Improving nature tourism in the Tatra Mountains of Poland and Slovakia
This project was the second undertaken in the two-week intensive program. After a whirlwind tour of the Tatra mountains and their surrounding region as well as a number of lectures and briefings on the area and the issues that it faces, we were given 24 hours to produce a strategic plan for the corridor that leads from the town of Bukowina, to the Morskie Oko lake, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.
We identified a number of main issues including an over-reliance on the automobile, vehicle access penetrating too deeply into the mountain ecosystem, a need for a second alternative tourist destination to add to the already very popular and overcrowded Zakopane, too many tourists given the size of the Tatra Mountains, and a lack of environmental and cultural education.
From here we developed a strategy which focuses on the town of Bukowina as a higher-end tourist resort town in hopes of bring fewer, wealthier tourists (a market not well catered to in the region). The issue of personal vehicles is addressed through a seasonal rail connection from Warsaw and Krakow to reduce vehicles coming into the region. Additionally, automobiles would be heavily restricted within the Tatra Mountain National Park and shuttle services would provide more equal access from Zakopane and Bukowina. Along this popular corridor a number of environmental education centres would be developed at differing scales providing space for education as well as research into the endanged species and ecosystems that exist here, as well as the impacts of human activity on these systems (little research is done currently regarding these issues in the Tatra Mountains).
The plan was well received by members at the Tatra National Park.
I worked on this plan as part of a team with Marju Juhkam (Estonia), Sabri Gun (Turkey), Dania Soares (Portugal), and Magda Obrepalska (Poland)