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Frontpage News 2012 Cross-border ecotourism


Polish-Ukrainian cross-border ecotourism

  • The two sister cities of Chełm, Poland, and Kovel, Ukraine, are working together to promote economic growth and cross-border interaction in their border region, with a focus on developing ecologically sustainable tourism.

    The Chełm and Kovel borderland area is home to a particular landscape characterised by numerous chalk hills and waterlogged areas. In the immediate vicinity one finds the Chełmski, Sobiborski and Strzelecki landscape parks, as well as the NATURA 2000 protected area of the Polesie National Park and the lakes of the Ukrainian Shatsk National Park. These pristine areas will be the focus on the project activities.

    A number of events to promote ecological tourism and to foster cross-border contacts aimed at different target groups have taken place, including a gastronomical borderland fair in which locally grown ecological food from agritourism farms has been promoted. Workshops on sustainable development have been held for local residents and decision-makers, and several cross-border excursions have taken place – as well as a seminar focusing on the area's indigenous bird populations.

    A future potential
    The project promoters have stressed the importance of recruiting and motivating local teenagers and young people to involve themselves in the promotion of ecological tourism initiatives. To this end, a canoeing rally has been held along the Uherka to the Bug rivers for high school students from Chełm and Kovel, as well as a bike rally through the swamps of the Polesie National Park.

    An exhibition on the region's natural heritage and an open-air photo exhibition will be opened in the Chełm Museum. Local maps and guidebooks will be developed in order to attract more external visitors, as well as a website and a promotional film showcasing the pristine natural areas of the region, which will be broadcast by national and local media.

    Situated a mere 90 km apart, Chełm and Kovel enjoy a close relationship, and have been cooperating in several fields since signing a partnership agreement in 1996. Chełm and Kovel are situated on the old trade route from Berlin to Kiev and are at the heart of the 5,000,000 inhabitants strong Bug Euroregion, which encompasses the borderland areas of Belarus, Poland and Ukraine, and has been facilitating cross-border cooperation in the area since 1995.

    Photo credit: Chełm City Office.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    Ecotourism without limits – ecological tourism in the border region Chelm – Kovel

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Regional policy and cross-border activities


    € 325,676



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Chelm City

    Type of institution:

    Local authority

    Project website:

    Project duration:

    16 months

    Project cost:

    € 383,148

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    Norway Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    19 February 2009

    The purpose of the Project is to develop and promote ecological cross-border tourism in the Chelm-Kovel border region, with the overall objective of improving the social communication and cross-border cooperation among inhabitants and authorities, alongside facilitating the sustainable environmental development in the border region Chelm-Kovel. Reference is made to the application dated 16 July 2008, and any subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    1. Organisation of a conference on eco-tourism and a gastronomic fair;

    2. Organisation of a bike rally;

    3. Preparation and opening of the permanent art exhibition "Natural treasures" in the Chelm museum, a photo exhibition and a multimedia presentation;

    4. Organisation of an ornithological seminar and a study trip;

    5. Organisation of a series of ecological workshops and preparation of a canoeing rally;

    6. Organisation of a meeting on ecological food and agro-tourism, production of a short film and preparation of an exposition of healthy food;

    7. Project promotion and publicity;

    8. Project management.

    The Project Promoter is Chelm City. Subject to national law, the Project shall be implemented in partnership with Kovel City in Ukraine.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the total eligible Project costs.