Centralparks workshop in Magura National Park, Poland

A workshop “Strategy for the sustainable development of tourism based on the natural and cultural wealth of Magura National Park and its surroundings”, co-organized by the Ekopsychology Society (leader of the Centralparks thematic work package No 1 “Integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the Carpathian Region”) and the administration of Magura National Park was held in Krempna (Poland) on 21-23 June 2021.  

What is behind this event?

This event, attended by 30 participants, marked the next phase of implementation of the Centralparks pilot action in Magura National Park, aimed at testing the usefulness of solutions proposed in the draft Strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians, elaborated in 2019-2020 under the Centralparks project in support for the implementation of the Protocol on Sustainable Tourism (Bratislava, 2011) to the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (Kyiv, 2003) at the local and regional level, accordingly to one of the priorities of the current Polish Presidency of the Convention. 

Strategy for local sustainable tourism development based on natural and cultural heritage of the Carpathians

The above strategy, addressed solely to the local level public authorities and stakeholders (e.g. municipalities, protected area administrations, and local Destination Management Organizations) aims at enhancing the contribution of tourism to the sustainable development of the local economy in the Carpathian region, and lowering the impact of tourism on the fragile mountain ecosystems in the most ecologically sensitive areas (part of which is protected in national parks) by redirecting and channeling part of the tourist traffic to municipalities located in protected area buffer zones. The draft Centralparks strategy concerning local sustainable tourism development was submitted in June 2021 for the endorsement by the Carpathian Convention.

The purpose of the Centralparks workshop in June 2021 was to bring together the most relevant and active local stakeholders, form an efficient local partnership, and prepare a series of 4 thematic workshops (planned for October 2021) for the elaboration of a local strategy for sustainable tourism development based on the natural and cultural wealth of Magura National Park and its surroundings.  

Magura National Park

Some of the workshop participants during a site visit to the National Park area, guided by Park staff © Zbigniew Niewiadomski

Magura National Park constitutes the main tourist attraction of the region targeted by this Centralparks pilot action, harbouring both natural areas and numerous cultural heritage monuments, providing for its high potential for tourism development, although not yet fully discovered and seriously damaged by mass tourism. The national park invests considerable funds (from both in-country and external sources, e.g. Interreg Poland-Slovakia) in the development and maintenance of hiking trails, nature paths, cycling and horse-riding routes, along with accompanying infrastructure (e.g. bridges, signposts, rain shelters in rest areas, car parks and bicycle stands, information boards) as well as preserving the historical and cultural heritage of the region (e.g. renovation of chapels, roadside crosses and cemeteries, placing interpretation panels in sites of the former, no longer existing villages).

More on the workshop

During the workshop in Krempna the representatives of Magura NP administration and local communities jointly assessed the current state of tourism development in 7 ‘gateway’ municipalities surrounding the national park, carried out a SWOT analysis, identified and inventoried their local assets (incl. local products and tourist attractions) perceived as specific local competitive advantages for the sustainable tourism development. NP employees presented and analyzed data deriving from the tourist traffic monitoring carried out since 2005, and informed on the new investments in tourism infrastructure planned by the national park administration in the coming years (e.g. lookout towers and historical heritage interpretation points).

Monika Ochwat-Marcinkiewicz, representing the Centralparks partner Ekopsychology Society © Zbigniew Niewiadomski

Further steps

In the course of the workshop Mr. Norbert Kieć, Director of Magura NP expressed the readiness of the national park administration to coordinate the implementation of the future joint local strategy, while several community mayors expressed the willingness to conclude a partnership agreement with the NP concerning the above local initiative.

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