Vesselka Consulting Ltd. and WWF-Turkey Proudly Announce the Completion of the Second Members’ Forum of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program

Vesselka Consulting Ltd. and WWF-Turkey Proudly Announce the Completion of the Second Members’ Forum of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program

Vesselka Consulting LtdVesselka Consulting Ltd. and WWF-Turkey Proudly Announce the Completion of the Second Members’ Forum of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program: Sponsored by Danone Ukraine

The Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program successfully concludes its second members’ forum, hosted by the Chaika Green Tourism complex in Hola Prystan, Kherson Oblast, Ukraine from June 11-14 and generously sponsored by Danone, Ukraine.

 

Anatoliy Petrovich Negra, Mayor of Hola Prystan, opened the event at a gala dinner on June 11 and officially welcomed representatives and accommodation owners from Turkey, including Dr. Sedat Kalem, Director of Conservation, WWF-Turkey, Osman Nuri Civelek, Mayor of Azdavay, Kastamonu Province (site of the June 2014 forum), Ismail Mentes of the Küre Mountains Ecotourism Society and the National Program Office in Turkey and Irem Sağlam Fide, Director of the Ilgaz Mountain National Park, an important location just south of the Küre Mountains. The Ukrainian delegation included National Program coordinators Nataliya Tkachenko and Volodymyr Trylis (Board member of the Union of Green Tourism in Ukraine) and heads of rural communities and accommodation owners. The evening was spent getting reacquainted and preparing for two days of working sessions.

 

The first day’s program was opened by Richard Shepard, Director of Vesselka Consulting Ltd., and founder of the Program. The Ukraine National Office opened discussions on the destination sustainability criteria based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s guidelines that will be adapted and applied for each country.  

 

Breakout sessions to discuss the criteria, their benefit and applicability were held following the presentation.

 

On the second day the new destination web-portal design to support the revenue component of the Program was highlighted. Finally, the overall direction and organization for the management of the Program were opened to member discussion. During the afternoon, providing a concrete example of community mobilization and effectiveness, Alexander Vladimirovitch Dolinko, Head of the District Center for Rural Tourism, our host and leader of the Program’s Community Organization led a hands-on tour of the community owned and developed facilities at Tavria Green Farms. This was followed by a walking tour of Hola Prystan with the mayor who described the sustainability and ecological measures taken in the town.

 

The second day’s agenda included a presentation of the Program web-portal design by Ferdinand Weps of TrainingAid, Hamburg, Germany. The portal will be undergo testing and a pilot period beginning at the end of July and will give travellers destination options, detailed information and the ability to book accommodations. This was followed by an afternoon at the Black Sea Biosphere, a UN recognized preserve and meeting with the Director, Dr. Anatoliy Petrovich Yurchenko.

 

On the morning of the third and final day, Danone-Ukraine presented its important and long-running Family Farm Program which emphasises sustainable small dairy farming practices and described how these small family farms not only succeed but flourish and fit into an overall community development program.  

 

Overall, the forum allowed members to provide input into the design and content of the web-portal, delve deeper into the applicable GSTC based criteria and be informed how to create their own community organizations to work with the National Offices and develop business plans, identify eco-tourism products and continue an exchange of ideas and cooperation. Each evening included Ukrainian singers and musicians. 
 
A complementary result of the forum was an invitation from the mayor of Azdavay to form a sister city relationship with Hola Prystan which will be formalized during an official visit to Azdavay at the end of July. 
 
This Program is the only regional venture of its kind for the Black Sea that combines for-profit and community development support and will maintain its commitment to provide unique travel experiences while preserving local cultures and the environment. 
 
About Vesselka Consulting and WWF- Turkey: 
 
For more information please contact: bst@vesselkaconsult.com and ogurbuz@wwf.org.tr referencing The Black Sea Forum.

 

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