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Rural tourism - touristic strategies for sustainable development

Between 3 and 11 July we organized a youth exchange in Cristuru Secuiesc with the participation of 35 youngsters from Romania, France, Belgium, Slovenia and Slovakia. The mobility was funded by the European Union. After two introductory days the participants started visiting villages around Cristuru Secuiesc in order to identify their actual touristic endowments, strengths and weaknesses. During the afternoons the youngsters developed personalized touristic strategies for these villages. By developing these plans the participants got aware of many touristic possibilities and perspectives which could ensure them a source of living. These touristic ideas could help these small communities to get more attractive for tourists, to improve their social - economic situation and to reach a sustainable development.

Firstly they went to Dârjiu, where the deputy mayor presented the village from economical pint of view, then the local priest presented the history and tourism of the locality. The participants went to discover the village by identifying how many churches, guesthouses are in the village and also the weaknesses. After that the participants saw the Unitarian fortified church, which is part of the UNESCO heritage. The second day they went to Porumbenii Mari, where the president of the Leader Association presented how they help the farmers in the region, then the mayor talked about the developments made with the help of EU funds (for example a touristic center). Then the group leaders were brought by the mayor to see where Roma people live, meanwhile the other participants went to the church where the priest presented the history of the village and of the church. After that they went to the Rak lake where they got the chance to see the moving island. In Rugănești the participants saw the guesthouse transformed from an old mansion, visited a producer of bio products and observed some working methods, visited the church and the local lake. In Firtănuș the local priest presented the history, the mayor the economical situation of the village. After that they visited a furniture painter, a beekeeper and a blaksmith who showed them the horse shoeing. In Saschiz the group was welcomed by the administrator of the touristic center, then they visited the village and a  local artisan couple who make traditional jams made from fruits and also from milk. The last village they visited was Avrămești where the priest talked about the history of the village murals of the church, the mayor about the touristic potentials. After that they went to visit a traditional house which is used as guesthouse  where tourists can experience the traditional villager’s life. They also discovered a model farm and a sheepfold where they saw how dairy products are made.

In the afternoons the activities were similar: the participants worked out touristic strategies for each village, included them in the brochure, made an auto-evaluation with the help of the My diary logbook. In the evening were organized the intercultural nights: of folk dances, of folk songs, of habits, gastronomical, etc.

In the end of the youth exchange the participants competed and received their Youthpass Certificates.