On May 7 the National Office of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program opened in Pinarbaşi, Turkey. At the ceremony, the Mayors of Azdavay and Pinarbaşi and Richard Shepard, SRDI Board Member, cut the ribbon at the entrance gate and welcomed participants from local business, NGOs, regional economic development agencies and representatives from the Ministry of Forests and Water together with partner representatives from Ukraine. The Program Steering Committee reviewed the Protocol which will govern the implementation of the Program in Turkey, preparing it for signing by the end of May.
Richard Shepard, a Board Trustee of SRDI and Director of Vesselka Consulting Ltd., said that the Program Secretariat, which is the international organ of the Program, will be based in Istanbul and explains why they started with Küre Mountains:
“The Black Sea Region of Turkey has unique qualities for sustainable rural tourism to support economic and social development. During our search on where in Turkey to start the Program, we were impressed by the natural and cultural heritage of Küre Mountains as well as local efforts in sustainable tourism. We have coordinated our work in Ukraine and Turkey with workshops and experiential exchanges and by July the new national office in Ukraine will be opened in Kyiv. The program originated in Ukraine and was quickly joined by Turkey. The experience to be gained here, we believe, will contribute to the future of the Program in general and the sustainable tourism practices in Turkey in particular.”