Eye-catching natural attractions, unspoiled habitats and millions of animal species, this diverse region opens up to us when we look down from the western Carpathian Mountains through the gorge valley of Crişul Repede River towards the Körös-Maros National Park.
This wonderful cross-border area inspired the representatives of the Don Orione Beneficence Charity Society (RO) to cooperate with the Directorate of the Körös-Maros National Park (HU) and the Békés County Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HU) to implement the project "Joint Challenge and Joint Cooperation for the Management of Cross-Border Natural Heritage" (ROHU-7), financed from the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union and by the 2 partner countries, through Interrreg V-A ROHU Programme, with more than one million euros.
One of the main objectives of the project was to protect and promote these wonderful places rich in biodiversity and to change the attitude of tourists towards the importance of appreciating the natural heritage and environmentally friendly, active recreation.
Within the framework of the project, an investment for environmental education was built, thematic routes and learning paths were created, activities aimed at the conservation of protected species and the eradication of invasive species, and training on knowledge transfer was implemented.
The Romanian partner has built a tourist refuge in the village of Zece Hotare, (Șuncuiuș), for visitors who take part in mountain or cave tours or simply want to admire the beauty of the place. The tourist refuge called "Belvedere" also has a high-stand observation point, providing visitors with beautiful views and the opportunity to organize environmental education programs. The tourist refuge is innovative in its own way, as tourists can freely enter the building during the day or even at night.
On the Hungarian side of the border, specific measures have also been taken to improve the condition of the protected areas. The transformation of the structure of agriculture and the spread of invasive plant species have transformed and impoverished the region. The project has successfully combated these negative developments, improving the condition of habitats, as well as increasing biodiversity and the socio-economic wealth provided by the region. The realized results not only helped to preserve the beautiful landscape but also created tourist value.
Within the framework of the project, the development of the environmental education infrastructure of the Körös Valley Visitor Centre and Animal Park operating there was realized in the center of the Körös-Maros National Park Directorate in Szarvas. A new environmental education building has been built, and the existing nature trail has been expanded with new, interactive stations. The number of visitors to the Körös Valley Visitor Centre and Animal Park has gradually increased over the years, so the message represented by the project is also reaching an ever wider audience.
At the same time, under the direction of the Békés County Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMKIK), the Békéscsaba Tourist Information Point was modernized, thereby expanding the range of services and improving its quality. BMKIK has created an authentic tourist experience while developing a positive attitude and sustainable attitude towards the natural heritage (through participation in the numerous conferences, events and 6 trade fairs held).
The BMKIK has also developed a Joint Tourist Strategy, the partners monitor and apply the directions of tourism development and the measures set out in the document. Thanks to the implementation of the project, the institutional capacity of BMKIK has also been improved.
The three partners are confident that their joint work will significantly increase the number of visitors in the area affected by the project in the long run. From now on, tourists, visitors and persons, organizations, and institutions interested in this area will be able to benefit from services specialising in promoting tourism in the cross-border area.