Exchange of experience for environmentally friendly tourism between Shabla and Madzharovo municipalities

Between 27th and 30th May representatives of Shabla municipality took part in a guided tour organized by the Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds. It aimed at presenting the opportunities for development of local economy that alternative tourism gives in small and medium-sized municipalities.

The participants met the deputy mayor of Madzharovo municipality Ivan Semerdzhiev and the municipality secretary Tatyana Stoyanova. The deputy mayor told about the importance that tourism has for the municipality as the main source of income for its citizens. The municipality representatives noted the good collaboration with BSPB and that conservation activities has attributed to the development of environmentally friendly tourism.

The guests were invited to a tour to the protected areas “Chernata skala” and “Momina skala” where they were delighted to see flying Griffon vultures and rare Orchid species. They also visited “The wild farm” whose owners produce organic veal and accommodate guests at their guest house.

Another stop along the tour was Nature Conservation Center “Eastern Rhodopes”. Its conservation director Stoycho Stoychev told about vultures and other birds of prey in Eastern Rhodopes as well as the contribution of BSPB for their protection and for the development of the region. The interactive exhibition impressed the guests and during the walk to the feeding site for the vultures near the center, they were able to observe Black storks, Griffon vultures, Greek tortoises and others species representative for the region.

A local entrepreneur Martin Kurtev gave a presentation about the opportunities the region provides for tourism all year round. Apart from the birdwatching tours, tours for rare plant species and minerals are also organized. Photos of mammals (wolves and jackals) during the winter and of Griffon vultures during the summer can be taken from specialized hides. Early spring is the time for rafting on Arda river, while late spring, summer and autumn it is for kayaking. More and more educational programs for children are arranged and in late autumn the region is good for photopleners.

The guests also visited a hide for birds of prey watching.

The guided tour was realized within  LIFE project LIFE for Safe Flight and was funded by Whitley Awards/Whitley Fund for Nature.