Activity 1: Research and Development
The aim of this activity is to study and analyze the existing tourist sites in the region and create the preconditions for popularizing the opportunities for tourist exchange among the young people from Blagoevgrad and Kriva Palanka. This will be achieved by researching, categorizing and evaluating the available tourism resources which will help the stakeholders to better understand the potential of the sites in order to attract visitors which will also help the regional actors to create attractive programmes and routes for tourists in the future. This will be achieved in three phases: researching, categorizing and analysis and reporting phase. Firstly, tourist sites will be researched by collecting all available data about tourism potential in the region. Secondly, the data will be organized and sorted. Lastly, the data will be evaluated and a methodology development report will be prepared which will contain the tourism potential objects from BG and MK. The report will be available on the website of the project which can be used for tourism information. The findings will be shared and presented in front of an auditorium. The reports form both sides will be compiled into one single document, 30pages, and it will be printed and disseminated.
Activity 2: Establishment of a Health and Tourism Network Center
This activity will include two parts. In order to promote health and tourism at the same time, this activity will include establishment of Health and Tourism Network Center in Blagoevgrad. Because statistics shows that there are a lot of children with deformities in the region and disabled children, the Center will work with children and children with disabilities on providing free health services and at the same time will organize city tours. At the start, the center will be used for health and tourism purposes on children from schools from both sides of the border. Trainings and checkups will be held for improving the health of the young and at the same time promoting tourism among the young population from the cross-border area. In the Center’s premises students and other interested parties from both sides of the cross-border area will have conditions to attend training sessions. It will allow for practical exercises in professional health improving services and at the same time tourism enhancement. This will become a regular practice in the Center once the network is established. The second part of this activity will include a round table organized in Blagoevgrad and North-East Region with 30 stakeholders (20 from Blagoevgrad district and 10 from North East region, representatives of local and regional authorities, health, tourism sector, NGOs, etc.) to discuss future partnership and joint initiatives and for signing a memo for future collaboration. In this way a formal network will be established – Health and Tourism Network Center. The aim will be to support the initiative, to enhance cooperation in health and tourism sectors, and promote the quality of the tourist offer. Also know-how will be exchanged and partnerships will be stimulated.
Activity 3: Outdoor mini golf and fitness playground – competitions for children and children with disabilities
This activity will be conducted in two phases: 1.Outdoor mini golf and fitness playground building and 2.Children’s competitionsThe first phase will include an outdoor mini golf and fitness playground building with metal tables. The idea is to build a mini golf and to install equipment for children and children with disabilities to use. In Kriva Palanka, a corner will be built in the major riverbed of the river Kriva Reka, next to the bicycle lane, near the Municipal School Joakim Krchovski where pupils with special educational needs – with disabilities in their psychological, physical and intellectual development, pupils from marginalized groups are in high numbers, will use the equipment. Mini golf will be build for health tourism purposes. Fitness equipment will be supplied and disabled fitness equipment. Those will be used for the next phase of the activity: Competitions for children and children with disabilities. Through a variety of activities, competitions for children and children with disabilities will be organized. These events will be organized in Republic North Macedonia and Bulgaria simultaneously by means of virtual conferencing ICT tools. Competitions will be conducted for 3 days with mutual participants of Foundation “Health Prophylaxis” and the Center for Development of Third North-East Region and will be organized annually in the future.
Activity 4: Youth Initiative: Health Tourism Product Development
This activity includes the preparation of health tourism product by the young participants in the events. Children and children with disabilities will work for 5 days in workshops, and a 1-day public event, in the area of health and tourism both at Foundation “Health Prophylaxis” and the Center for Development of Third North-East Region. They will be led by a supervisor from each region who will assist them in the facilitation of the product process. They will be shown innovative methods and stimulate their work and their creativity. After the conducted workshops in Kriva Palanka and Blagoevgrad two public events will be organized, one in Bulgaria and one in Republic North Macedonia. The health tourism product will be presented, and thus the tourism potential of the region will be promoted among young participants. At the end of the workshops the product will be published in the Health and Tourism Guide which will also include the project’s results.
Activity 5: Press Conferences and Project Promotion
Project promotion includes actions across the project which are planned to raise awareness about youth health tourism potential in Kriva Palanka and Blagoevgrad regions and promote the project and all events and products included in it. The project will begin with two promotional conferences, one in Blagoevgrad and one in Kriva Palanka in which objectives and expected results will be presented. Representatives of the municipalities will be invited, civil society and the media. Furthermore, the project and its activities will be promoted by elaboration of a project web page, FB page, 4 video clips and 1 short film, 2000 fliers, project banners, T-shirts and other promotional materials (folders, pens, etc) and souvenirs for participants. Project progress will be updated regularly on the web-page and on TV-Interviews, and media publications. At the end of the project, two promotional conferences will be held, one in Blagoevgrad and the other in Kriva Palanka. These events will promote the results achieved, by which the wider public will become familiar with the long term benefits of this project.