OF THE WORKSHOP
The case studies, presented by participants of
the international workshop "Tourism in Mountain Regions - Influence
on Natural and Cultural Diversity" - from Armenia, Estonia, Georgia,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Hungary, Russia and Ukraine, as well as
later discussions have resulted in the following conclusions:
1. The workshop showed the need for further development and elaboration
of ecotourism as a tool for sustainable development of the region
2. The workshop was an opportunity to establish long-term contacts and
information-exchange between representatives of government, tourism development
agencies, travel agencies and non-governmental organizations from different
3. It is necessary to strengthen these established contacts and to develop
further cooperation through the information-exchange, exchange between
websites, distribution of bulletins, as well as electronic conferences
in the future.
4. The workshop participants express their gratitude to the Open Society
Institute for sponsoring this event trough its East East Program, as well
as considering possible OSI funding for participation of Eastern European
and NIS experts in the subsequent workshop in Latvia in June 2004
The participants of workshop mentioned the following
problems that hamper sustainable tourism in the whole region:
- Absence of preliminary investigation and the detailed planning and management
for sustainable tourism development
- Absence of common standards for proposed ecotourism and agro tourism
products, that is an absence of a tool for making this product marketable
- Unfavorable socio-political situation for international rural tourism
development, because traditionally mostly local tourists and guests from
neighboring countries are the traditional clients of rural and agro tourism.
- One-sided distribution of tourism revenue: often only a trifling amount
of tourism income goes to local peoples
- Shortcomings of environmental legislation and tourism law
- Absence of systematized basic environmental education
- Absence of courses of lectures on ecotourism and rural tourism in specialized
The workshop participants consider, that for sustainable
tourism development in the region the following is vital:
- To provide a wide forum of ideas and discussions for the elaboration
of national ecotourism strategies. The participation of all stakeholders
is necessary in planning, development and management on ecotourism on
the local, regional and national levels.
- To realize a complex of activities towards preparation of protected
areas for tourism (visitor centers, marked trails system, campsites, huts,
promotional and interpretive materials etc.)
- To establish the date collection and monitoring system to measure the
economical and environmental impact from tourism, aimed to provide feedback
and support the sustainable tourism programs in the future.
- To elaborate unified, harmonized standards for products and services
in this field - a tool for giving marketability to ecotourism and agro
tourism products. To develop the promotional material based on these standards.
- To realize the community based tourism projects. Tourism should become
a tool for the collective use and management of resources.
- To contribute to the continual improvement of tourism law from the environmental
point of view.
- To organize environmental courses for tourism business representatives;
tourism planning and management courses for protected areas staff, as
well as special courses for agro tourism and rural tourism
- To elaborate ecotourism and rural tourism education programs, as well
as to contribute to their introduction into specialized educational establishments
- To publish and distribute interpretive, informative and educational
material about natural and cultural heritage and the methods of its restoration
- To create a series of tourism activity regulation materials - instructions,
recommendations, training aids, a Code of Ethics for tour operators and
- To develop wholefood production, i.e. food produced in an organic, harmonious
- To adopt a policy of flexible prices for local and international tourists.
To involve ecological actions in the tour activities (garbage cleaning,
tree planting etc.)
- To organize the locally oriented marketing of tourism products