The project “Local Promotion of Touristic Packages”, financed by PPSE (Promotion of Private Sector Employment) and implemented by Gearsup Solutions started in November 2015 and ended in February 2016. It’s main purpose was the improvement of tourism offers in West Kosovo (Peja, Junik, and Decan) and Gracanica, in order to attract more tourists and accordingly create new jobs.
In the region of West Kosovo there are a few existing tourism products offered by private companies, NGO’s, and enthusiast groups. These products however need to be improved as they are not very accessible for tourists and not commercialized properly.
The task of Gearsup Solution was to select 10 partners among a list of product owners. Through field visits, the project staff inspected the existing tourism products. An expert from Macedonia was engaged, as Macedonia has a similar mentality and same natural landscapes. The expert took part in all field visits and eventually delivered a detailed report on possible product improvements.
After the phase of the product inspection, all ten partners were invited for a coaching session. The purpose of coaching was to allow product owners and tour-operators get acquainted with business concepts, in order to improve their business thinking. The main topics covered were Tourism Strategy Kosovo, Marketing and Sales, Social Media, Customer Service, Negotiation Skills, Photography, Pricing, and Tour Packaging.
Especially Tour Packaging was highlighted, as the project intends to bundle the newly improved products into tour-packages and then promote and sell these to end-buyers. Through tours, tourists would be attracted to stay longer in the region, by spending more money. Thus, more income by product owners and tour-operators will be generated, leading to more created jobs.
Through signed agreements between Gearsup Solution, tour-operators, and product owners, the parties agreed to co-invest in product improvements and targeted promotion. PPSE will issue grants to assist in the planned investments and evaluate continuously for sustainability and impact of investment.
A promotion concept will be developed by the end of the project, which will be implemented by tour-operators, in order to attract more tourists to the region and increase overall tourism activity.
Accordingly, by the end of the project, 7 tourism products will be improved and tour-operators will have created 12 tours in which they include those improved products.