Divjakë territory, south of Tirana, is largely a lagoon, a precious asset in terms of biodiversity: in fact there is located the Divjakë-Karavasta National Park, which includes the Karavasta lagoon, one of the largest in the Mediterranean Sea.

The development potential of this territory collides with the difficulties of the transition process in Albania, which brings considerable social, economic and territorial consequences, reflected in an uncontrolled territorial and urban development. There is a lack of investment, coordination of strategies, a coordinated system of resource management: from waste treatment and sewage, which affect agricultural land, to management of the building stock. Ownership problems, furthermore, endanger the implementation of development projects.

The project responds to the need to implement structures and services that facilitate urban and architectural development, as well as the strengthening of the tourism sector, linked to the enhancement of the lagoon natural resources. The project, also, wants to develop a system that knows how to actively involve young people, offering targeted services and activating those community resources that can favour the economic development of the area.

Among the planned actions is the construction of a building in bioclimatic architecture, intended for the creation of an urban laboratory: a multifunctional center characterized by the active participation of the population, which offers co-design and coworking spaces, promotes active policies and tourism and environmental projects and initiatives to encourage youth participation.

The main objective of the project is to promote the socio-economic development of the Divjake district, through a participatory model of management and promotion of local and natural resources and the creation of an urban laboratory with the active participation of young people, civil society and local institutions.

In this context, ICEI, together with AITR, mainly deals with the sustainable tourism component. Expecially with the identification of the tourist attractions of the area in order to enhance the natural and cultural heritage, with the strengthening of the skills of local actors in the management and communication of tourism, and with the creation of a tourist guide of the territory.

  • Young people from Divjake who will be involved in the management of the Urban Lab and will be its users.
  • Women and stakeholders who will participate in territorial and tourism development activities and  will be trained on the management of tourist reception services, sustainable tourism, storytelling, environmental management of tourism, communication in destination marketing and digital content management.
  • Associations and operators in the tourism sector.

Project activities

  • Construction, in the municipality of Divjake, of a new building in bioclimatic architecture that will host an urban laboratory (Urban Lab): a multifunctional center for territorial and community development.
  • Training of the management group of the Urban Lab.
  • Youth involvement activities of the Lab: co-working, bar, info-point, summer schools.
  • ITC training.
  • Training of target groups on sustainable tourism and management of hospitality services.
  • Study and definition of guidelines for the tourism promotion of the area at a national and international level.
  • Definition and opening of tourist routes in connection with the National Park and Vile Bashtova Castle.
  • Website creation.
  • Realization of a tourist guide for the area (Divjake and National Park).

ICEI, in particular, has promoted:

  • Training in key principles of responsible tourism – October 2020.
  • Storytelling training – October 2020.
  • Training in Environmental Resource Management in Tourism – November 2020.
  • Divjake Territory and National Park Tourist Guide – work started in September 2020 and the guide has been published in july 2021.
  • Communication training in destination marketing and digital content management – March 2021.