Information and publicity

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One of the main provisions of the project will be to have information and publicity actions. The goal is to make known the implementation of the project (and its source of funding). The main target groups of these actions are the visitors and the local population and authorities. The aim of publicity measures is to raise awareness among the target group and the public about the project and its results. In all the publicity, special care should be taken in order to comply with EU regulations on logos, financing the Fund etc.

The project area

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The project area is the wide basin of Aoos River and its tributaries Voidomatis, Sarantaporos and Drinos, which is common to both countries. It covers a part of the Region of Epirus in Greece (Zagori, Konitsa and Pogoni) and the Region of Gjirokastra in Albania (mainly municipalities of Petran, Lünxheri and Pogon).
The area is characterized by a plurality of locations with high cultural and environmental value (preserved villages, heritage monuments, places of historical interest, Natura 2000 areas, National Parks).
In the Municipality of Konitsa will be created the Information Center "Voidomatis" and in the Municipality of Zagori the "Papigo" Information Center. The "Papigo IC" meets the needs of the large number of visitors in Zagori informing them of the presence of the network of Thematic routes, while similar role has the "Voidomatis IC".
An Information Centre in Albania will be created in the Municipality of Pogon.
The Publications and the website concern the entire project area. Also, promotional activities will apply to the entire project area.

Objectives of the project

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Evaluation of potential tourism resources in relation to the thematic and alternative forms of tourism (TAT)
• Elaboration of Business Plans for thematic and alternative forms of tourism (TAT) in the project area
• Creation of a network to promote thematic and alternative forms of tourism (TAT Network).
• Creation of four Information Centres in Greece for TAT Network with emphasis on special features. In the Information Center of "Papigo" internal repairs and equipment are needed. The processing and production of exhibits for the 4 Information Centres, in "Konitsa" and "Voidomatis" at Municipality of Konitsa, in "Pogoni" at Municipality of Pogon and "Papigo" at Municipality of Zagori.
• Creation of one Information Centre (IC) in Albania for TAT Network with emphasis on special features. Internal repairs required for the IC in the Municipality of Pogon, which is also supplied with the equipment and needs the processing and production of exhibits for the IC.
• Preparation of 5 & 3 Interpretive Itineraries (IRS) in proximity to the 3 ICs in Greece and Albania, respectively
• Promotion of the region by creating a website about the project area in both countries.
• Promote the region through a brochure-map and a special guide-book.
• Attracting visitors from both countries and from abroad.
Generally, the implementation of the proposal aims to create a Network of Thematic routes, which will be developed in both countries and should be based on relevant reports and Interpretive Routes chosen themes, five in Greece and 3 in Albania. The network will be run through a website and a brochure with map of the entire region and a guide-book form where general information is presented for each interpretive trail.
In this way, the network of thematic routes is created based on the principles of interpretation of the tourism product (Information Centers along with interpretative trails and their promotion).

Expected results

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Under the management and promotion of the project there will be: 5 Steering Committee meetings, 2 conferences and press releases.
Preparation of Business Plans: Development of Business Plans for Greek and Albanian side.
Creation of two exhibitions on Thematic Network Routes:
• Internal projects, furniture and IT equipment for the Information Centre "Papigo IC" (M. Zagori) (Greece)

• Edition, documentation and production of information material for the 2 Information Centres (ICs) in Greece ("Papigo", "Voidomatis") related to the Thematic Network Routes. The Information Centres "Konitsa IC" & "Pogoni IC" will be portable exhibitions, while the other two will be permanent.
• Internal projects, furniture and IT equipment for the Information Center "Pogon" (M.Pogon) (Albania)
• Edition, documentation and the production of information material Exhibition in Albania ("Pogon IC").
• Development of the project website
• Development and Production of Brochure with map
• Development and production of a guide on the Network of Thematic Trails related to alternative and thematic tourism.

Brief History of the Area

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The area on both sides of the border has a similar history and culture, including several cultural monuments. Also, the environment is very rich with many rare habitats and species. Consequently, the total area is particularly blessed with rare and unique items of great interest to visitors with high intellectual background and preference to specialized forms of tourism.
Alternative and thematic forms of tourism in this region can rely on the variety of cultural and natural resources: the architecture and the architectural constructions (stone bridges, houses, churches, etc.), religious monuments (monasteries and churches), cultural events and traditional festivals (local music), as well as climbing, hiking, caving, kayaking and rafting, jeep crossing. They are also numerous activities related to nature: bird watching and observation of nature, amateur botany, sport fishing, spa-tourism along with spas and more.
The characteristics of the region will be promoted through thematic routes based on the Heritage Interpretation. The Interpretation of Cultural Heritage is a communication process designed to reveal meanings and relationships of our cultural and natural heritage to the public. EPIRUS S.A. development agency has worked during the LEADER + with the Universities of Freiburg and the Aegean in a transnational project for the application of the technique Interpretation of Cultural Heritage in the Prefectures of Ioannina and Thesprotia. Epirus Development Agency has realized the importance of such techniques for the promotion of tourism and the subsequent economic development of regions.
The proposal aims to create and establish a Thematic Network and Alternative Tourism in order to turn these areas, especially near the border, but also a wider part of the two countries to famous tourist destinations. The organization of the network should be followed by its promotion in order to attract visitors with specific interests.