Tourists in Theth benefit from solar water heaters
Presently 11 guest houses in the National Park of Theth, which have installed solar water heaters, provide better services to the increasing number of tourists visiting the area. Ask Marie Marku-one of the programme beneficiaries who speaks out about the way the intervention increased their income due to tourism.
” I never thought that such an intervention would have such a great impact. The numbers of guests have doubled because thanks to the solar panels, the guest houses have functioning showers and warm water is made available for kitchen use”.
- 11 guest houses in the National Park of Theth have been equipped with solar water heaters
- During 2011, 12,000 tourists visited Theth compared to 300 in 2006
The National Park of Theth shelters one of Albania’s largest woodlands, protecting a wide range of endangered species and is surrounded by the Albanian Alps making it the perfect tourism destination. Within an area of 2630 hectares, there are around 80 water sources and three permanent waterfalls. One of the most natural beauties in Albania is the waterfall of Grunas which was declared in 2002 as a natural monument protected by the state. Around 50 % of the different kinds the plants that grow in Albania or 14 % of the total grown in Europe are found in Theth.
The Valley of Theth is distinguished by houses constructed of stone, which are high and strong, standing out for their significant protective character.
Theth, the heart of the Albanian Alps, offers a spectacular trip to the wild nature and delicious cuisine with entirely organic ingredients.
However, the park often lacks electricity as the local power station does not always functional and the village is not connected to the grid. Other than the local tourism, there are very few economic activities due to its remoteness, distance from markets and the lack of suitable agricultural land.
Due to its breathtaking beauty, the area has attracted many development actors, including UNDP, to support development of echo tourism. 23 guesthouses are operational. The number of visitors grows by the year. During 2011, 12,000 tourists visited Theth compared to 300 in 2006.
In 2012 UNDP, through Solar Water Heating project and GEF Small Grants Programme provided 11 guesthouses with Solar Water Heaters.
This initiative ensures hot water for showers and other domestic use. In addition 10 guesthouses and the local infirmary have been equipped with scalable photovoltaic systems that provide electricity supply for lighting purposes.
The owners of the guest houses have co financed the cost of installation. These interventions have improved the quality of services offered by the guesthouses and helped strengthen the local economy through sustainable eco tourism.