AdventureWeek, a specialized, nine-day familiarization (FAM) journey coordinated by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), will debuted in Europe, deep in the ancient cultural crossroads and rugged lands of the Western Balkans featuring Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia between August 26 and September 3, 2014.
The three Southeastern European destinations are engaged in a precedent-setting, cooperative strategy to raise awareness of the adventure potential of the region among international outbound operators, specialized travel agents and international travel journalists.
In the past, uneven economic development, sociopolitical dynamics associated with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, and military conflicts in some of the countries has made cooperation in the region difficult. To function as one integrated travel destination, the countries in the region have now established effective cooperation to develop joint tourism products, deliver authentic regional experiences and market themselves as one destination.
The ATTA, which has intensified its work in the region over the past two years, screened more than 20 hosted participants who joined AdventureWeek to explore and experience this destination, which is rich in natural, cultural and active offerings for adventure travelers.
Buyers and media were drawn primarily from the United States, Canada and Western Europe, which represent the source-market focus of this new-for-the-region, multi-destination and trans-border strategy.
LOCAL // Overhear the ancient chant of Albania and the calls to Muslim and Christian prayers in historic towns, while enjoying farm-fresh food experiences.
CULTURE // Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, Byzantine churches and Ottoman-era mosques, a rare, surviving Ottoman town with cobbled streets and a port on the Straits of Corfu, where the Greco-Roman theater stages ancient dramas.
ADVENTURE // Access rafting, cycling, hiking, paragliding, and diving throughout Albanian’s mountains, canyons, wilderness, rivers and still-pristine waters and shores of the Adriatic and Ionian seas.
LOCAL // Europe's newest country showcases a land steeped in handicrafts and architectural tradition, surrounded by the regionally acknowledged warmth and friendliness of the Kosovar.
CULTURE // Tour UNESCO World Heritage monasteries and churches glowing with frescoes. See the mosques and lodges built by Ottoman rulers who, after 450 years, have left imprints in the food, music, dance and handicrafts.
ADVENTURE // Explore on foot or pedal the mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and scattered villages in Kosovo’s remoter areas, including Kosovo’s highest peak and the spectacular Rugova Gorge and Valley near Peja (Peć).
LOCAL // Follow in the paths of ancient civilizations and stay in preserved villages and enjoy slow-cooked local cuisine in one of Europe’s oldest wine producing regions. The emphasis here is on rural communities and local providers.
CULTURE // Spend time with the discoverer of the Bronze Age observatory and holy mountain of Kokino. Share a pot of tea, and perhaps find spiritual enlightenment at Arabati Baba Teke, with Macedonia’s last Dervish of the 13th Park.
ADVENTURE // Walk on mountain paths belonging to bears and lynx, bike through ancient villages and forage for wild herbs, mushrooms and berries as part of a class on local foods. Hike to the base of Zlatovrv peak, currently one of Europe's best bouldering, rock climbing and paragliding locations.