Green Tourism on the Rise
Trends have a way of making their way across the continents. With the growing popularity of eco-friendly vacations, Ukraine, home to mountains and ocean shores, forests and endless steppes, is making its own mark in the green tourism trade internationally.
Rural areas of the country are the main beneficiaries of this alternative form of tourism. In villages where jobs are scarce and manual labor is often the only option for earning a steady wage, Ukrainians are opening their houses and hearts to curious travellers. Connected to the land, villagers are finding that visitors not only pay the bills but offer an opportunity for some to show off their exceptional craftsmanship.
The Union of Green Tourism Promotion in Ukraine, a non-profit organization, founded in 1996, promotes self-employment of rural populations, facilitates the development of adequate infrastructure, and educates travellers about Ukraine’s lush and diverse native land and the cultural and historical heritage of the country. Organizing folk art exhibitions as well as offering training to potential hosts complements the Union’s mission. By instilling a sense of pride and ownership in the future of rural communities, the organization seeks to make ecological concerns a top priority for government leaders.
Hosts are vetted and the eco-label, “Zelena Sadyba” is awarded to rural tourism accommodations which meet one of three quality grades. Tourist guides, catalogues and manuals detailing available options for travellers are regularly published by the Union as well. Practically all of Ukraine’s rural areas are ripe for green tourism trade except of course for the region around Chernobyl. With over 20 regions in Ukraine currently active in the Union network, the country is well on its way to becoming an eco leader. Travellers to Ukraine can not only enjoy the beauties of the landscape, but may just be given an opportunity to milk a cow or a goat or make a block of cheese.