Two-way Tourism in Eastern Europe

Ann Hills takes a look at the development of tourism in former Communist countries.

As new, off-the-beaten-track opportunities for travel open up in the former Communist countries of Europe, a meeting of minds has to be engineered between travellers wanting to sample aspects of local heritage – an introduction to a closed monastery, or a walk to a hill-top chapel – and the local residents who hope to benefit from small-scale tourism (without being swamped by it). This is the objective at the heart of a pioneering project drawing on experience in Slovenia and Bulgaria – the results of which will be presented at an international workshop on heritage trails this spring.

The gathering at Otocec in Slovenia in early April, marks the culmination of a £200,000 project funded with European Union money and developed over the past eighteen months by Ecotourism, a small, private company that specialises in promoting viable commercial tourism and conservation projects that prioritise local needs and input. Duncan Fisher is its co-ordinator.

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