News

May 31, 2021

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Travel BSST Web Portal Launched

As travel slowly begins its return, it will be different. It will be better.  Fewer crowds, more appreciation for cultural and natural heritage and a sustainable approach led by communities.

Visit our new BSST Travel site and pick an adventure as part of your next trip.

May 10, 2021

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Historic Silk Road and Slow City Mudurnu Joins BSST

We are very pleased to have the town of Mudurnu, Turkey as part of the BSST Program.

Mudurnu is an ancient silk road city with the oldest guild system in Turkey still operarting.  Located in a narrow river valley, time has stopped in Mudurnu.  The residents are ardent protectors of their rich cultural heritage and mindful of the fragile nature of the surrounding national forest.

March 15, 2021

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Continued Support to Sri Lanka Entreprenuers

Combined with the 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist bombings and the disastrous impact of the COVID pandemic, Sri Lanka absorbed crushing blows to its tourism sector. 

 

But the resilience of the people has resulted in alternative, sustainable agri-development that ultimately will feed into the tourism value chain. Thanks to the efforts of a private travel company, Serene Vacations Lanka (Pvt) Limited, a group of former tourism workers who had lost their livelihoods took a new approach.  Not only are they developing small mushroom farms to provide much-needed income and a sustainable source of food and livelihood for themselves and their local communities, but they have branched out into small-scale farming in general.

February 29, 2020

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Turkey Sustainable Tourism and the BSST Program

Richard Shepard conducted presentations of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program, its new web platform  as well as the need for sustainable approaches to tourism in Kaş and Datça, Turkey.

Organized by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature in Turkey, participants included tourism representatives, conservationists and local government.

Materials for joining, how the BSST Program works, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria will be distributed by WWF.

September 12, 2019

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New Consumer Protection

On 14 September 2019, new regulations for online payments within the European Economic Area will come into force.

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is a new European regulatory requirement that is intended to better protect consumers when they pay online, reduce fraud, and make online payments more secure.

​Banks will require customers to prove their identity before they will process an online transaction. To do this, customers must provide information from two of the following three categories:

  • Knowledge: something only the customer knows
    Examples: password, PIN, or secret fact/answer

  • Possession: something only the customer has
    Examples: mobile phone, hardware authenticator, or smartwatch

  • Being: something only the customer is
    Examples: fingerprint or facial recognition

The SCA regulations apply to any transaction where both the business's (our organisation) and the cardholder's (the donor) banks are located in the European Economic Area. Regardless of Brexit, the regulation will be enforced in the UK.

March 5, 2019

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Sustainable Tourism Hackathon at International Black Sea University

SRDI, Bridge Innovation and Development, Kazbegi Local Action Group and Nukriani Workshops successfully held a mini-hackathon at International Black Sea University on March 1-2.  The teams of students were assigned a problem to develop a unique web site for Georgia to be included in the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program web portal.

On March 1, concept presentations were made by SRDI, Kazbegi LAG and Nukriani Workshops about their respective sustainable development activities and tourism offers.  Beginning on the morning of March 2, the teams spent the next 10 hours developing a model and site plan based on what they learned at the presentations.  The multi-national team members made 15 minute presentations and the winner was awarded a 2 night community tour to their choice of either Kazbegi or Nukriani as well as eligibility to produce the production version of the site under contract with SRDI.

 

October 27, 2018

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SRDI Partners with the Georgia Tourism Association

SRDI is now a partner with the Georgia Tourism Association. 

Our objective is to continue to promote sustainable approaches to tourism in Georgia through the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program and working with other international partners and national members of GTA.

As part of our plans, we will be working with Birding Caucuses to offer birders around the world the opportunity to take part in unique birding experiences, not only in Georgia, but in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia, while staying in BSST homes and communities.

We are excited to expand our contacts in Georgia so that we can promote sustainable economic development practices with practical results.

June 21, 2018

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BSST Program Presented at Ecology 2018, Kastamonu University

Between June 18 - 21 the BSST team attended the international symposium, Ecology 2018 hosted by Kastamonu University.  Over 800 participants took part in this unique conference highlighting issues and approaches to tackling climate change, environmental degradation, loss of agricultural land and poverty reduction in rural areas.

