Paradise for tourists
Rural green tourism is becoming the most common type of recreation in the countries of the European Union. In Poland, Germany and France, for example, the number of its supporters exceeds even the number of people willing to rest at sea. But a hospitable rural mansion is not only an exotic fresh-air leisure for the megapolis inhabitants among the flowering herbs and tweeting birds. It is also a major leverage for the development of rural areas.
We met with Lithuanian Janusz Koiris, owner of the mansion, in Poland.
This is a real village farm with horses, sheep, goats, rabbits, goose and chickens. There are gardens, where potatoes, cucumbers and wheat are being grown. There is a magnificent blue lake with forest around it.
Here the guests can rest from the city hustle and ride a horse. And when they come to the wooden shed, they become the participants a folk programme with songs, dances and fun.
Tourists are delighted and the hosts are happy. The travel business, Janusz has been engaged in for already 30 years, brings profits. He received money for the development of his business from his father.
Such tourism can be called professional. Everyone knows what will happen next, the programme is written in the tiniest detail.
— I’m curious whether you manage to have your vacation? — I ask him.
— I do not know what it means, — Janusz responds. — It’s hard work without holidays and vacations. But I cannot, but do this. This is my mission. A mission to give people joy and love for life.
Napoleon in aid of rural development
Świątki is a Polish rural gmina with a bit more than four thousand people.
One can walk or ride a bike along the paths of Napoleon. The locals made pointers, memorial plaques, tourist maps and other attributes that help tourists navigate.
Gmina’s secretary Jarosław Milewski says that tourism infrastructure development is a priority for the community.
Nowadays, hundreds of households, mini-hotels, farmsteads and rural recreation facilities welcome tourists in Poland.
However, Polish experience has already been introduced in Ukraine, but it is a completely different story.
How to make a Ukrainian mansion hospitable?
The All-Ukrainian Union of Rural Green Tourism was founded in 1996.
Hence, long before the process of European integration, the Ukrainian green mansions began to bring Ukraine closer to Europe.
Oblast branches of the All-Ukrainian Union began to be created. The village resident has everything in order to create a green mansion and start welcoming tourists. He/she just does not know how to be hospitable. The recently introduced system of categorisation at the basic level has consolidated all the standards, including European, in the field of rural green tourism.
Small village with great ambitions
The rural hromada of Popelnaste, located in the Oleksandriya Rayon, on the border of the Kirovohrad and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts, decided to create an educational and cultural centre.
There was a half-destroyed building of 1908 in the village, taken by the village council on its balance. Last year, they prepared documentation and started the reconstruction. And this year they installed a new roof, heating, internal communications. The installation of expositions and work on landscape design are underway.
As in Europe
Last year, Popelnaste was included in the project, sponsored by the US-Polish Foundation for the Support and Development of Green Tourism. For three months there were master classes conducted and study tours organised. This year, they themselves received the guests from Kyiv and the Czech Republic.
With small steps towards the goal
The initiative group (educators, representatives of cultural, governmental sectors, activists and entrepreneurs) plans to make Popelnaste part of the oblast's regional route. For this purpose, they have already created the Hromada Resource Map, held discussions and identified the priority areas for the development of green tourism in the countryside.
Besides, at the beginning of July there was a plein air of artists from Kropivnitskyi, organised by the village council together with the regional art museum in Popelnyste. This event has become historic for the village.
The initiative group is currently developing the concept of the folk crafts festival.
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