Explore Cross-border Aquatic Biodiversity – EXChAngE

About project

  • Project title and acronym: Explore Cross-border Aquatic Biodiversity – EXChAngE
  • Description of the project: Project is developing a new cross-border tourism product – the Blue Pass, which enables visits of new thematic routes: Dubrovnik and Aquarium (CRO), Kotor and Aquarium Boka (MNE), Hutovo Blato Aqua Path, and Mostar Old Bridge and River Neretva (BiH), and attracts more tourists in the area
  • Total project budget (in EUR): 1.686.047,15
  • EU co-financing amount (in EUR): 1.433.140,05
  • Duration of the project: 15.08.2020 – 14.08.2022
  • Information on the project’s Priority Axis: Contributing to the development of tourism and preserving cultural and natural heritage

Name of the Lead Partner and Project Partners and description of their roles within the project:

  • University of Dubrovnik (LP): Work package (WP): Management and trainings.
  • Tourist Organisation of Kotor (PP2): WP Implementation, in particular digital services and trainings.
  • The University of Montenegro, Institute of Marine Biology (PP3): WP Management and graphic design.
  • Tourist Board of Herzegovina – Neretva Canton (PP4): WP Investment and trainings.
  • Public Company Hutovo Blato Nature Park, Čapljina (PP5): WP Communication.

A reference to the Programme webpage: www.interreg-hr-ba-me2014@2020.eu

A reference to relevant Funds: The project is co-financed by ERDF and IPA II funds of the European Union

Project websitehttp://exchange.imp-du.com/

On the project main objective, Dr. Nenad Antolović, the Head of the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research of the University of Dubrovnik – the lead partner, said, “Activities will be implemented with the main objective to strengthen and diversify the tourism offer through exploring cross-border aquatic biodiversity and to enable better management and sustainable use of cultural and natural heritage.”

Partners

The University of Dubrovnik, the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research

The core competencies of the Institute are marine biodiversity, ecology, and management of the Aquarium. Recent results detect environmental conditions in the cross-border Croatia – Montenegro region and rural educational, cultural, and ethnographic tourist attractions.

Tourism Organization Kotor

TO Kotor main role and activities are preservation, improvement, and promotion of authentic values of Kotor town; organization and promotion of traditional manifestations and all other kinds of events that contribute to the enrichment of tourist offer; encouragement and organization of activities aimed at protecting and preserving the tourist space, the environment, and cultural heritage; valorization of all resources that Kotor town possess in order to enrich its tourist offer and product.

The University of Montenegro, the Institute of Marine Biology

Core competencies of IMB are focused on research in the fields of mariculture, marine conservation, ichthyology and marine fisheries, chemistry, general biology, neurophysiology and ecophysiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. Recent results present the marine biodiversity of Boka Kotorska bay and provide inputs for the National Strategy for Integrated Coastal Zone Management of Montenegro.

Tourist Board of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton

Since its establishment in 2002 TBHNC creates and promotes the identity and reputation of tourism of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. TBHNC is active in advertising activities of common interest for all entities in tourism, and for raising the level of quality and the overall tourist offer of the Canton.

Nature Park Hutovo Blato

Main activities of “Nature Park Hutovo Blato” d.o.o. Čapljina are protection, preservation, improvement, sustainable management, and promotion of Hutovo Blato swamp as a nature park, primarily through tourism and fishing and cultural heritage presentation.

Meetings

Virtual kick-off meeting

Due to Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions, the University of Dubrovnik as the lead partner has organized a virtual Kick-off meeting on the Zoom platform on 31st August 2020 with the main objective to discuss among partners project objectives, main activities, and deliverables, setting project implementation teams and agree on forthcoming implementation steps. Project partners accepted their roles in the project implementation and prepared a Partnership agreement for the signatory process. Preparation of the Project Procurement plan is also initiated. It was agreed that a personal Kick-off meeting will take place at the Institute of Marine Biology, Kotor, Montenegro, on 11th September 2020.

Kick-off meeting

Kick-off meeting of the project “Explore Cross-border Aquatic Biodiversity – EXChAngE” was held on 11th September 2020 in Kotor, Montenegro. The meeting gathered all 5 project partners from 3 countries: from Croatia the University of Dubrovnik, from Bosnia and Herzegovina Tourism Organization of Herzegovina-Neretva county and Nature Park “Hutovo Blato”, and from Montenegro: Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Montenegro and Tourism Organization Kotor. Project partners signed the Partnership Agreement, set project management bodies, and discussed planned activities, with which the project is launched.

Participants in the meeting room, Dr. Aleksandar Joksimović, Director of the Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Montenegro is welcoming participants

 

From the left: Dr Nenad Antolović, the Head of the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research of the University of Dubrovnik and Dr Nikša Glavić, EXChAngE project manager

Signing the Partnership Agreement

From the left: Dr. Nikša Glavić, EXChAngE project manager and Mr. Ramiz Bašić, Tourism Organization of Herzegovina-Neretva county, Bosnia and Herzegovina

From the left: Dr. Nikša Glavić, EXChAngE project manager and Mr. Nikola Zovko, director of the Nature Park “Hutovo Blato”, Bosnia and Herzegovina

From the left: Dr. Nikša Glavić, EXChAngE project manager and Ana Nives Radović, director of the Tourism Organization Kotor, Montenegro

From the left: Dr. Nikša Glavić, EXChAngE project manager and Mirko Đurović, Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Montenegro

Launching event

The launching event of the project was held on 19th October 2020 in Dubrovnik and Kotor. The event was organized as a combined seminar and webinar, due to Covid-19 travel and meeting restrictions. All 5 project partners presented planned project activities and deliverables in two meeting rooms: one at the University of Dubrovnik and one at the University of Montenegro, and to more than 30 webinar participants.

On the project main deliverable, Dr. Nenad Antolović, the Head of the Institute for Marine and Coastal Research of the University of Dubrovnik – the lead partner, said, “Blue Pass is much more than a joint ticket for five localities in three neighboring countries. It will offer comprehensive information in digital and paper form, guided tours of Dubrovnik Aquarium (Croatia), Kotor and Aquarium Boka (Montenegro), Hutovo Blato Aqua Path, and Mostar Aqua Path (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and creates a community for sustainable use of the cross-border aquatic biodiversity”.

Dr. Nenad Antolović

Presentations

Next Project Meetings

Tentative timeline of forthcoming project events and pieces of training:

  • December 2020, Kotor: D.T1.4.5. Training for EXCHANGE Webmasters, webinar
  • June/July 2021 Mostar: D.T1.4.3. Training: River Neretva Biodiversity
  • September 2021, Dubrovnik: D.T1.4.1. Training: Adriatic Sea Biodiversity, seminar, and webinar.
  • March/April 2022, Hutovo blato: D.T1.4.2. Training: Hutovo Blato Biodiversity, seminar and webinar.
  • April 2022, Mostar: D.T1.3.10. Mostar Fair presentation
  • May 2022, Kotor: D.T1.4.4. Training: Touristic presentation in English, webinar.
  • June/July 2022, Kotor: D.C.2.1. Closing Conference, seminar, and webinar.

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