The overall objective of the ALTTOUR project is to boost the spa-tourism by promoting c-b thermal springs, mainly based on Master Plans, Benchmarking Analysis, Place Branding techniques & capacity building. The Therapeutic Tourism is a selective form of tourism with significant economic advantages. It is the tourism form with the least negative effects of any adverse circumstances and can be provided during a twelve-month season. The demand for spa tourism in Greece is characterized by strong seasonality, particularly in large spas. The same conclusions apply to the Albanian side with main characteristic the lack of modern and proper services and relevant infrastructures. The peak month for spa tourism is September, followed by August, unlike the rest of tourism which peak month is August. Although there have been important steps forward in both countries, the thermal resorts lagging behind their European counterparts mainly due to their management by local authorities and the non-interference of the private sector. Based on the above background, the ALTTOUR project, attempts to integrate into the wider environment, functional links with existing comparative advantages related to cultural and natural resources, include them in route packets. To this end, the project action focuses on the organization of customized touristic packages which will include, focusing the visit to the spa as well as tours in other worthy to see places around the c-b area. The project aims to respond to the above challenges by: (a) Identifying the assets, drawbacks & marketing necessities on the c-b thermal resources, (b) Promoting thermal tourism and sustainability within the c-b area, (c) Establishing a Joint Brand Strategy based on focused place marketing and pilot actions, (d) Conducting benchmarking analysis among the top European spas and the spas in the c-b area (e) Developing Customized Touristic Packages on “Thermal Tourism”, (f) Establishing Local Quality Agreements & Pilot actions, (g) Creating a network of new thematic forms of tourism such as “SPA tourism” and (h) Investing in capacity building. This project will bring together all the involved stakeholders to collaborate and act in concert in order to accomplish shared goals.
Overall, ALTTOUR will increase the Beneficiaries’ administrative efficiency in managing the touristic and cultural capital. Furthermore, it will promote the c-b area’s integration by introducing common knowledge platforms in thermal tourism & culture and enhance the endogenous potential by applying brand strategy building in a sustainable way aiming to attract new visitors. The project’s ultimate goal is to valorize the economic potential of thermal tourism. The main target groups involve SMEs, businesses involved in tourism and enterprises of wider scope, local governments’ members, public or private stakeholders, potential visitors as well as the c-b region’s inhabitants.