The Youth Exchange “Ecotourism: Developing an attitude that respects the environment and the cultural heritage” took place in Berat, Republic of Albania, on 17- 23 October 2016. Leading and Applying organization was IPSIA Acli and Hosting Organization: Institute for Environmental Policy (IEP). There were 38 participants (youth and their group leaders) from:
Istituto Pace Sviluppo Innovazione Acli IPSIA (ITALY); Asociación Cultural Muxelka (SPAIN); Instituti i Politikave Mjedisore IEP (ALBANIA); JOETZ VZW (BELGIUM); homo ecos: (LATVIA); SHL- Kosova (KOSOVO).
Language of the Youth Exchange: English
The project gathered 38 youth from different countries of Europe, in Berat, Albania, a recognized UNESCO’s cultural heritage. There formal and mostly informal activities and ways of learning and sharing information, which took place in the open, and also involved interaction with the local people. Participants learned about ecotourism, and shared information about ecotourism. Through the interaction with the locals, participants also reflected about the local culture, and about the weight of their cultural patterns when approaching a new culture and develop a more open and tolerant attitude. Besides learning from local environment and surroundings, youth also contributed to the development of ecotourism in Berat through small projects that they carried out in groups.
A video from one of the projects can be seen here: One day in Berat
By ecotourism it is meant a responsible attitude of the traveler, aiming at the preservation of the environment in the respect of the local populations. Ecotourism is then first of all a philosophy, a way of life that arises from the traveler’s consciousness of his/her impact on the environment. The aim of this youth exchange is to stimulate reflection and come to the consciousness that our behavior has an impact on what surrounds us, impact that can be reduced with a more responsible attitude.