After 15 years and five international conferences, the Ulcinj Salina was in 2019 finally declared a Nature Park and a Ramsar Site – Wetland of International Importance. Initiated by the EuroNatur Foundation, Center for Protection and Research of Birds (CZIP) and Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby Association (MSJA), we dedicated the following two years to involvement and engagement of the local community in environmental protection and socio-economic development for Ulcinj and its surroundings, under the “Adriatic Flyway” sky of migrating birds.

We started in October 2019 with a new approach in this area, for community- and nature-based tourism – aiming to develop new ecotourism experiences in, around and with the new protected area. The local community awareness and interest was essential to make it happen. The people of Ulcinj were invited to engage in the protection of the area with its unique historical, cultural and natural values and to create attractive, market-resonant tourism services and offers. Such offers are always addressed to the citizens of Ulcinj and domestic visitors as well; they are also new facets for the local quality of life, all year-round.

The project worked with the definitions and principles of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN): “Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and creates knowledge and understanding through interpretation and education of all involved (visitors, staff and the visited).” The personal greeting words of the Chair Glenn Jampol, from Costa Rica to our first workshop in Ulcinj, meant a lot.

After two years´ work – additionally challenged by the pandemic – we could showcase new cultural and natural experiences, always including amazing home-made food, ready to gain new fans. We got up early for guided nature walks and stories in olive gardens, admired flamingos and pelicans across the saltwater basins, enjoyed the incredible peace of Ulcinj Salina, and finished watching breath-taking sunsets over the old town and the Adriatic Sea. The four November days were prepared and powered by Reborn by Adventures, Salty Village, the Tastes of Ulcinj, and Monticola´s wildlife conservation expertise.

We hope and trust that these days encouraged and inspired the professional participants of the fam trip to introduce these new discoveries in their itineraries. They are still under the radar of many visitors. However, such offers mean higher value, less volume and a new kind of appreciation to Ulcinj, its beautiful backcountry and bird life.

Just a few highlights expressed by our participants 11-14 November 2021:

    • All suppliers are knowledgeable about their part in the organisation – AMAZING TRIP!
    • Group managed well, and thank you for zero plastic concepts and good English
    • Rina´s tea picnic, Artan´s juice maker, Adrian´s cosy lodge
    • Sofra in Draginje museum – the coffee made on fireplace
    • Old Town & stories about the past of Ulcinj, including the interpretation on slaves,
      back then and today, pirates, Cervantes…
    • Okra (bamije) night! (it is tasty, different)
    • Great to know that there is more to see & experience! (Unique new things)
    • All accommodations are good – think of extending to think of as “Ulcinj hinterland” also Skadar lake private accommodations concept
    • Salty Village: lovely peaceful place – ambient with classical music was perfect – no overload of buildings
    • Amazing food! Very authentic, tasty and diversified recipes, including gluten free and vegan / vegetarian – different needs well understood
    • Salina: A great experience, especially also for people who are not birdwatching enthusiasts
    • SUP boards = unique offer for this area
    • The whole area is fantastic – we discovered so many things behind the so far known Ulcinj
    • The authentic wool making demonstration at Artan´s house
    • Hospitality all together
    • At Salina you can really understand the importance of salt-birds-people – cohabitation

A special thank you goes to the University of Applied Sciences Eberswalde Master students who, after our course of Sustainable Marketing Management Cases in February 2021, volunteered to work further with us to analyse the situation and develop modern, affordable marketing concepts. Salty. Epic. Ulcinj. is a brand that can reflect the full variety created!

Currently, solutions are being developed to restore the saltpans and to introduce sustainable management. To understand why the cohabitation of salt, birds and people is the best choice for the future, watch this short film from a similar area, provided by the supporting organisation, the MAVA Foundation.