nature based tourism and heritage links• civil society• tourism marketing and development organizationsThis initial effort that will be taken by UNDP and the Ministry of Tourism will seek to developmechanisms, such as a Working Group, that will foster cooperation, coordination and communicationamongst the various stakeholders. This working group will be informed as to the benefits of a COIE andpossible structures for the institution.
  18. 18. Structure and Planning – ensuring sustainability,Upon establishment of the Working Group, the process of determining the exact structure will be theprimary objective, with a further objective being establishment of a strategic development plan. Theeffort to do this will be facilitated by UNDP in Partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. It will beessential to the success of the institution that the Working Group takes an active role in itsestablishment and final design. The provision of Technical Assistance in this area will be essential asproper planning has obvious near, mid, and long term benefits that are essential to sustainability. Thetechnical assistance will work with the group to ensure both a full understanding of risks and benefits ofcertain structures and improve the capacity of the working group through training and assistance indeveloping strategic plans for the institution. (The following two efforts should begin once the organization has been legally established and should be completed within a 6-9 month time frame following that).Product Development – providing quality nature based tourism experiencesWhile Montenegro’s natural areas provide are a substantial asset, establishment of a significantcompetitive advantage requires the development of specific natural area “product”. TechnicalAssistance to the COIE in the form of training and partner development towards three productdevelopment priorities can be identified: 1. Improving access to nature based tourism experiences through the development of packages and partnerships with complementary stakeholders and external institutions. 2. New product development through the development of ‘destination nodes’ that link key natural areas and nature based tourism stakeholders. 3. Development and support to weaker product offerings by means of Human Resource development efforts that will raise the standard of care in under utilized sectors of Nature Base Tourism, (e.g., kayaking, fishing).Marketing and Promotion – promoting Natural ResourcesIn developing a market position and profile as an alternative nature based tourism destination, themarketing of Montenegro’s nature based tourism opportunities needs to be broadened to encompass arange experiences, including:• active recreational pursuits, such as hiking and cycling;• adventure tourism opportunities, such as; rafting, kayaking, (sea and whitewater), rock climbing and others at appropriate sites;Technical assistance will be provided to the Organization in best practices to promote Montenegro’sassets through training, and light practical, internal ‘pilot projects’ such as development of a web sitethat will enable the organization to capitalize on cost effective new media as a means of promotion.
  19. 19. Beyond the initial phase of developmentWhile the initial four areas of focus will be essential from the outset, as the organization develops andcapacities are built up, more support will be needed to enable it to fulfill its mission. The second phaseof development and assistance will have to focuses; Practical experience and additional training. Thisphase will last over a 2 -3 year time frame, after which the institution will be expected to be fully self-sustaining.A series of trainings Pilot Projects will be developed to enable the organization to develop the practicalexperience needed to manage and develop its activities. The projects will both build upon the trainingprovided thus far and will ensure the sustainability of the institution. These projects will ultimately bedecided upon by the working group, but it is expected that they will include, but not be limited to,efforts such as; • Partnering with the British Adventure Activities Certification Authority to develop and implement an award and certification scheme aimed at developing human resources and ensuring quality of product delivery. • Training for and development of a Destination Management Strategy and Plan. The Strategy and Plan will then be implemented with technical assistance. This activity will be essential as it will be one of the first major efforts at developing a viable revenue stream for the organization. • Development of an outdoor education program which can be used as a domestic capacity building and awareness raising effort as well as a product offering for potential international partners, (Outward Bound, NOLS, etc.). • Development and implementation of event driven tourism that utilizes to links Montenegro’s natural assets (Adventure races, Mountain Festivals)From a training standpoint, there will be a primary focus on efforts to raise capacity for fundraising.These efforts will include training in EU project proposal preparation and management, training ingeneral proposal writing and developing knowledge of the various funding mechanisms that exist andhow to access them, (domestic and international). As indicated within the pilot project section, an effortto provide training in the area of Destination Management will be a key area to be addressed during thesecond phase of development as a means to achieve self-sustainability. There will be further trainingsprovided in sustainable event management, development of outdoor leadership education programsand others as determined by the working group.Potential Obstacles and RisksOn the road to development of the COIE there will be various obstacles and risks that will have to beovercome. Central amongst these is the risk of low interest amongst weaker stakeholders within thesector. It is due to this that the initial efforts at coordination and establishment of the working group willseek to enable these stakeholders and give them a sense of empowerment that will be necessary toensure their participation. Another, similar risk is rejection from the larger stakeholders who may feelthat they will lose their position within an institution of this sort. As a remedy to this, in the initial phasesof the organizations establishment will seek to provide these stakeholders with a clear understanding of
  20. 20. the benefits they can derive from its existence, and the importance of their involvement during theearliest stages as their experience will be invaluable during this process.There are also obstacles that exist from the stakeholder standpoint. These obstacles revolve primarilyaround determination of exact institutional structure and objectives. Each stakeholder/member willhave a different view of what the institution can and should do, and how it should do it. This obstaclewill be addressed by the provision of expert technical assistance in the formation process that will helpall of the stakeholders feel that the organization can provide benefits to them and be functionallycapable of fulfilling its mission. Additionally, a further obstacle exists from a human resourcesstandpoint. This obstacle is acquisition of qualified candidates who can be trained to perform the tasksof the coordinator positions. While knowledgeable candidates likely exist, ensuring that thosecandidates are brought in will be a difficult task.Other Risks that exist, but are outside of the control of the stakeholders are; regional political stability,national commitment to current policies are sustained, and international tourism trends continue to seeNature Based Tourism as one of the fastest and consistently growing sectors.Closing StatementWhile the above list is ambitious, it is by no means unrealistic. Presuming the initial phases ofdevelopment are successful, the ability to deliver on the above list will necessitate further assistance inthe following areas; fundraising, establishment of domestic and participation in international awardprograms for sustainability and quality of product delivery, project development and management,development and implementation of outdoor education programs. The timing of these assistanceefforts will be dependant on the availability of funding to provide support, but it is advisable that initialtraining in these areas be completed within a six to nine month time frame following completion of theinitial phases of development listed earlier. Following this, (and in certain cases coinciding), pilotprojects should be developed and implemented to provide practical experience to the organization. Thiseffort will require the full commitment of initial funders to provide support during the early phases ofthe institutions existence. This support is particularly critical as the capacity of the institution shall growat its fastest rate during the early development period and assistance will be needed to ensure thatprocess is measured and responsible chronologically. Assistance will also be needed in the early years toensure that any training is matched by practical application of developed skills to ensure real timereinforcement of those skills. This reinforcement will perhaps be the most critical portion of assistanceprovided as it is the core element of organizational self-sustainability.