Eco-tourism is a commonly used word today, but just as “sustainable” people use it without putting too much sense in it.
What is Eco-tourism?
If you search for the meaning – this is what probably you will get:
- Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
- Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
- Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
- Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
- Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
- Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.
Eco-tourism should be close to the nature and not harmful in any way. It should serve to the small local community and give possibility for development and population of areas outside the influence of big cities or resorts. It is related to the consumption of products, which are local with much higher quality, 100% ecological and help the local people survive. This is what we are aiming at in Golets. We didn`t build new houses, but renovated old ones making them livable. We also tried to do something for the environment as filtering the water we use so it can go back to the nature. We encourage our guests to visit the village and buy products as honey, cheese, milk etc. when it is available from the local people.
Why eco-tourism is so important for Eastern Europe?
Eco-tourism supposes moderate concentration on the whole territory of a country. Not as the big resorts. This means sustainable and equal growth for all the regions in parallel.While in the developed countries we can see clear strategies for development of all regions, this is very unlikely for Eastern Europe. Without traditions and deeper understanding of the free market economy we can see in the past 20 years developments going crazy in certain areas and other remain underpopulated and left alone without any economic strategy for revival. In Bulgaria we got the whole Black sea over-developed with too many tourists without adequate infrastructure and basically offering bad and cheap product. The same is the case with Bansko – mountain resort. So many huge hotels got built with basically no infrastructure and not enough ski facilities.
The Balkan mountain on the other hand is famous with numerous historical and natural landmarks and still we don`t see clear strategy from the government for sustainable development of the area. Therefore the European Union programs for development of the rural areas and the conscious choice is so important. In the area there is too much poverty, unemployment and under-population.
Eco-tourism could be one of the key factors for the revival and uplift of Easter Europe. The countryside has lots to offer – it is just waiting to be discovered…