The sustainable tourism in protected areas is still in its early stages of development in Albania. IUCN Member, the Institute for Nature Conservation in Albania (INCA) is encouraging and initiating it in the only marine protected area in the country, Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park, through the project “Sustainable Economic Activities in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas” –WWF MedPO-CEPF.
This area has only recently become known as a touristic destination. It was not easily accessible for years; only seven years ago the sailing boats obtained the permission to enter the area again, making the visits of the site possible. The interest of the public in the area is significant, however the number of sailing boats operating in the area is small, and the touristic offer still relatively weak.
Recently, the project partners prepared a package for the development of nature-based tourism activities on the main land of Karaburun Peninsula and marine waters around it, as well as the visibility tools to encourage alternative touristic activities in the park. Two educational hiking trails with signs and info-boards were installed along the peninsula, and an education snorkeling trail was prepared for St.Vasil Bay. The old military dock was additionally secured. In order to promote the area, its values and touristic activities, information boards were placed in nearby cities Vlora and Orikum. This touristic infrastructure was accompanied by the production of a touristic guide on Karaburun-Sazan Marine Protected Area and Vlora City. All these activities encourage nature lovers, outdoor tourists and tourism operators to practice and promote alternative tourism inside Protected Areas.