Promoting Innovative Rural Tourism In the Black Sea Basin Region

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The PIRT (Promoting Innovative Rural Tourism) project is directed to support regional cooperation and cross border partnerships for economic and social development in four Black Sea Basin countries (Armenia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia) based on combined resources through creation of rural tourism networks in order to promote joint tourism development initiatives and traditional products.  The PIRT project is funded by the JOP " Black Sea 2007 - 2013", co-financed by the European Union through the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument. 
The project will achieve stronger regional partnerships and cooperation through integrated utilization of physical and human resources and exchange of best practice aimed at enhancing the standards of touristic product and service delivery. All this will contribute to economic and social development in the Black Sea Basin region.
The project consists of 3 components:
  • Establishment of networks of service providers and provision of knowledge and means to them to engage and run a hospitality business in rural areas.
  • Development of  a brand new, boldly innovative touristic product (Single Cross-border Visitor package) and its marketing targeted to the right agents for it in the marketplace. 
  • Facilitation of contacts at an inter-governmental level, thus making the contacts between country-specific authorities mutually beneficial.
The project began in November, 2013 and its  duration is 18 months. The  partners' kick off meeting held on 16 December 2013 in   Gumushane, Turkey. Ms. Anahit Ghazanchan ( right on the picture) - Project  Team Leader and  Country Director  of Heifer Project International  for Armenia   managed the  meeting with the representatives of the Educational Directorate of Province Gumushane and participants from Armenia, Georgia and Bulgaria
Varna Economic Development Agency is the Bulgarian partner. The Agency representatives continued with project promotion at national level, conducting a  meeting on  February 8, 2014 in Varna for tourism service providers, travel  agencies and local stakeholders ( left on the picture) to present the project goals and upcoming activities in the next months, namely  training for local service providers, exchange visits and  study tours. 
The national training  for the interested tourism service providers was conducted in Varna during the period 10 - 18 May 2014. It focus was on topics such as Business planning, Management of SME, B&B business: legal, financial and management aspects, Marketing principles, Business development  & Value Chain. Presentations from training are available on VEDA web-site (, PIRT section.
The next  project  events in Bulgaria  are planned for 1-9 July  2014 in Varna. Thirty five tourism service providers and local travel agencies  from the countries of  partnering organizations  will  be on an exchange  visit and will took part in a  relationship building  workshop and   meetings  with Bulgarian counterparts to exchange experience and to find out  how to collaborate and network in  future. Interested Bulgarian organizations  and businesses , active in the area of tourism on the territory of the North East Planning Region and South East Planning Region could   attend the meetings. More information  for the time-schedule and agenda of the events are available on VEDA web-site.
"This article has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of Varna Economic Development Agency  and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union."