06 June 2023
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Own ECO brand, tourism development and business support – life of Synevyr municipality in Zakarpattia region

Synevyr municipality of Zakarpattia region began its journey by elaborating its development strategy with the support of U-LEAD with Europe. This approach made it possible to outline the key areas that became priorities in their work.

“When we started working on the hromada’s development strategy, we did not have a clear understanding of what we were trying to achieve. After talking with U-LEAD experts, we began to see the picture, and understood that the direction in which we will move is the ECO style. To be honest, it was something new for us and not completely clear, but we received the necessary expert support and became more confident in that we are choosing the right path», – recalls Ivan Chup, head of Synevyr municipality.

Zakarpattia region is attractive for tourists, as there are many interesting places for recreation. Synevyr National Nature Park, where the lake of the same name is located, attracts tourists from all over Ukraine. Synevyr municipality knew this, so they decided to base their strategy upon the ecological tourism.

The municipality’s development strategy was elaborated and officially approved by the session of the local council, which marked the beginning of a new stage in the development of the hromada. The municipality’s leadership understood that this strategic document is only the first step, and the result can be achieved only when the set goals are achieved.

Project management experts of Synevyr municipality began to work on the implementation of the planned measures, looking for tenders that would allow them to carry out their plans and other initiatives. Thus, Synevyr municipality even became a participant in “Our Hromada” television project, where it first declared its readiness to develop eco-tourism on its territory.

Subsequently, the municipality won the “Business-Friendly Municipality” competition implemented by the U-LEAD with Europe. The head of the municipality noted that many local residents did not fully understand the essence of the idea with the development of the eco-cluster, so it was important for them to get some expert support.

“When people hear about our hromada, they immediately think of Synevyr Lake or the National Nature Park, but besides that, we have many other places to relax and start local businesses that few people know about. It was important for us to plan everything so that we had a roadmap for our further steps. Such a map in our case is the “Synevyr-ECO” project, which became the winner and received funding from U-LEAD. We received the necessary impetus, worked out an algorithm of actions, and, most importantly, received support from local residents, who began to join our initiatives and express their willingness to help,” the head of the municipality emphasizes.

The “Synevyr-ECO” project began with the desire to develop the production of own craft teas. This initiative was joined by local entrepreneurs and residents who collected herbs and flowers for tea on their own. At first, they were participants in educational trainings held as part of the project, and later they became part of the tourism cluster initiative “Synevyr-ECO”, which included producers of various products typical for the territory of Synevyr municipality.

“This project helped us finally decide that Synevyr municipality is living and developing in the ECO style. Now we perfectly understand that this is the main direction of our development. In fact, our entire territory is within the boundaries of the Synevyr National Nature Park, which gives us its advantages in the form of clean environment”, - emphasizes Maryana Misyk, project manager of the municipality and one of the project authors.

The Synevyr-ECO brand positions itself as a brand of ecological tourism and traditional natural products: herbal teas, dairy products, honey, jam, syrups and pastries. The main condition is that all products must be artisan and made exclusively according to local recipes, which gives it a special flavour and authenticity.

As part of the project, a special information resource “Synevyr-ECO” was created, which contains all information about tourist routes, local products, master classes and other opportunities for recreation in Synevyr municipality.

Thanks to the “Synevyr-ECO” portal, tourists can find the proper hiking route or excursion for which they can sign up online. A team of local tour guides offers a lot of interesting activities that will help tourists fully understand the essence of eco-tourism.

“We create something unique for those who value natural taste and seek maximum benefit. We give peace, harmony and restoration through unity with nature”, - this is how the mission of the Synevyr-ECO project was outlined by its authors.

The municipality had a responsible and serious approach to the development of an eco-brand, which is also part of the Synevyr-ECO project. The process of creating the brand engaged scientists who helped to choose the right flowers, herbs or other plants for making teas and other drinks. The municipality signed a partnership memorandum with one of the educational institutions, whose researchers will join hromada’s initiatives and help in their implementation.

“We have set ourselves the task of developing a small craft business that is specific to our territory. This approach will allow us to preserve our identity and traditions of the Carpathian region. We especially support innovative business projects, we always encourage local entrepreneurs and municipality residents to generate new ideas,” told Ivan Chup.

According to him, if Synevyr municipality loses its identity and uniqueness, it will have a negative impact on the number of tourists who come to them every year.

“We do everything to ensure that tourists stay in the municipality for at least two days. Accordingly, just a trip to Synevyr lake will not be enough, we need to create something new and offer it to our guests,” the head of the municipality added.

On average, more than 200,000 tourists visit Synevyr municipality each year. Such a flow of visitors contributes to the development of trade, including craft production. This situation has a positive effect on the development of recreation centers and hotel facilities, as well as other infrastructure.

The management of the municipality understands that for tourists and guests, infrastructure plays a key role, which includes a number of aspects, starting from high-quality road surface to the availability of a mere ATM. Therefore, in Synevyr municipality, they make maximum efforts to develop infrastructure and increase comfort for tourists, which is subsequently reflected in new revenues to the local budget and hromada’s promotion.

“Synevyr municipality at the very start of their activity had certain problems with budget replenishment. Despite the well-developed tourist destination, the local budget sometimes lacked funds to cover all needs. The situation was quite difficult, but the leadership of the municipality managed not only to stabilize the situation in the first year of work, but also to immediately take a course for the development of Synevyr municipality. This has been significantly intensified by the elaborated development strategy, subsequently the first grants won, an investment passport, the search for foreign partners and other steps in this direction. The municipality did not wait for someone to provide them with support, but actively worked to attract new resources. It is important that Synevyr municipality, having developed a strategy, knows where it is going, has a professional and proactive team, which is their most important resource”, emphasizes Mykola Siusko, head of the U-LEAD Regional Office in Zakarpattia Oblast.

There is an Entrepreneur Support Center in the municipality, also created within the framework of the “Synevyr-ECO” project with the support of U-LEAD with Europe. The Center’s specialists provide consulting support for business representatives and help them find resources for the development of their own business. In addition to consultations, the Center helps to write project proposals for participation in competitions, and there are already successful examples when local businesses received grants for the purchase of equipment.

Local business often joins round tables and discussions on issues related to hromada development. Such a model of cooperation allows the municipality to clearly understand the directions that should be developed in order to support small and medium-sized enterprises, as they receive direct requests from business representatives.

In 2022, Synevyr municipality, with the support of U-LEAD experts, developed its investment passport that will serve as a guide for local business development and attracting new investments. The document was a continuation of previous developments and will strengthen the status of Synevyr municipality as the one that develops a tourist eco-cluster on its territory.

“For municipalities like ours, which did not have sufficient experience in implementing projects, cooperation with international programs, in particular U-LEAD with Europe, is extremely important and necessary. Expert support plays a key role in the formation and development. For example, we had no experience in project management, but everything was explained to us in detail, our employees underwent comprehensive training, and we are already writing project applications ourselves and winning grants to implement our ideas. We know that we can always count on support from the regional office or other U-LEAD experts, which gives us confidence and new strength”, summed up Ivan Chup.


war stories stratehiia rozvytku international support tourism dovkillia investments


Закарпатська область


Синевирська територіальна громада


U-LEAD with Europe

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