Project Results

Tourism Management Planning

The core activity of the project is the development of tourism management plans for the three Biosphere Reserves. Following the methodology "Sustainable Tourism Management Planning for Biosphere Reserves" the partners involved local stakeholders to develop a joint vision and a concrete work programme for sustainable tourism development in the region.
Research about ecology, land use history, tourism impacts and the potential for tourism supported the development of the plans.

Related activities:

Tourism Management Plan for Aggtelek Biosphere Reserve (AG 5)
Tourism Management Plan for Babia Góra Biosphere Reserve (BG 2)
Tourism Management Plan for Šumava Biosphere Reserve (SU 3)
Research of land use history and landscape changes (AG 2)
Research of ecological and tourist carrying capacity (AG 4)
Eco-physiographic Study (BG 1)
Evaluation of the sustainable tourism potential (SU 2)
Integration of Natura 2000

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Promoting Biodiversity

The overall goal of this project is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity through the development and implementation of sustainable tourism practices in the 3 participating Biosphere Reserves. To demonstrate how sustainable use can be realised and to motivate stakeholders to follow these initiatives and to engage in the promotion of biodiversity themselves, numerous activities have been implemented ranging from the development of model products and the establishment of certification and labelling systems to granting programmes and promotional activities.

Related activities:

Model Products:

Establishment of a local bus line (BG 5)
Elaboration of a sustainable tourism package (BG 10)
Adaptation of an old house for tourism purposes (BG 11)
Tourism product Development (AG 9)
Gömöer Torna Festival (AG 14)

Certification and Labelling:

Šumava Original product - Certification of sustainable products and services (SU 6)
Introduction of a regional labelling system (AG 16)


Grant Scheme: Support of sustainable tourism in the Šumava Mountains (SU 5)
Development of a marketing plan (AG 15)
Grant scheme for the renovation and use of traditional buidlings (AG 17)
Annual contest for the best tourism facility (BG 12)


Presentations at fairs (BG 12)
Internet site (BG 14)
Website development and maintenance (AG 13)
Development of a marketing plan (AG 15)
Material on cultural heritage (AG 8)
Establishment and enhancement of visitor centres (BG 15)
Interregional events (BG 9)

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Indicators for Sustainable Tourism and Monitoring Systems

To promote biodiversity issues in the tourism sector and to ensure the sustainability of future tourism development compilations of indicators for sustainable tourism were elaborated and discussed with local stakeholders. Based on these indicators and following the initial research and surveys in the Biosphere Reserves, monitoring systems were developed. The "Criteria for Sustainable Tourism" served as a basis for this work. For the specific topic of trail development and construction, the "Trail Planning Guide" was elaborated.

Related activities:

Indicators of sound tourism and monitoring system (AG 1)
Research of ecological and tourism carrying capacity (AG 4)
Guidelines on sound tourism for stakeholders (AG 12)
Monitoring of tourism and its impacts on biodiversity (BG 7)

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Capacity Building and Trainings

To enable and support the active participation of local stakeholders in the establishment and implementation of the tourism management plans a series of capacity building measures has been implemented. Furthermore, trainings on sustainable tourism development (e.g. tourist guiding, handicrafts, organic farming) were held in the three Biosphere Reserves. Many of the training measures were implemented with the support and participation of cross-border partners. The "Sustainable Tourism Training the Trainers Programme" served as a basis for the individual training programmes in the Biosphere Reserves. ETE held a first training of trainers in Banska Stiavnica (Slovakia) in November 2005.

Related activities:

Education, trainings and round table discussions on sustainable development (SU 9)
Training and promotion of local tourist guides (SU 10)
Training of craftsmen (BG 21)
Training of guides (BG 22)
Training courses on activities related to tourism (AG 6)
Material on cultural heritage (AG 8)

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Revitalisation of Cultural Heritage

The revitalization of old skills, such as handicrafts or local food production together with local feasts and other traditions is not only important to revitalise and develop further the region's potential for sound tourism activities but also to raise self-identification among the local population. Manifold activities were carried out together with the locals to identify and portray the cultural heritage in the three regions and to make the information about it available to the public. Local people were encouraged to invest in the heritage and to use it for tourism purposes. Trainings were offered to revitalise traditional skills and model tourism products established to demonstrate how the sustainable use of the cultural heritage can contribute to the local economy.

