The following is a reposted version of an article from Lonely Planet by Brana Vladisavljevic.


A new series of monthly webinars has been launched to promote adventure travel and sustainable tourism in the Western Balkans, as this region in south-eastern Europe has become the continent’s newest adventure playground over the last few years, increasingly attracting independent travelers.

Climbing the limestone crags of Paklenica National Park in Croatia. Image by © diamirstudio / Getty Images

Climbing the limestone crags of Paklenica National Park in Croatia. Image by © diamirstudio / Getty Images

Industry professionals and travel enthusiasts from several countries are already cooperating through the cross-border Via Dinarica Alliance to help develop responsible tourism in the Western Balkans. They are building on the positive momentum created by the Via Dinarica hiking trail, a recently completed trans-Balkans hiking route that also serves as a cultural corridor linking eight countries from Slovenia to Macedonia. A trans-Balkans cycling route that will be the counterpart to the already established hiking trail is currently being developed.

Mountain biking in Montenegro’s Durmitor national park. Image by © courtesy of Montenegro National Tourism Organization

Mountain biking in Montenegro’s Durmitor national park. Image by © courtesy of Montenegro National Tourism Organization

Launched in April, the free 45-minute webinars will focus on a different topic related to adventure travel each month and feature various guest speakers, with the aim to educate as well as encourage networking. Alex Crevar, a Balkans-based US journalist moderating the webinar series, told Lonely Planet: ‘as the region has become more and more popular, a handful of tourism professionals wanted to provide a platform for operators and travellers to intersect and have a conversation about the finer points of tourism development. The free, archived webinars make this forum both continual and useful as reference material, and easily accessible.’

Travellers sharing lunch in the Macedonian village of Galičnik. Image by © courtesy of Novagenus

Travellers sharing lunch in the Macedonian village of Galičnik. Image by © courtesy of Novagenus

The primary focus of the series is on the Western Balkans region, but the issues covered are universal. ‘Webinars about subjects like cultural awareness, sustainable approaches and partnerships among international operators tackle the positives and challenges with each regardless of one’s area of the world’, said Crevar. The June webinar’s topic is product development and innovation. Anyone interested in sustainable tourism is welcome to participate in future webinars by posting questions and making suggestions.