Green tourism

A low-impact tourism is an approach to tourism committed to sustainable development and aimed at preserving the biodiversity and cultural resources of a natural area.

The ecological value of Svydovets and the traditional livelihoods of the region provide opportunities for a local economy that is based on an intact environment. Raising awareness of social and environmental issues among all stakeholders is essential.For example, hiking in a “Svydovets” natural park, accompanied by a local guide, generates an income for local communities without adversely impacting the ecosystem of Svydovets.

Currently, mushrooms, blueberries and other berries are picked by local people from the surrounding villages and sold unprocessed in Hungary, Italy and Switzerland instead of being processed on site. The infrastructure needed to ensure the added value of these products is at present beyond the reach of the local population. It is therefore essential to build up the infrastructure and knowledge to transform these high-quality products on site. In addition, alpine pastoralism, traditional in this region, should be supported and associated with ecotourism and gastronomy to provide a livelihood for hundreds of people.

As stated in the “Transcarpathian Regional Development Strategy”, the potential of ecotourism is generally recognized by the regional authorities. However, it is clear that the construction of mega ski resorts does not adequately benefit local populations, as shown by the cases of Bukovel and Pirin. The development of a form of ecotourism with a low impact on nature can offer income opportunities that would benefit more than a handful of people.

The aims of this ecotourism are to:

  • Discover the beauty of Svydovets with a low socio-environmental impact
  • Raise awareness of the cultural and environmental issues of the site visited
  • Generate sustainable economic benefits for the local population
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and local communities
  • Provide direct funding necessary to preserve the environment
  • Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of local communities and work to promote their empowerment.
A comprehensive reform of forest management should make it possible to develop Svydovets’ main resource after water and biodiversity. This requires the reintroduction of tree species native to the massif and a form of forest exploitation that respects the ecosystem and promotes the diversity of species. Clear-cutting or industrial monoculture coniferous plantations must be stopped, as should the use of huge felling machines that destroy vegetation and soils. Instead soft methods to access the timber should be promoted, such as horses, light, small-scale machines and cabling. The Ukrainian authorities should make sure that no more wood is harvested than the annual natural regrowth. Local small and medium-sized wood processing companies should be encouraged. This will require at least the enforcement of the existing export ban of logs.