CSTI has welcomed Mr. Ignacio Nacho Errando, international consultant from Spain, for his 2nd visit with stakeholders of the in the Ethno-Gastronomic Heritage Route of Skadar/Skhoder Lake.
Mr. Errando has extensive experience in rural tourism and is the owner of the successful hotel Aldearoqueta in Valencia, Spain. CSTI is happy to have hosted the consultant during this very productive 5 day visit and looks forward to employing lessons learned as we approach the final stages of development of the route.
Prior to his arrival in Montenegro the consultant spent several days in Albania visiting stakeholders on the lake there with representatives of our project partner, NGO CERAI.
Upon his arrival in Montenegro on March 2nd the consultant immediately met with representatives of CSTI and a number of national/regional associations. This meeting was crucial in establishing objectives for the remainder of the visit. It also allowed for an exchange of knowledge between the consultant and a diverse group of representatives from various touristic and agricultural agencies in Montenegro.
The consultant's trip ensued with three very busy days of visiting potential stakeholders in the route around Lake Skadar - owners of rural accommodations, wineries, small konobas and restaurants, and sites of cultural and educational importance such as the Visitor's Center in Vranjina. The consultant met with owners of these rural homes and businesses, asking them many questions and tasting/experiencing their unique offerings.
Mr. Errando expressed his impressions about rural tourism in Montenegro, indicating the beautiful landscape and the sense of security which visitors can appreciate as the country's primary strengths. He also indicated where there is a need for improvement for the development of rural offerings in Montenegro. During a wrap-up meeting with participants the consultant provided a presentation of his observations. This was followed by an engaging discussion between the consultant and the 30 attendees of the meeting, where stakeholders were able to share their own questions and concerns.
This 2nd visit of the international consultant was a great success, and CSTI looks forward to further strengthening the quality of the route as a result. During meetings between CSTI, CERAI, Permacultura and the consultant the decision was made to create several itineraries. These programs (five 1-day itineraries and one 7-day itinerary) will soon be provided as packages to local travel agencies. Agencies will then market them to visitors who desire to explore the rich and diverse culture, gastronomy, and hospitality of the Skadar Lake region in both Montenegro and Albania. Itineraries for this Ethno-Gastronomic Heritage Route will be available by June 2012.