​The BSST Program was presented by Dr. Sedat Kalem, WWF-Turkey Conservation Director as part of the sections on ecotourism and sustainable economic development.

February 23, 2018

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SRDI and BRIDGE Innovation & Development Visit Nukriani, Georgia

SRDI representative Richard Shepard visited the village of Nukriani, Georgia with the team from BRIDGE Innovation & Development as part of the plan to hold a cross-border workshop and annual meeting for the BSST Program in late May this year.  Nukriani is also the home of Nukriani Workshops which produces hand-made woolen crafts and clothes.  Nukriani Workshops is a social enterprise that consists of 10 women who create these beautiful garments.

​The local government has announced its support for the BSST meeting that will include representatives from Turkey and Ukraine to discuss sustainability best practices for rural tourism.

October 26, 2017

SRDI Member of the Board Richard Shepard
SRDI at USAID DOBRE Investment Conference, Kyiv Ukraine

SRDI presented the BSST Program at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center in Kyiv as part of the USAID sponsored DOBRE Project promoting investment in Ukraine. The two-day conference covered strategic development and investment and The First Hub for Investors and Consolidated Communities. Representatives from fifty consolidated communities, investment funds and financial institutions attended.

The DOBRE Project, implemented by Global Communities, is part of the country-wide decentralization program that assist the development of the newly consolidated community structures.

May 15, 2017

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Strategic Plan Completes Turkey Expansion

SRDI and its partner in Turkey, the Kure Mountains Ecotourism Association, completed regional focus group meetings in Trabzon, Sinop, Bartin and Samsun.  The focus groups were composed of representatives from regional economic development agencies, entrepreneurs, academics and accommodation owners.  The sessions measured the understanding of sustainable economic, cultural and environmental practices, needs and future plans.

The focus groups then convened in a four day interactive strategic planning forum in Azdavay in late April.

Funding was provided by the EU/Turkey Civil Society Dialogue program.

April 30, 2017

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Turkey Training

Between January and March 2017, SRDI and its partners in Turkey completed the first series of specialized training for community leaders, local businesses, accommodation owners and regional economic development agencies.  The training focused on delivery of quality services, gender main-streaming, accessibility, explanation of GSTC criteria and funding opportunities.

Funding was provided by SRDI, the EU/Turkey Civil Society Dialogue V Program and is aimed at the expansion of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural tourism Program in Turkey.

 

December 28, 2015

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SRDI Awarded €147,000 Grant

SRDI and its partner, the Küre Mountains Ecotourism Association have been awarded a 147,000 Euro grant to expand the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program within Turkey. 

 

Activities will begin in February 2016 and continue until April 2017.  Associate partners from Ukraine, Georgia and Turkey will participate in the training, development and promotion that will take place over the 15 months of the grant.

December 16, 2016

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Bridge Innovation & Development BSST Program National Office Georgia

​SRDI is very pleased to be working with Bridge - Innovation and Development in Georgia. 

 

Bridge is a spin-off legacy of Oxfam and continues Oxfam's support of agriculture and rural development to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. 

BRIDGE has agreed to represent the BSST National Office in Georgia and has begun work collecting information from candidate communities. 

June 11, 2015

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Annual Members Forum Successfully Concludes in Hola Prystan, Ukraine

The Mayor of Azdavay, Turkey, venue of last year’s meeting, joined the Mayor of Hola Prystan in welcoming members to the forum.

 

Danone - Ukraine sponsored the event and also presented its Family Farm program which supports small dairy farms in Ukraine to build sustainable and more productive operations.  The event premiered the new Program web-portal that will form the core of the for-profit component of the integrated community led, sustainable tourism effort as well as presentation of the sustainability criteria to be used by communities, developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. 

October 16, 2014

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Community Workshops Held in Turkey

Between October 16 and 22 three round-table talks were held with community leaders in Ulus, Pinarbaşi and Cide to assess levels of interest for participation in the BSST Program. The round-tables were attended by approximately 30 representatives from NGOs, community activists and local businesses. The responses were lively and informative and the questionnaire developed to gauge needs and knowledge was distributed. The questionnaires will be collected for analysis by our partner, Kure Mountains Ecotourism Society at the end of November