EYD 2015 projects
Target regions: 5 regions in Bulgaria
Start date and end date of the Action: 1 May – 31 December 2015
World Suitcases promoted sustainable and ethical tourism (SET) – being directly related to globalisation and sustainable development – as a tool for fostering broad understanding of sustainable development and personally contributing to achieving its goals, and to advocate with government and businesses to formulate and implement relevant policies. The project provided a platform for discussion of development policies and capacity-building of young people, thus, enabling their active participation in the European Year for Development.
For youth involvement in raising awareness and promoting action towards achieving sustainable development goals and understanding development policies and practice, a 5-day training camp for 28 young people (aged 14-19) from 5 regions in Bulgaria was organised. The regions of youth were: Plovdiv – a regional municipality center and a big vibrant city, a European Culture capital 2019; Yambol – a medium-sized town in central Bulgaria, youth are students at the high school on food technologies and tourism; Smolyan – a medium-sized town in southern Bulgaria with a local Youth informational center active in design and delivery of community campaigns; Haskovo – a city with a religious diversity and good example for tolerance and cooperation; and Trun – a small town with 3,000 inhabitants in the western part of Bulgaria with a more conservative local community. The camp was organised in a small village of Gudevica situated in Rodopa Mountain as it was meeting the principles of sustainable consumption. The training included modules on Globalisation and sustainability – Definitions, Sustainable Development Goals and discussions on challenges and practices; How to organise a responsible trip? – Preparation, implementation and follow-up of a trip including ethical principles, behaviour and suitable transportation; How to organise a local campaign in the months following the camp? – Time-management, creativity and how to advertise the campaign. Different methodologies and techniques were used such as role play, group work and reflections, adventures in a cave, baking of homemade bread, individual and group presentations, brainstorming, and case studies. Local odyssey-simulative game was introduced to the participants and became very popular and well accepted. During the camp, youth suggested rules for the behaviour of the responsible traveller which were elaborated into a Charter of the responsible traveller (in Bulgarian).
After the camp, each regional youth team implemented their own awareness raising campaign and visited different tourist information centers (2 in Plovdiv, 1 in Smolian, Smilian, Chepelare, Trun, Hastkovo, and Shiroka Laka). In Haskovo the youth’s campaign was named as “What effect decision taken today would have in the future”, in Jambol “ Nature+me+you=life”, in Smolyan “Earth without art is Eh”, in Plovdiv: “The main priorities in the development of global society – SDGs” and in Taran “Children’s Eco Academy”. All teams disseminated brochures of the project at the local information centers and the Haskovo team even created a sustainable city tour and promoted it in the local television. In Jambol, the team obtained permission by the municipality to build a “Green room” where young people can have classes linked to the SDGs (building will start in the spring of 2016). Taran Municipality facilitated the dissemination of the project brochures during an annual regional crafts festival. Each campaign was also presented among peers and school boards.
In addition to the training, the project lobbied the Bulgarian tour operators and travel agencies in order to start implementing the principles of sustainable and ethical tourism in their practices. A manual (300 copies) and a leaflet (3000 copies) for sustainable and ethical tourism were produced and distributed among public, tourist agencies, tour operators and local cultural and tourist centres and a special section on sustainable and ethical tourism was developed in GIP-Sofia’s website.
Plan your trip questionnaire (in Bulgarian) was designed and disseminated. It was filled in 223 times during the project. Also, a final conference on ethical tourism with 106 participants was organized in partnership with the Bulgarian platform for international development and its members linked to a conference on global education.