Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) has undertaken a series of initiatives in environmental awareness raising and ecotourism, aiming to promote tourism development, in a way that would not have negative effects on the natural and socio-economic environment of Prespa. In this context of information sharing and ecotourism, the project “Strengthening the ecotourism identity of Prespa” started in 2016, financed by the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation. The project aimed to stimulate ecotourism, by creating infrastructure that would facilitate the visitor and at the same time strengthen the knowledge and skills of local tourism entrepreneurs.
The project’s actions included the creation of new hiking and cycling routes and the re-marking of existing ones, as well as the production of a corresponding application for mobile phones, a promotional video and leaflets on the trails and birdwatching opportunities in the area. An extensive series of information boards were erected along all the hiking routes, giving information on their features to visitors using the trails. Furthermore, the project team travelled to international fairs, such as the UK Bird Fair, to promote Prespa and distribute the promotional material produced, as well as initiating potential alliances with ecotourism operators in Greece.
In addition, the project produced an extraordinary legacy publication in the form of a book on plant life of the Prespa National Park, entitled “Flora and Vegetation of the Prespa National Park, Greece”. Edited by Professors Arne Strid, Erwin Bergmeier and Giorgos Fotiadis, whose lifelong study of the area’s flora forms the backbone of the publication, the book included all known plant species and vegetation types recorded in the Prespa National Park.