There are many well-known “olive and olive oil trails” offering not just visits to olive presses but also visits to the olive groves that produce extra virgin olive oil, opportunities to taste the oil and other local cuisine specialities saved from oblivion and prepared in the traditional way. There is an opportunity to follow this approach in an area of authentic production of olive oil, based on local traditions and culture, in the cross-border region of South Montenegro (MNE) and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (HR).
The specific aims of the project were:
To upgrade the tourist destination of Bar and Kotor Bay Region in Montenegro and the neighbouring Dubrovnik-Neretva County in Croatia by creating a cross-border olive tourism trail based on authentic olive oil production, tradition and culture.
To strengthen the links between tourism and agriculture in both countries.
The main activities of this project can be summarised as follows:
establishing cooperation between olive producers and tourism stakeholders: five cross-border meetings were held with 74 participants in total;
organising training: 24 people trained in certification for tasting and ranking olive oil; two panel groups for tasting olive oil established; two panel leaders for tasting olive oil trained; 20 people trained in tourism product packaging; one study trip for 20 participants;
upgrading the olive/tourism infrastructure through:
improved small-scale infrastructure for olive production;
improved small scale tourism infrastructure, including identification of “olive trails”, olive related attractions and viewpoint/points of interest;
promoting the new offer with itinerary map, cookbook with recipes of traditional food prepared with olive oil, catalogue, joint pamphlets, joint website, etc.
A wide range of results were achieved by this project.
Better cooperation of producers at local level and the establishment of an informal network initiated a process of know-how transfer.
The training provided to olive growers and oil producers resulted in olive oil quality improvement, packaging, etc and has contributed to a quality olive tourism offer upgrading the tourism experience in the cross-border region.
The regional olive tourism offer has been promoted and supported with appropriate tools (itinerary map, cookbook, website, etc).
The project additionally resulted in six valuable studies: (i) Economic Value of Bjelica and Crnica Olive Varieties; (ii) Genetic Analysis of Bjelica and Crnica Olive Varieties; (iii) Processing of olive Crnica and Bjelica varieties’ samples for physical and chemical analysis; (iv) Physical and chemical analyses of local olive variety; (v) Branding and certification of olive oil; and (vi) Physical Planning for Olive Oil Roads in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
The improved small-scale tourism infrastructure is a step towards the creation of a new regional tourism offer, providing new development opportunities on both sides of the border. The improved small-scale infrastructure for olive production will also be contributing to better quality of olive products and will even create the possibility of involving tourists in the production of olive oil.
Overall, the project has resulted in the creation of a common base for olive and tourism sectors cooperation, better knowledge and technical capacities of olive producers and the related tourism stakeholders, improved olive/tourism offer, as well as creating and promoting new economic opportunities and local employment opportunities in the cross-border region.
Aspects of good practice
The project featured many aspects of good practice proving innovative and efficient, and with a genuine cross-border dimension in its activities, good dissemination, and a noticeable cross-border impact.
It successfully engaged in its activities a substantial number (86) of individual producers and key stakeholders, such as the Associations of Olive Producers of Bar and Kotor Bay, the Association of Olive Oil Producers of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County and the Regional Development Agency of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
Collaboration among stakeholders and partners on both sides of the border was improved through joint participation in the development of the agro-tourism sector in the cross-border area. A Memorandum of Understanding on joint cooperation during and after the project completion was signed by representatives of local partners.
The results achieved are expected to stimulate further cooperation in other sectors or fields in the cross-border region.
Ok, I agree