Sergii Chernov, Chairman of Kharkiv Regional Council was holding a meeting on the issue of developing rural (green) tourism in communities of Kharkiv region. Liudmyla Nemykina, Chairman of the Standing Commission on budget of the Regional Council, Valeriia Muraieva, Chairman of the Standing Commission on youth policy, sport, culture and tourism, Valentyna Kholodok, Director of Kharkiv Organizational and Methodological Tourist Center, representatives of traveling agencies and scientists who study the local lore took part in the discussion of opportunities and challenges with respect to development of rural tourism.

 When opening the meeting, the Chairman of the Regional Council stressed on importance of promoting development of tourist industry in the region, as it will ensure inflow of investments and new job formation at long last and, undoubtedly, will popularize our region.

Sergii Chernov noted, “Kharkiv region has an extraordinary tourist potential. There are 784 cultural heritage sites in our region, 235 of which are located in rural areas. The experience of European counties proves that the green, gastronomic tourism and event tourism promote, in particular, business activities in rural areas. Intra-regional tourism accounts for two third of all tourist trips in Europe, and every 11th working place is organized in this industry. As a result, we can observe development of infrastructure, increase of budgets revenues.”

The participants of the meeting put an emphasis that the use of the tourist potential of communities in Kharkiv region is considered relevant today. It is necessary to give a boost to development of domestic tourism under the conditions of quarantine operations, as long as possibility to travel abroad is limited.

“Intensification of the information component is the very key activity of the communal establishment “Kharkiv Organizational and Methodological Tourist Center”. Our team has implemented a number of projects focused on popularization of tourist objects in the region. It involves, in particular, creation of informational plates on historical and cultural sites with QR codes.  Speaking of which, you can hear the information in six languages. Besides, you can create a route of your travel in the region using google maps, since the most attractive objects have been added to google maps.

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In partnership with non-profit organization “Cultural initiatives”, mini-project “Introduction of tourism in rural areas as a basis for empowerment of women’s leadership”, has been started within the framework of the project “Center of gender culture as a platform for both women’s empowerment principles and principles of youth empowerment” which is financed by the European Union,” – said Valentyna Kholodok, Director of Kharkiv Organizational and Methodological Tourist Center.

In the course of the meeting the case touched upon importance of communication between communities, creation of infrastructure in the vicinity of historical and cultural sites and their availability for people with reduced capabilities.

Valentyna Kholodok told the specific project “Open palm” is running in the region, and free excursions under 10 tourist routes are arranged for people with reduced capabilities under the scope of this project.

Sergii Chernov stated that preparation of infrastructure projects should include a social factor and cater to the needs of people with reduced capabilities:

“This principle should be included into the programs of regional development, not only related to social and economic directions  but also culture, education and, by all means, development of local self-government. Having included this social factor, allocating funds with respect to it, though initially insignificant amounts, we will, thus, set an example and gain the necessary experience that will be applied in projects of green tourism development, and besides, it will look attractive to our partners who specialize in this industry. Moreover, they understand that they will invest just a certain amount of money, and the other part will be targeted from local budgets and by combining these resources, we will get a decent result.”

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