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Development of a certification system for sustainable tourism and its application to practical conditions of pilot destinations of Bulgaria

English title Development of a certification system for sustainable tourism and its application to practical conditions of pilot destinations of Bulgaria
Applicant Boesch Martin
Number 111074
Funding scheme SCOPES
Research institution Forschungsst. für Wirtschaftsgeographie und Raumordnungspolitik (FWR-HSG) Univ. St. Gallen
Institution of higher education University of St.Gallen - SG
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.10.2005 - 30.06.2009
Approved amount 70'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Social geography and ecology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (4)

Sustainable tourism; certification; regional development; Bulgaria

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Development of a Certification System for Sustainable Tourism
and its Application to Practical Conditions of Pilot Destinations in Bulgaria


The project intends to develop a Certification System for Sustainable Tourism, aiming to stimulate stability of the tourist process, in the context of sustainable development of Bulgaria. The evaluation and awarding of tourist destinations with certificates for sustainable tourismguarantees: quality for the consumers, image and economic effectiveness for the companies, employment and socio-economic prosperity for local population, sustainable management of the tourist process for the State, and preserving the recreation-tourist resource potential for Society.

The general objective of the project is the completion of a scientific-theoretical base of certification system for sustainable tourism and its implementation for practical use in real conditions of different tourist destinations in Bulgaria. A certification procedure will be approbated in pilot tourist destinations, which are representative for different landscapes and forms of tourism in the country. The starting of a certification procedure for sustainable tourism in pilot tourist destinations in Bulgaria would be a first step to further dissemination of the results towards launching of a National Certification System, approved by the Ministry of Economics (Tourism branch).

Actuality & novelty of this project proposal follows directly from the Recommendations of the World Tourism Organization for establishing of National Certification Systems for Sustainable Tourism. The Recommendations aim at enhancing awareness among Governments about the opportunities, which certification systems may provide as part of their sustainable development policy goals. Such a certification activity would be of great importance for East-European countries, and especially for Bulgaria because of the priority role of tourist branch in the National economy, during the current transition of Bulgaria to European standards.The project results would be of a great economic and social significance because sustainable tourism becomes more and more important section of total sustainable development.

This JRP proposal is based on the results of a Swiss-Bulgarian Institutional project (SNSF/SCOPES No 7 IP 65 696, 2001 - 2004), coordinated by Prof. Martin Boesch, Research Institute of Economic Geography and Regional Policy, University of St. Gallen. The Expert Group, established in the Institute of Geography at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in the frame of IP, has used know-how from the best Swiss practices in the field of sustainable tourism and eco-tourism. The experience obtained during the Swiss-Bulgarian IP provides a very good base for extending of research results to the practice, for successful realization of the purposes of this JR project and for strengthening of collaboration between Switzerland and East-European countries, on their way to Europe.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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