The project ECOTOP 2 implemented within V-A Hungary-Croatia Co-operation Programme aims at improving the ecotourism range of service in the Hungarian-Croatian cross-border region.
Recently there has been a significant growth in the demand for eco-friendly tourism destinations and experiences as well as for cycling tourism and local products. However, there is some room for improvement in the quality of the services offered by the rural tourism providers. The target of the project ECOTOP 2 is to explore opportunities and good practices which could set an example for the entrepreneurs in this area on both sides of the border.
The Somogy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the Hungarian project partners, organised a 120-hour course at the beginning of this year for ecotourism service providers and for those who are planning to introduce such services in the future. Furthermore, there was an opportunity in May for 15 participants to practice and expand their English as a foreign language for ecotourism vocabulary in a 60-hour course.
On 14-15 May, 2018, the representatives of the project partners – Somogy Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zala County, Kaposvár University, the Croatian Krizevci College of Agriculture, the Tourist Authority of the Town of Koprivnica – participated in a study trip to explore the ecotourism resources of the Southern-Transdanubian region.
The study trip included less well-known but really unique destinations in the region which are highly interesting for ecotourism enthusiasts.
The participants visited an innovative mobile fruit juice processing plant in Szigetvár and then they could learn about the ways of growing tomatoes on rock wool without using soil. Kaba Farm in Almáskeresztúr provided exclusive hospitality where the unique atmosphere of the place was combined with the owner’s outstanding friendliness. In Cserdi participants could see the Roma community’s exemplary self-empowerment and cultural heritage conservation. According to the mayor, László Bogdán, it is gastronomy with which it is possible to overcome all prejudices and disadvantages. Therefore it is very important to advertise and popularise the Roma dishes. The mayor hopes that the ‘Roma lecsó’ (a traditional dish from tomatoes and paprika) with the brand name Lasipe, which means goodness, will soon be available in supermarkets. Actually, the participants of the study trip had the opportunity to taste it.
Bio-Bia farm is a truly unique experience for nature lovers: they organise so-called “edible forest” hiking tours, where they can learn about the edible weeds and mushrooms from which it is possible to make jams and patés.
The hosts at the destinations of the trip demonstrated that there are countless opportunities and ideas and that kind hospitality does contribute to real relaxation. The study trip contributed to the exploration of the opportunities in the cross-border region in order to be able to expand ecotourism services there.