STEP 7: Operational Costs
A variety of revenue streams can cover the costs of protection for Studenchishte. Alongside entrance fees and potential commercial opportunities from the passport concept, businesses could offer either sponsorship of information materials or donations in exchange for green certification. This green certification would then be heavily publicized to tourists by the local and national government, so that visitors could support businesses who contribute to wetland protection. This could form an effective marketing technique.
Since Studenchishte is a carbon lock-up, charges or donations from industries/activities that emit greenhouse gases could also be considered to cover costs. For example, non-local cars using the coastal road could be charged a toll. Parking could have a similar surcharge, while airlines may be encouraged to offer voluntary contributions from flyers to Ohrid airport. Meanwhile, a small tax could be levied on items available for sale at the airport or levied on hotel rooms. Far from being hidden, these would be publicized to make visitors more aware of the special natural value of the UNESCO Ohrid region and their own contribution to it.
Finally, development of gifts and souvenirs based around charismatic wetland species and incorporating local crafts should also be considered. Downloads such as Ohrid-specific social media stickers or in-depth materials that build on from the Studenchishte experience may also create small revenue streams.
Profits should be channeled within a green fund to secure habitats, species and ecosystems. Transparency is essential…
NOTE: The above vision for the future of Studenchishte Marsh and the Ohrid region is a summarized version of an initial draft that was submitted to the Municipality of Ohrid. Although it has been created in consultation with experts, many aspects require further input from ecologists and conservation organizations before they should be allowed to proceed. Harmonization of the socio-ecological system of the Ohrid region to enhance prospects for both nature and humans is a challenge that we cannot fail. Therefore, all suggestions must be implemented with utmost caution.