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About Belarusian Association of Agro- and Ecotourism “Country Escape”

o_nasBelarusian Association of Agro- and Ecotourism “Country Escape” is a non-profit nongovernmental organization created in November 2002. Its members comprise more than 600 people. These are mostly Belarusian countrymen who are willing to master a new profession and provide Bed & breakfast services on their farms. These are people of different ages and professions: teachers, farmers, economists, old age pensioners. They wish to start their business, to earn a decent living for themselves and their families as well as to inspire life in their villages, which often get abandoned and ruined.

The main objective of Belarusian Association of Agro- and Ecotourism “Country Escape” is to support activities of entrepreneurs who wish to work in that business as well as assistance to the development of rural tourism in Belarus.

Belarusian Agro- and Ecotourism Association tasks include:

  • Getting people involved into rural and eco-tourism, enhancement of their economic and social activity;
  • Development of tourism and environmental projects contributing to the development of rural tourism;
  • Popularization of rural and eco-tourism;                          
  • Contribution to the development of national legislation related to the provision of housing and accommodation services for tourists in the country;
  • Promotion of international cooperation along the lines that are in conformity with Association’s objective.

Belarusian Association Agro- and Ecotourism “Country Escape” is one of the few public associations that work with rural population and is trying to develop their economic and social activity.

Our main activities:

  • Four International Conferences on rural tourism were held (2003, 2009-2011)
  • The team of trainers in the field of rural tourism is prepared
  • More than 200 workshops for rural tourism providers (from different regions of Belarus) were held
  • More than 800 were united in the frame of Association
  • More than 200 articles, interviews, notes on the pages of national newspapers were published, more than 100 television and radio programs on rural tourism were announced
  • More than 15 international projects in the sphere of agro- and ecotourism and sustainable development were implemented
  • Rural Tourism Festival “Zaborsky Fest” is held in Zaborje village Rossony district Vitebsk area (since 2005)
  • Active participation in the international and Belarusian exhibitions, fairs, congresses, forums (The First International Conference on rural tourism (2003), First Rural Tourism Congress (Spain, 2003), Forum “Slow Food”, WTO seminars (Ukraine, 2003, Czech,2004 ), Business Forum in Klaipeda (2005), the main tourism fairs – ITB (Berlin 2006, 2008), Reisepavillon (Hannover, 2006), World Congress on Rural Tourism (Oslo, 2007), General Assembly of WTO (Columbia, 2007))
  • More than 20 booklets and workbooks on rural tourism were published
  • Participation in organizing Belarusian - Lithuanian historical and cultural expedition “Big Neman-Nyamunas” (July 2006)
  • Participation in designing “National Program of Tourism Development in Belarus on 2006 – 2010”, “Law of Tourism”, and legislation in the sphere of rural tourism
  • Belarusian Association “Country Escape” is a member of European center for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism (ECEAT),  The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), European Federation of Farm and Village Tourism (EuroGites), Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII)
  • Our Association signed an agreements with Lithuanian Association of Rural Tourism, Russian National Association of Rural Tourism, Professional Association of Innkeepers International (USA)
  • We worked out a special system of classification and categorization for farmsteads
  • Our Association organized several familiarization tours on farmsteads
  • Educational program “Laboratory of Rural Tourism” for rural tourism providers with using of the best local experience and international methods was designed. It includes 3 levels: basic, advanced and special courses.
  • We worked out and designed the following web-sites: www.ruralbelarus.bywww.greenways.by,www.greenbelarus.com
 
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