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In October 2015, Kosovo hosted the second of a two-part series of AdventureEDU training events. The two and a half day event took place in Pristina, Kosovo, and was supported by the USAID EMPOWER Project and the USAID REG Project, who funding the presence of the regional participants from Albania, Macedonia and Serbia. The increased focus on building supply chain linkages and strengthening the capacity of individual businesses to deliver excellent adventure travel experiences through AdventureEDU events comes as the region prepares for AdventureNEXT, happening May 10 – 12, 2016 in Ohrid, Macedonia.
Over 40 participants from Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia completed the following courses, led by EDU educators Jean-Claude Razel, Julie Thorner, and Jack Delf:
- Introduction & Adventure Tourism Trends and Concepts, Level 2
- Safety and Risk Management
- Product Development
- Marketing Tactics
One enthusiastic participant Jovan Jovanoski, from the EDEN Tourism Cluster said, “I must say that I enjoyed these course more than anything, best experience ever! Most helpful for me were the trainings about Safety Management and Marketing. It helped me to understand where I was making mistakes, what I should do to correct them and how I can do that. All of the trainers were great, open for questions and willing to help us to improve and grow, and most important to promote our region.”
The courses were organized to provide skills and knowledge that built on each other throughout the three days. The training opened with the foundation of understanding trends and concepts around adventure travel (as well as the opportunities this sector provides to rural areas and local communities), then focused on the importance of creating and implementing a considered safety and risk management plan.
The participants went deeper into understanding the logic behind the Safety Management System (SMS), and through Jean-Claude Razel’s interactive exercises they learned how to create procedures and important documents, analyze risk, and then effectively run their own Safety Management System.
After the safety course, participants learned creative ways to enhance their product development. Utilizing the wide array of natural and cultural assets in this region, Jack Delf presented case studies highlighting the key elements of adventure travel, which participants then compared to their own offerings and those of competitors. Opportunities for intra-regional product development were discussed.
Once the participants had an understanding of effective product development, they looked at the similarities and differences between adventure travel marketing and mainstream travel marketing. Content strategies, website design and usability, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media were discussed in detail. Julie Thorner shared useful marketing tools, channels, and processes specific to tour operators, and showed examples of successful campaigns.
Fisnik Dragusha of VAS Group likened the training to oxygen saying, “each of the topics that we touched during the three days are an oxygen to most of the businesses in the Balkans, making us breathe differently the next day we show up in our offices. Bringing different thinking and new techniques in our very dynamic sector is a key element to success nowadays.” – Fisnik Dragusha, VAS GROUP
All participants received a certificate of completion for participating in this training, as well as an e-badge for their website, and course materials to be used as reference in their business.
AdventureEDU now offers three courses through the online education platform, Udemy.