Ecotourism Opportunities and Challenges in Butrint, Albania, a Unique UNESCO and Ramsar Site

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Abstract

BEGO, F and MALLTEZI, J., 2011. Ecotourism Opportunities and Challenges in Butrint, Albania, a Unique UNESCO and Ramsar site. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 150-157. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

This paper provides ecoturism opportunities in the Butrint National Park (BNP), designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and Ramsar site in 2003. Geographical position, landscape and biodiversity combined with a very rich culture heritage makes the site the most frequented by foreign visitors in Albania. Other new opportunities to bring more visitors in outside of the summer touristic season, including birdwatching, walking trials, biking, scuba-diving are discussed. The paper raises concerns that the ecotourism opportunities are put at risk by a number of uncontrolled human activities, such as illegal urbanization and massive tourism, wetland reclamation, mining, irrational marine aquaculture, hunting, excessive grazing and fires. Finally, some recommendations on how to address these concerns and maximize potential for ecotourism development of this unique UNESCO and Ramsar Site in Albania are suggested.

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