CB Water Geopark – Interreg V-A, “Greece- Bulgaria 2014-2020”

The Municipality of Drama implements the project with the acronym “CB Water Geopark”, in the framework of the European Territorial Cooperation Program, Interreg V-A, “Greece- Bulgaria 2014-2020” and in cooperation with four other organizations from Greece and Bulgaria.

Project partnership

  • Municipality of Drama, Greece, as Lead Beneficiary
  • Democritus university of Thrace, Department of physical education & sport, Greece,
  • Municipality of Hadjidimovo, Bulgaria
  • Center for Sustainable Development of the Mountain, Bulgaria

The idea of the proposal was born by the common beliefs of the two partners of the project, namely the municipalities of Hadjidimovo and Drama. Two sides ascertained that the regions around the two municipalities, have common geographical and geophysical features but also similar social-economic characteristics. The cross-border area is rich in natural and cultural heritage, especially in water assets (Nestos river), with significant potential of economic and touristic development.

Weaknesses of the area, are the lack of financial resources, limited road infrastructures and touristic investments. Strengths of the area in relation to the tourism development, are the excellent natural cultural environment, the tradition, the history, the cultural heritage and the proximity to urban and tourist centers. Among the opportunities of the region is the capability of promotion and touristic exploitation of the natural resources in the area, particularly those relating to the water assets.

To valorize the natural and cultural heritage of the cooperation area for touristic reasons, a proper form of alternative soft tourism is Geotourism. The scope of the project is to preserve and promote the natural heritage of the area, and especially water assets, in connection with the history, culture and welfare of the residents in the cooperation area.

The beneficiaries of the project

A. The local society and economy

Publicity actions, outdoor activities and environmental education events in the Geopark and its Geotopes, will enable local community to understand and appreciate the value of the natural heritage of the region, the connection with the tradition and the history and the significance of the preservation and sustainable use of its natural assets. Furthermore, sustainable touristic development improves the welfare of the residents.

B. Touristic market stakeholders

Project’s activities will enable local touristic stakeholders, to understand that via Geotourism natural heritage, can be connected with existing touristic activities and can be integrated in the touristic market. Geopark and Geotopes can be connected with other forms of tourism, giving added value to target area’s touristic capabilities.

C. Local and regional authorities

The scientific studies of the project consist a valuable documentation material useful for the authorities, in future plans for rural and sustainable touristic development.

Project’s outcomes will enhance existing touristic market and will act complementary with other alternatives forms of tourism in the cooperation area, like Agrotourism and Ecotourism. Project actions will valorize and boost previous efforts of the partners for the documentation of the cultural and natural heritage in the area.

The overall objective of the project is, to identify, to study, to describe, to preserve and promote special interest territories, connected with target area’s water assets, for touristic reasons. In other words, main aim of the project, is to promote, enhance and sustain the natural and geographical characteristics of the target area, in strong connection with the heritage, culture, and the sustainable touristic development.Project’s main objective is to create a Geopark in the cooperation area and to define and elevate at least 4 territories with unique geophysical features, the Geotopes. Geopark and Geotopes will be mapped and described in multiple levels (geographically, geophysically and in bioclimatic, fauna and flora level). Accessibility and tourism capabilities of the Geotopes will be improved through the enhancement of the existing trails, paths and routes and through labeling and marking actions.

Geopark and Geotopes will be promoted via communication and dissemination activities and via environmental education and outdoor activities and can be integrated in the local touristic markets.

So natural and cultural heritage of the cooperation area and more specifically the geographical and geophysical character of the area will be preserved, enhanced and valorized for sustainable touristic proposes.

This way the main objective of the project is in alignment with the Interreg program’s priority specific objective.

The main outputs of the project

  • Study on the description and significance of the water assets in the cross-border area. Includes the role and the significance of the water assets in the geographical and geophysical character of the area, the history, culture, mythology and Human’s presence in relation with the water. This study is the basis for the definition of the Geopark
  • Definition, Geographical and Geophysical mapping and description of the Geopark. This output concerns the definition of the Geopark (boundaries/ polygon), mapping and description of its geographical and geophysical and environmental features
  • Assessment of the potential Geotopes’ accessibility and connectivity. Includes assessments, report and suggestion about the accessibility and connectivity of the potential geotopes through national and provincial roads, touring capabilities through existing trails and paths. This assessment is the basis for the selection and definition of the Geotopes.
  • Mapping and description of the Geotopes. More specifically, definition and Geographical mapping of the Geotops and description of its features, (microclimate, fauna and flora)
  • Enhancement works on the existing trails, paths and routes of the Geotopes. Enhancement works aim to improve the accessibility and the touring capabilities.
  • Labeling and marking of the Geopark and Geotopes via road signs. Road sings in the wider Geopark area and marking and labeling within the Geotops, aim to promote and informing the visitors about the Geopark/Geotopes.
  • Conduction of 6 environmental education/outdoor activities events with 120 trainees and conduction of a water festival. These events aim to promote the Geopark, as well as to conduct environmental education activities.
  • Environmental Education Assessment and Practical Guide. This assessment and guide aim to provide instruction for the future design of Environmental Education program on the basis of the Geotourism.