There are seven Ramsar swamps in Belarus. A couple of years ago, On the 2nd of February there was signed Convention on waters and swamps in Ramsar. The main goal of the Convention is to reserve waters and swamps by efficient use of them. more info
This time country homestays open their doors to hundreds of tourists, showed their houses, described the services offered, attractions around their B&Bs and of course offered something special to taste. The action involved local tourism administration, craftsmen, folklore groups. more info
The term ‘quest’ is now familiar to homestay owners
In the beginning of May Vidomlya rural settlement hosted an unusual training . The participants got acquainted with an innovative and quiet popular tourist product – questing. Quests are a sort of educational and informative getting one's bearings. After theoretical introduction training participants implemented their knowledge on practical experience: while walking around Vidomlya they defined the key points for a quest, tips and hints, directions. One can say that at the end of the day Vidomlya dwellers already had the first version of quest. more info
Agroecotourism ‘without barriers’ – discussing and acting
Belarusian Association ‘Country Escape’ organized an unusual round table ‘Agroecotourism ‘without barriers’: adaptation of rural tourism to the needs of people with disabilities’. Round table took place on the 29th of April 2013 in terms of Sustainable development week*. It was the first time that such topic was discussed in a wider audience.
The term ‘accessible tourism’ is well-known world-wide while it is still new for Belarus. We are speaking about accessible tourism for all including people with disabilities as everyone has a right to have a holiday no matter how healthy you are.
The event attracted quiet a lot of people – both rural tourism providers and representatives of various institutions and organizations working with disabled people. The discussion was fruitful. Participants of round table decided to address various institutions and Ministries with an open letter dwelling upon accessible rural tourism. Everyone agreed that it is important to point out the question of information about needs and possibilities in accessible rural tourism, training of tourism providers in this sphere, partnership between different stakeholders, creation of database of accessible places in rural areas, improvement of transport accessibility.
The meeting showed the most important thing – people are ready to develop the topic of accessible tourism. Country homestay owners expressed willingness to learn further and adapt their homestay for the need of people with disabilities. On the other hand experts from associations of people with disabilities are also ready to share their experience and knowledge. Therefore it is important to emphasize - the dialog took place and was productive. And we hope that agroecotourism will become accessible in the future.
* Sustainable development week was organized by Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange and Support Program for Belarus from German Federal Government.