In 2020, the EU-funded cross-border and regional tourism cooperation projects implemented in the Western Balkans unintentionally cushioned the effects of the crisis and eventually boosted economic recovery, contributing to the “healing” process in the region. Borders closing led to minds opening in the Western Balkans. Take part in our workshop ‘Regional tourism spurs the healing process in the Western Balkans‘ and find out how these projects became part of a bigger agenda and a useful tool for fostering development and reconciliation, while mitigating the consequences of COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the lives of people all over the world, reshuffling their list of priorities and redesigning both national and regional political agendas.

The testimonials of our speakers will demonstrate how cross-border and regional cooperation projects in areas of rural and adventure tourism have influenced the recovery of the whole of society and each individual involved in their implementation. This aspect will be linked to the change that these projects triggered, which has greatly helped to implement different local, national and regional agendas and meet EU accession requirements.

Ultimately, Western Balkans leaders recognised the effects of EU-funded cooperation initiatives, and the Common Regional Market (CRM) agenda was designed. The CMR is seen as an important factor for good neighbourly relations and the prosperity of the regions. Its first effects have already been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these aspects will be presented by a range of different stakeholders (final project beneficiaries, grantees, national authorities, the European Commission’s DG NEAR and the Regional Cooperation Council).