Papers of BAS

Abstracting / Indexing

Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 10, 2023, No. 1

Importance of education for preservation and promotion

of ecotourism values of national parks:

Case-study of Shebenik National Park in Albania

Etleva Muça, Zenepe Dafku, Albana Gjoni

Abstract. Shebenik National Park (SHNP) is critical in providing ecosystem services, including ecotourism, recreational activities, land and water protection, climate change mitigation, and more. However, the park’s true potential for supporting the local community and sustainable development remains largely untapped. It is crucial to promote and guide the resources and values of the park in a manner that benefits the local community. An urgent issue in this area is the need to educate the community, particularly the younger generation, about the significance of recognizing and preserving the ecological and tourist values of the park.

To address this, we conducted semi-structured interviews with rangers, residents, and various stakeholders in the six areas of the park. Stakeholder analysis helped identify key actors, including residents, local, regional, and national agencies, NGOs, and more. Ecotourism edu­cation emerges as a crucial factor in attaining a sustainable standard of living and improving the lives of the community. To achieve this goal, it is essential to emphasize the importance of education in preserving and promoting the park’s natural and cultural resources and to leverage the diverse benefits available to diversify the community’s income sources.

By strengthening ecotourism education and raising awareness about the park’s values, Shebenik National Park can become a catalyst for sustainable development and improved livelihoods for the local community.

Keywords: Shebenik National Park, education, ecotourism, local community, stakeholder analysis