AAR’s Strategic role in local and national tourism and regional development
For adventure and leisure customers alike, the Skrapar region offers a menagerie of opportunity and variety. The foundation of the local tourism industry will rest with the AAR and is many diverse attractions, as it will come to embody a world-class adventure destination. However, compounding the allure of the AAR is the surrounding area and its wealth of cultural, culinary and nature opportunities available. Currently, the attraction with the greatest brand recognition and international notoriety is the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Berat and Gjirokastra. While not in close proximity to the site of the AAR, they still function as a viable day-trip for tourists looking to experience more of the history and culture of Albania. Additionally, the lush scenery of Albania is especially memorable in the Tomorri Mountains and the thermal baths of Benja in the Canyon of Lengarica, also accessible as a day trip. These mountains provide an opportunity for tourists to see the religious history and heritage of the entire region and also provide the possibility of exploring pristine wilderness in unspoiled lands. Encompassing all experience within Albania, international consumers to the AAR have the ability to sample local cuisine and culture through an array of dining options. The food of Albania is very distinctive and localised to specific regions of the country creating a diverse culinary experience.
Environmental Sustainability: The specific role of the AAR is comprehensively outlined within the conceptual blueprints and frameworks given by the Albanian Rafting Group. In addition to the various activities proposed and the valuable human capacity development which will be a focal point of the future sustainability of the centre, Ecotourism is also a significant factor contributing to its importance. The centre can stand as a model for about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that Albanian Adventure Resort will utilise certain ecotourism principles, such as:
- Minimise the long and short-term environmental impact.
- Build a tradition and expectation for environmental awareness and respect.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation efforts within in the region.
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people and communities.
- Raise sensitivity to Albania’s environmental climate and concerns.
To further represent and accentuate the amalgamation of sustainability and environmental awareness, the AAR will promote and utilise a range of eco-conscious business practices and policies in all phases of the project. In terms of initial development, the AAR needs to pursue ‘green’ measures for its construction and refurbishment. Local products and materials will be instrumental in helping to minimise the environmental impact and increasing its carbon footprint. Additionally, certain construction methods such as ‘living roofs’ can provide long-term energy sustainability and cost effectiveness while simultaneously providing a minimal environmental impact. Consequently, these measures can be more expensive in the initial start-up phase but these endeavours become much more cost effective in subsequent years. Emphasis on AAR construction and development should be placed on:
- Use of local materials and labour
- Cultivation and procurement of renewable energy sources, including but not limited to hydro-electric power, solar energy and wind farms
- International ‘Green’ certification, perhaps coupled with an international consult to develop best practices in terms of construction techniques and maintenance
The measures can also be further complimented by the use of renewable energy sources to power a percentage of various endeavours within the AAR. The most feasible and environmentally sustainable options surround the use of solar panels to contribute to up to 50% of lighting energy consumption.