Апр 07 2003

концепция развития экотуризма в Северо-западной части Черноморского побережья

Опубликовано в 19:54 в категории Туризм

концепция развития экотуризма в Северо-западной части Черноморского побережья

И.Т. Русев, Р. Бош, Т.Д. Русева

Сoncept of developing and launching ecotourism

in NW coast of the Black Sea

I. Rusev, R. Bosh, T. Ruseva

Wildlife Conservation, Ukraine

EUCC, The Netherlands

Ukrainian State Research Institute named after Mechnikov, Ukraine

Tourism has, today, become the largest industry in the world and Europe accounts for about 35% of the market. In eastern Europe, nearly 9% of the total work-force is employed in tourist-related jobs. Whatever its scale or nature, tourism is a significant factor in the economic development of many countries and tourist activity is expected to continue to show an upward trend in the future. The World Tourism Organisation expects Central and Eastern European travel-related employment to jump 37% and add nearly six million jobs to these emerging economies.

In Ukraine, tourism is an important source of business. Each year about 2 million people visit the country, about half from eastern Europe and half from western Europe. Prior to 1989, despite political differences with many Western countries, tourism was a major source of foreign exchange and the government developed procedures to cater to this activity. A huge state organisation, Intourist, handled all touring arrangements, and many beryozka, or hard-currency, stores were established to sell a wide variety of souvenirs to foreign tourists. Student travel was handled by Sputnik, the international youth excursion bureau. The Soviet government encouraged domestic travel, and each year millions of Soviet citizens visited parts of the country remote from their own homes. The capital city of Moscow, in particular, was the destination of many Soviet vacationers.

The country contains a wide variety of tourist attractions. Primary cultural attractions include the Old Town of Belgorod-Dnestrovski (2500 old), numerous museums, galleries, theatres, and architectural points of interest in the cities of Odessa. Resorts on the Black Sea are popular with foreign and domestic tourists alike and cruises along the Danube, Dnepr and Dnestr River are also popular. Danube, Dnestr and Dnepr deltas and coastal area with numerous unique animal and plant species, rich biodiversity attracts thousands of visitors annually.

The country also has some areas of outstanding natural beauty. Ukraine has 11 National Parks which allow some recreational facilities. There are more then 20 Reserves, called "zapovedniki", 3 of which are designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Zapovedniki also allow some types of recreational activities. There are also hundreds "zakaznikov", territories where different landscapes, animals, plants, geological and hydrological objects are protected, and "pamyatnikov pririodi", such as forests, caves, lakes and other natural objects. "Zakazniki" are usually created for 3, 5, 7, 10 and more years because of reduction of some species of animals, plants etc. Ukrainian Biosphere Reserves are also zapovedniki, or "strict nature reserves" and are off limits to non-research related or teaching-related activities. However, the Biosphere Reserve "model" stipulates that there is a "core area" surrounded by buffer areas in which "normal" human activities (farming, ranching, etc.) are allowed. In the cases where a Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine is surrounded by such a buffer, ecotourism will be possible in the buffer zone.

Tourism creates jobs and income at multiple levels and in different sectors of the economy, transport, hospitality, communication etc. However, as can be seen in many western European coastal areas, if it is not managed correctly it leads to serious environmental destruction affecting not only the natural environment but also the cultural heritage of communities. Tourism has had a tendency simply to exploit natural landscapes for its own development and ultimately to destroy that natural beauty on which it so depends. Farmland and scenic coastline has been turned into concentrated holiday cities with the infrastructure of roads, harbours and airports necessary to support the tourist population.

Despite the enormous economic benefits that tourism can bring, there are also some very important economic disadvantages. Chief amongst these is the increase of property prices such that local people can no longer afford to live in their own community. Many tourist investments are made by large western companies with no local connections and which bring little benefit to the local economy since most of the profit leaves the area.

Furthermore, the most attractive destinations are located in valuable, and more often than not, vulnerable ecosystems - beaches, dunes, lakes, wetlands, rivers and mountains. Added to this is problem of the extra waste brought by the tourists; sewage often dispersed untreated into waterways; the demand for water; and the removal of solid refuse, often dumped illegally.

In short, this unplanned tourist development has resulted in:

– disruption of local traditions and ways of life,

– pressure on the cultural heritage of the area,

– destruction of the local landscapes,

– damage to wild flora and fauna,

– stress on the local communities,

– locals and tourists competing for the same facilities, and

– local behaviour being influenced by tourists.

There is now an urgent need to design new concepts of tourist management if the sector is not to fall into decline. Certainly, tourists, themselves, have become more environmentally aware in the last few years and thus more conscious of the damage caused. They are making greater demands on the industry to provide more environmentally friendly tourism.

Nowadays, there is a realisation that tourism in one particular community must form part of an integrated approach in the development of the community as a whole. It must also take into account the needs of other sectors so that tourism growth develops in parallel with the other needs of the community. It also has to take into account the mentality of the local population and the habits of local tourist organisations. Tourism developed programmes must also foresee the reasonable management of natural resources and the protection of the environment, preserving other development possibilities for future generations.

In this respect the concept of ecotourism has emerged. This implies that tourism will develop alongside:

– nature compatibility; protecting landscapes, fauna and flora,

– socio-compatibility; preserving traditions, local customs and social structures,

– health compatibility; protecting human and animal health, food and recreation,

– economic compatibility; allowing financial benefits to the region, equitable distribution, fiscal aid and tourist diversity; and

– physical compatibility; guaranteeing the ability of the infrastructure to absorb tourist development gradually.