Related activities:

Adaptation of an old house for tourism purposes (BG 11)
Elaboration of a catalogue of house construction plans (BG 16)
Remodelling of flock master's hut and renewing pasturage (BG 17)
Establishment of a living museum on pastoralism (BG 18)
Training of craftsmen (BG 22)
Database of tourism attractions and services (AG 3)
Training courses on activities related to tourism (AG 6)
Rehabilitation programmes for traditionally managed areas (AG 7)
Survey of traditional architectural heritage (AG 10)
Recommendations for village rehabilitation (AG 11)
Grant scheme for the renovation and use of traditional buidlings (AG 17)
Revitalisation of the cultural potential (SU 7)
Grant Scheme: Support of sustainable tourism in the Šumava Mountains (SU 5)

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Sustainable Tourism Infrastructure and Trails

Insufficient or missing infrastructure contributed to the threats tourism posed to valuable ecosystems in the regions. Therefore, the Biosphere Reserves engaged in improving the existing infrastructure, including the National Parks' visitor facilities, and developed new concepts for visitor management, constructed new facilities and enhanced in particular the trail system together with cross-border partners. For the design and construction of trails, the "Trail Planning Guide" served as a manual how to ensure the sustainablity of trails.

Related activities:

Development of a Polish-Slovak net of cross-border trails (BG 3)
Establishing and rationalising of trails (BG 4)
Establishment of a local bus line (BG 5)
Limitation of access to forest roads and improvement of parking lots (BG 6)
Reconstruction of mountain shelter and improvement of tourism infrastructure (BG 13)
Establishment and enhancement of visitor centres (BG 15)
Proposal for a Bavarian Austrian Czech net of cross-border tourist trails (SU 4)
Grant Scheme: Support of sustainable tourism in the Šumava Mountains (SU 5)

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Policy and legal framework

The consideration of the legal framework and the actual local and national policies regarding biodiversity conservation and tourism development is a crucial factor for the successful implementation of the tourism management plans. One goal of the project was to review the legal framework and the policies impacting the three regions in order to point out stength and weaknesses that contribute or hinder the implementation of sustainable tourism strategies.

The "Background Study on Institutional and Management Frameworks in the Biosphere Reserves Aggtelek (Hungary), Babia Góra (Poland) and Šumava (Czech Republic)" aims at identifying opportunities and challenges for an improved visibility of the Biosphere Reserves as a basis for sound tourism development in the respective regions. read more...

The Study on the Review of Policies and Legal Framework identifies gaps in legislation and policies and shows how legislation and policies in the three countries should be changed to enable long-term sustainable development. read more...

The results of the different studies have been intergrated into the tourism management plans for the three Biosphere Reserves.

Related activities:

Background Study on Institutional and Management Frameworks
Study on the Review of Policies and Legal Framework
Recommendations for the improvement of policies and legal frameworks (BG 19)
Proposal of a management system for the Biosphere Reserve (SU 1)

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Consultation at local, national and international level

In the process of strengthening the role of the Biosphere Reserves, partnerships with governmental authorities, the private sector and NGOs have been built. Local Stakeholders participated from the very beginning of the project in the so-called Local Steering Committees (LSC). The committees met regularaly to watch the implementation of activities, to approve adjustments and interim results and were involved in the development of the tourism management plans.

At national level, Country Advisory Committees (CAC) were established to link the project activities in the Biosphere Reserves to the actors at national level, e.g. the ministries of environment which played an important role in supporting the project and taking up the outcomes. The members of the Country Advisory Committees support the dissemination of the project experiences and the replication of good practices in other protected areas in the three countries.

The efforts made in the frame of the project to improve recognition and support of the governments for the Biosphere Reserves is resulting in a consultation process on local and national level about the future enhancement of the Biosphere Reserves as testing sites for sustainable tourism development within the three countries and beyond.

At the international level, the project was accompagnied by the International Advisory Committee (IAC). Its mission was to support the overall monitoring and evaluation of the project and to ensure the inter-linkage of components with other relevant international projects and processes. Besides the representatives of the three Country Advisory Committees a range of national and international representatives of UNESCO, UNDP, UNEP/GEF, the CBD Secretariat, UNWTO, IUCN and the Ministries of Environment of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic formed the IAC.

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Trans-boundary Cooperation

All three Biosphere Reserves are located along a national border and have a counter part on the other side:

  • Aggtelek Biosphere Reserve (Hungary) - Slovensky Kras Biosphere Reserve (Slovakia)
  • Babia Góra Biosphere Reserve (Poland) - Horna Orava Protected Landscape Area (Slovakia)
  • Šumava Biosphere Reserve (Czech Republic) - Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany)
The project aimed at fostering the trans-boundary cooperation of the Biosphere Reserves in order to enhance the integrated management with regards to tourism in the areas. Therefore the project was used to organise meetings, to establish joint activities and to enable the active participation of the cross-border partners in the project.

Some of the project activities were directly related to genuine cross-border issues such as the enhancement of cross-border trails in Babia Góra and Šumava. Furthermore, partners from the cross-border areas participated at many project activities, e.g. the training programmes, and they were also involved in the Local Steering Committees.

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The activities in the three Biosphere Reserves

Activities in Aggtelek Biosphere Reserve

Activities in Babia Góra Biosphere Reserve

Activities in Šumava Biosphere Reserve

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Contact: Michael Meyer at Ecological Tourism in Europe (ETE) | tel: +49-228-359008 | fax: +49-228-359096 | e-mail: