The northern part of Montenegro boasts a wealth of natural and cultural treasures, making it an enticing destination for visitors. In recent years, rural household tourism has experienced significant growth in the region, with the number of visitors steadily on the rise. This can be attributed, in large part, to the availability of high-quality homemade food and drinks, as well as the opportunity to experience traditional environments. However, despite these positive developments, the number of overnight stays among visitors had yet to reach desirable levels. The reason for this was the lack of additional attractions or entertainment options that would entice visitors to prolong their stay. Recognizing this challenge, the Rural Tourism Association an NGO operating in the northern part of Montenegro embarked on a project aimed at addressing this issue and improving the overall situation.
Dalibor Sekularac, a representative of the Rural Tourism Association, highlights that the issue of limited entertainment options for visitors has been a regular topic of discussion within the association for over a year. “While the rural households in northern Montenegro offer excellent food and accommodation, they lacked the experience in providing entertainment for visitors,” explains Dalibor. To address this, the association devised a plan to establish a nine-kilometre hiking trail connecting the villages of Lubnice and Kurkikuce. This trail would offer visitors an easy and enjoyable walk, allowing them to explore the region’s natural attractions. The focus was specifically on family tourism, as the area already had challenging trails for experienced hikers but lacked options suitable for families with children who prefer recreational hikes.
To implement their vision, the Rural Tourism Association applied for funding through the Programme for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) , which is supported by the EU and implemented by UNDP. Their project aligned with the programme’s criteria, and they were granted the necessary support. With the assistance from the ReLOaD2, they identified and cleared the trail, used professional GPS marking to ensure accuracy, installed necessary signage, and created a map and leaflets providing information about the trail. Furthermore, they promoted the trail on outdoor tourism platforms such as Vikilock and their own website. To enhance visibility, they produced three promotional videos—one showcasing the trail, another highlighting rural households, and a third providing an overview of rural tourism in the region. The trail information also includes geocaching tags, reflecting the current trend in modern tourism.
The trail has been operational for nearly a year now, and recently, representatives from the Rural Households Association, UNDP, and the EU visited the villages to assess its performance. “The trail has been well-received by visitors, and some rural household owners have even started offering trail guide services,” says Dalibor.
According to Dalibor, the project has not only provided support to the households but has also served as a valuable learning opportunity. “Although it was a small-scale project, it has equipped us with important skills in procurement, reporting, and other relevant areas,” Dalibor explains. “With the knowledge we have gained, we feel more confident in applying for larger projects and programmes funded by the EU and other donors.”
About the project
The Regional Programme for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) is a continuation of EU-supported initiatives – Local Democracy Strengthening Project (LOD, 2009-2016) and the subsequently expanded Regional Program for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD, 2017-2020). The overall objective of the project is to strengthen participatory democracies and EU integration in the Western Balkans by empowering civil society and encouraging young people to actively take part in the decision-making process, and by improving a supportive legal and financial environment for civil society.
Photo credits: Reload
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