As a result of all efforts for development of new tourist opportunities for the region and also the willingness of the local authorities for participation in the protection of the natural heritage at more global level in 2006 was established one new Euroregion - “Stara Planina” (ERSP). The main founders of this organization are 7 municipalities of the Bulgarian side – Belogradchik, Chuprene, Chiprovtzi, G. Damyanovo, Berkovitza, Vurshetz and Godech and from the Serbian part 4 municipalities – Dimitrovgrad, Pirot, Knjazevac and Zajecar.
As part of the long term strategy for local development in 2007 the organization described the main priorities for the development of the tourist sector in the region, which are described as programs:
Þ Program “Training of specialists in the tourism field”
The program has been fulfilled by organizing specific conditions for vocational education and training classes for education of local guides, informational meetings for presentation of the legal framework in the field of tourism and different opportunities for project participation.
Þ Program “Marketing of the destination”
This program gave birth to local specific marketing strategy for the region, which aims mainly of the development, registration and promotion of a local Western Stara Planina brand. Additional to the process of local brand development, promotional materials are elaborated – leaflets, post cards, web page, etc., and the region as a whole took part of two international tourist fairs, and several was attended by the municipalities as single participants.
Þ Program “Establishment of new tourist products and new attractions”
The program is aimed at establishment of new tourist products for the region and development of the natural and cultural heritage in the region – nature phenomenon, cultural events, religious sites as monasteries, churches, crafts etc.
Þ Program “Elaboration of a local system for volunteer certification of tourist products and services”.
As part of the program was stated new type of information and education campaign, for the need of sustainable use of the natural resources, development of certificate frame for direct involvement of local stakeholders in the process of Western Stara planina’s region promotion.