Wander Albania

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The company started initially as an idea to create a portal with content for the attractions of Albania. The mother company was producing applications for e-commerce, small farmers’ portal, etc. and this seemed to be a logical extension. The portal attracted immediately the attention of foreign operators, who asked if we could organize trips, ranging from classic to outdoor activities. We turned to our database of contacts, created during months of wandering in the country – and the answer was yes. Almost all our trips and tours are tailor made based on specific requests of the guests.
Member since: 20 Nov 2019

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

We employ part time only local people who can serve as guides, open house owners, small boat owners, local and traditional culinary meals cooked together with our guests.

Our increased volume of guests has cause small remote areas to increase and use only inside the community, local grown agriculture and dairy products.

Secondary attractions of the areas are also very important topic we discuss and push with the locals, like riding horse or donkey, hiking to natural beauties like small natural lakes, caves and canyons, that only locals know. Open sessions of local food cooking and preparation of jams and raki (national beverage)

We also implement training activities during the off-season period, with the above mentioned category of people. We encourage and train young generation to be motivated to stay in the remote areas in order to offer service during the season. Intensive foreign language course (Mainly English) and courses in rafting, canyoning and hiking are offered sponsored from us in collaboration with other local and foreign NGOs. we also train them how to offer and how to behave toward animals in the presence of the tourists.Occasionally we also donate needed tools for them to perform the activities in collaboration as mentioned above (hiking tools, canoe, rafting rubber boats, mountain bikes).

The most recent project which we supported was sending a horse riding instructor from the capital (payed from us for a three week period) to a southeast village of the area of Permet. He trained the young locals, how to equip a horse or donkey for the transport and ride of adult and kid tourists, different from what they were used too. Also different paths were tested in order for the locals to lear how to maintain certain rules and rythm.

Environmental responsibility

The growth of number of tourists in the last few years in Albania, has led to an increase in the negative environmental and social impacts of tourism, from resource consumption, pollution and the generation of wastes. Because we as a Tour Operator play a central role in the tourism industry, serving as intermediary between tourists and tourism service providers, we can influence the choices of consumers, the practices of suppliers and the development patterns of destinations. This unique role means that we try to make an important contribution to furthering the goals of sustainable tourism development and protecting the environmental and cultural resources on which the tourism industry depends for its survival and growth.

We provide training seminars to local tour leaders, including information on the main environmental and social threats of tourism, particularly trekking trips. The leaders are introduced to best practices that they can promote and recommend when leading tours in environmentally and socially sensitive areas.

1- At the moment in collaboration with AOS - Albanian Ornithological Society, we are offering training on the habits and reproducing periods of birds in the lakes and laggons of Albania, that are always part of our itineraries, in order that tours do not disrupt or damage the wild life.
2- We are training 3-4 families, along the river Buna, wher SUP avtivity is starting to be popular due to optimal natural conditions, to offer the service of "open house" - guests stop for a rest, have some turkish cofee and home grown fruits/vegetables and listen to the stories told by the grandma of the housed dressed in traditional vests.

Responsible travel information has been disseminated to customers via pre-travel information booklets,

We perform routinely cleaning of the paths, with our guests. During the off-season period are engaged with other players in planting trees, for the National Parks. The most recent one is the participation in the initiative – Plant a tree for Saranda – initiative of a group of youngsters whose parents are from Saranda.

1- Albania is a small territory, but in the same time gifted with different nature expressions. The possible wrongdoings from visitors can have an immediate and noticeable impact.We train guide and urge visitors, not to throw bottles, plastic bags or other non biodegradable remnants especially in the narrow valleys, forest paths, mountain small rivers, the lagoons and small lakes. Lagoons and lakes are habitat for many animal and bird species and should be avoided also disturbing noise with motor vehicles etc.
I.E we organize boat silence tour operated by local fishermen to visit the islands were Dalmatian Pelican use to reproduce.
2- We instruct them that fishing is permitted only in some areas and that the hunting is prohibited in all territory for few years ahead.
3- All our guides are equipped with sacs that would carry garbage, whenever a picnic lunch or other activities are offered in the midst of nature. In case of self driving tour, the visitors are equipped too, together with the local sim card and wifi hotspot.
4- Special advice is given for the use of thermal waters that in the most of the cases are to be found in wild nature.

We continuously try to reduce the use of paper and printed brochures. Beside sending the program electronically in PDF we use the Google Keep app for Android and IOS, to distribute the daily program to guides and visitors. At the moment we use paper only for bureaucratic purposes of signed documents with the local institutions. 

Albania is the second country in Europe after Norway for the quantity of water resources and this is a pride for us. Rather than reduce water use we suggest how to benefit in a responsible way. The guests are instructed to start with half a liter at the beggining of their hiking, trekking or cycling session and filling at successive source points during the trip, in order not to carry too much weight, and have always fresh cold water.

We limit the use of plastic bottles, offering reusable bottles together with portable frigobox. In all the destinations there are sources with drinking water.

We book boats like in the case of Komani Lake, that periodically do collect flooding objects in the surface of the waters, by their own initiative. During raining periods the streams and the small rivers would bring ocasionally to the lake plastic bottles and bags. Few of the boats that offer transit from the starting to ending point, which by the way is one of the memorable trips in this country, do collect volunteerily these garbage that floods above the water surface.

We use mostly guesthouses that collaborate in certain areas together with other donators for the re-forestation of the damaged areas during the transition period of years 90-ies.

We frequent more restaurants near agrotourism initiatives that have a friendly attitude toward soil around them.

We rent mostly from renting companies that provide electric cars and e-bikes.

Social responsibility

Aways we try to include mini-concerts of folk songs and dances in our packages. Few young people are being encouraged now to cultivate local traditional music, as opposed to few years ago, when only old people were keeping it alive for their own enjoyment. They see of interest as a complementary part-time activity generating additional revenues.

Always we encourage our guests to buy local hand made products, together with special drinks and food products. We help continuously our local partners to improve the way of presenting their offers and products.

Travellers are provided with accurate pre-trip information on the social and political situation in Albania and we pay attention also, beside the general political situation in Albania, to the specific social situation for every destination up to the most remote place.

Hospitality is one of the most appreciated values among tourists when asked for this country. Albanians are very friendly with foreigners in general, which is coming from ancient times, respecting "besa"code (house of albanian is for the God and the guest). They are very open to others culture and comprehensive. Still we inform them of the local culture and rituals which do not differ too much from all the Balkans area.  

A local guide always accompanies all group visits to local communitie. We always do that, and now are encouraging them to get a license in order to improve their service, in the light of  incrementing number of visitors.

Many youngsters of the rural areas choose to emigrate nowadays. We try to persuade them to enter in the activity of offering  services for the tourists. 
A successful example is the collaboration with an Italian NGO, developing of horse riding activity, home made lunch and dinner services, canoe and hiking guide in a remote village in the Southeast part of the country. They started with 2 horses and now in the third year have increased to ten. Students are coming back in school holidays to take part to these activities together with the same age youngsters of the area

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