End of project for making tourism sustainable at the Lake Tisza

The project "Strengthening public participation in the tourism development of the Lake Tisza region" implemented with the support of the PHARE Access programme and the Swiss Foundation for Solidarity Tourism was closed in October.

   Tisza Club from Szolnok and Regional Development Association from Tiszafüred have been our partners in implementing the programme. Our goal was to show a model for the community of the Tisza Lake region how they can use their natural resources as a tourist attraction serving economic and social welfare purposes, while preserving natural values too. Therefore the programme focused on both socio-economic and nature conservation priorities, as tourism development has a significant effect on local employment and also on the potential Natura 2000 and other protected natural target areas.
    An important part of the programme has been the capacity building of the participating NGOs. So Nimfea Environment and Nature Conservation Association has shared its professional knowledge and project leading experiences with the smaller associations and has helped them to find new perspectives and partnerships for future projects.
    Nimfea Environment and Nature Conservation Association provided information regularly about the activities of the programme on its website, and also a dedicated site has been set up at http://www.nimfea.hu/tiszaturizmus/.
In addition an agreement has been made with the coast guards, providing them assistance in patrolling in the affected region. The new motorboat of the association helps to control the fishermen regularly during the fishing period on the Lake Tisza with the help of the coast guards.
   The programme included practical nature protection activities of the river Tisza and the lake Tisza. In spring - at the beginning of the fishing and tourism season – we cleared away a huge amount of waste with the help of school groups from the surroundings of the lake.
   One of the most important focus area of the programme has been the promotion of sustainability principles in tourism development. This activity included several workshops with lectures and discussions, where local decision-makers, the representatives of the local tourism board, nature conservation NGOs and entrepreneurs also participated. These events received extensive media coverage in the local and regional media, thanks to the strong partnership with the organization managing the local television channel.
   During the programme three publications have been compiled and published: a richly illustrated guide-book to the natural values of the Lake Tisza region, including educational trails and other proposed routes; a volume of studies about the agricultural structure and landscape use patterns of the region, including a local development methodology and presenting agri-environmental schemes; the third publication is about the opportunities and threats of tourism development, presenting sustainable development as a framework for tourism, discussing the existing definitions of ecotourism and sustainable tourism, highlighted by several thought-provoking case studies.
   A task of outstanding importance during the programme was giving information to local decision makers, because those people are the most interested in the preservation of the local natural and cultural sources, who feel directly the loss of these sources: that is the local population. We hope that cooperation and the definition of common goals will promote the development of this region in the long run. The only way to avoid social stress and to end conflicts of interests is the establishment of communication and partnership among all the stakeholders. Cooperation and wise local policy-making can be the way towards a sustainable and less vulnerable region in future. Our programme supports the preservation of the values of the lake Tisza in order to maintain its beauty and quiet atmosphere for local people and tourists for a long time in future.


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