Such ecotourism enterprises will meet the needs of the tourists and the hosts whilst protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It will manage all resources in such a way that economic, social and cultural needs can be fulfilled whilst maintaining aesthetic values and ecological processes. Ecotourism operates in harmony with the local environment, community and cultures so that these are safeguarded and become the permanent beneficiaries and not the victims of tourist development. It will provide important opportunities to strengthen local industries such as agriculture, fisheries & traditional crafts.

Achieving this type of ecotourism will depend upon a balance of private initiatives, economic instruments and regulations allowing focused local action and new public-private sector mechanisms. In so doing, more importance will be given to the environment as a vital raw material for tourism. The realisation for such tourism will require many of the industry’s segments to pull together. The Council of Europe has recently recognised that something more than the existing international and national instruments are needed; hotels, transport companies but particularly tour operators are particularly important. The tour operators are in a position:

– to formulate environmental policy,

– to incorporate environmental policy into corporate image,

– to include environmentally friendly travel offers,

– to implement and support conservation activities,

– to support minimally acceptable criteria, and

– to influence political decision makers.

We are now at an important moment in the development of ecotourism. The concept has been brought to the attention of the (western) European general public who have accepted and embraced it. It now needs to be firmly grounded in tourist projects to show its conservation and economic potential. This is particularly important for tourism projects in eastern Europe and especially for such region as North-West coast of the Black Sea where a large potential market exists for tourist development, where the countries are crying out for much-needed income and where tourism is still largely un-developed. In Ukraine, it is expected that adventure holidays will become the tourism of the future e.g. the Carpathian mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, mountain climbing, skiing and fishing. If Ukraine is to avoid the mass tourism mistakes that have been made in western Europe, yet still profit from the sector, it is essential that ecotourism practices be introduced as soon as possible.

More specific to the Dnjestr delta it is recognised by the EUCC, GEF, Tacis and EPCEM, with who the Wildlife Conservation has and is corporating, that the success of the Dnjestr delta is depending on alternative sources of income for local people. Tourism, flower and fruit growing are identified as the main sources offering an alternative for the decreasing fish catch. The fish resources are recognised as a major aspect in the biodiversity balance of the delta.

This conversion is under influence of the partners and economic changes slowly preceding but steady. So basic ground for the project of developing and launching ecotourism in this region is prepared.

Aims and Objectives

The primary aim of such kind of project is to develop and launch an ecotourism programme for the Odessa Oblast. This programme will make use of the know-how and experience of an accredited tour operator in the Netherlands. It will help to ensure the economic development of the area whilst ensuring ecological sustainability. The programme will concentrate on two areas of the ecotourist market; (a) the specialist tourist who wishes to combine ecological activities with cultural ones; and (b) business executives and company representatives, particularly from western Europe. The specialist needs of the two groups will be catered for in the programme and emphasis will be placed on the expectations of western European customers.

The programme will build upon support for the development of ecotourism in the Beliaevka and Belgorod-Dnestrovsky districts in the Dnestr delta and, further, in Danube and Dnepr deltas. These will be combined with cultural activities in, and around, the city of Odessa. Initially, the project can work with local tourist agency. As a result, commercial, ecotourist programmes will be defined by both Ukrainian and western partners together.

Ukrainian staff will be trained in the requirements of both tourists and natural areas for the development of successful ecotourist schedules. Attention will be paid to accommodation, food and transport needs as well as communication and information requirements.

A manual on the practical development of ecotourism will be produced based on the experience of the project and distributed within other regions of Ukraine and other Central and Eastern Europe countries currently developing ecotourism.

In particular, the programme should ensure that:

– an ecotourist programme will be initiated in the Odessa Oblast;

– this programme will be designed to meet the needs of different classes of travellers,

– Ukrainian staff will be trained in the needs of these travellers,

– ecological biodiversity and the environmental landscapes of the natural areas visited will be protected,

– historical and cultural values will be preserved,

– safety and security will be guaranteed,

– the process will be sustainable.

Results expected

Information will be collected on all potential ecological sites of interest in the area including any restrictions – both legal and infra-structural.

All tourist agencies in the area will be approached to determine their interest to be involved in ecotourism programmes.

Western European experts on ecotourism will exchange ideas and experience with Ukrainian travel experts during a study tour and workshop.

Proposals for environmental tours will be delineated, taking into account their environmental and wildlife interest, infra-structural capacities and biological restrictions.

Public awareness will be raised for the possibility of ecotourism ventures in Odessa Oblast.

Stable contacts in Ukraine working in the field of environmental tourism will be made to organise permanent information exchange aimed at future transboundary tours through the Moldavia, Romania.

Ukrainian and western European tour operators working together will ensure a long-term, financial viability of the programme. Once the tour operators have adopted a tour as part of their programme, it will become self-financing and guarantee a profit for both operators.

Odessa university staff could l incorporate the principles of ecotourism into their teaching schedules so that it becomes part of the curriculum for future generations of tour operators.

Possible follow-up

It is expected that this kind of project will catalyse further Ukrainian tour operator involvement in ecotourist projects. Furthermore, it is anticipated that standards will rise in Odessa Oblast to meet the needs of ecotourists so that more tourists will be attracted to the area.

The emphasis placed on the corporate sector is expected to ensure a steady influx of business people seeking to both conduct meetings in Odessa and its surroundings and to hold company vacation visits for their employees. This will be further developed by the EU partner organisation.

In order to optimise the knowledge gained and to make the project sustainable on the long term, the university participants will be responsible for incorporating the material and results into appropriate course studies.

Further ecotourist programmes can be worked out, using this project as a demonstration, for other areas of Ukraine and for other countries e.g. Moldova.

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