Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Swiss know-how helps tourism in the Carpathian Foothills of Poland
Switzerland’s programme to develop tourism in Poland’s Podkarpackie Voivodeship is drawing to a close. The project has been supporting local initiatives promoting rural tourism and the marketing of traditional products. One of the key aspects of the programme is transferring Swiss know-how in this field.
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Regional development and employment
- 294 grants awarded (170 for SMEs, 124 for NGOs); grants to SMEs lead to a number of 113 new jobs created
- 70 training activities for SMEs and NGOs organized, in which 460 persons participated (SMEs 212, NGOs 248)
- 1 study visit to Switzerland (with 12 participants) and 3 to Poland (with 7 participants) organised
- 32 publications on the project (press articles, announcements) published, amongst others one article in the National Geographic
- 10 internships for Polish NGOs and entrepreneurs in Switzerland, with 20 interns
- National State Institute North
The problems of the South-eastern, mountainous area of Podkarpackie Voivodeship result mainly from being a bordering region in Poland and being located at the margins of social-economic life of the country. The majority of problems are rooted in the rural character of the region, strong agricultural bonds and a lack of important urban areas. There is a big fragmentation of the agricultural land which coupled with a lack of expertise lead to a poor and not competitive agricultural production. In general the educational structure is also inconvenient and only 2.5% of the population has completed and high education curricula. Distribution channels are also inefficient or not existing and financing opportunities are lacking.
The project aims at freeing the economic potential of the mountain areas of the Podkarpackie Province.
SMEs, NGOs, individuals of rural areas, willing to develop Small business
The project will finance: 1) Analysis of non-agricultural activity market 2) Training to strengthening mountain entrepreneurship 3) Study tours and work placement in Switzerland 4) Funds awarding small grants 5) The creation of a Partnership Cooperation Network 6) The establishment of the Agency for the promotion of Mountain Region of Podkarpackie implementing promotion campaigns
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Foreign state institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 4’818’388 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 4’761’683|
Phase 1 01.04.2011 - 31.10.2016 (Completed)
The south-eastern voivodeship of Podkarpackie borders Slovakia and Ukraine, covering a territory almost half the size of Switzerland. The region is characterised by its remarkable natural heritage – 10 landscape parks, 16 protected areas, 70 natural reserves and the East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve in the Bieszczady National Park – but suffers because of its rural character and location on the margins of Europe. Unemployment is above 17%, reaching 20% in remote parts. 61% of the population live in rural areas and many young people leave home to earn a living.
The SDC’s programme to transfer Swiss know-how in the field of tourism to local actors in Poland is now coming to a close. Today Podkarpackie Voivodeship has a unique identity which attracts tourists, with the infrastructure and a global network to match. The SDC’s programme focused primarily on the more remote parts of the province – around 24 municipalities, which are among the poorest in Poland and Europe. It was carried out as part of Switzerland’s contribution to the enlarged EU with a total budget of CHF 4.82 million.
The programme has been running for five years. Initially a large-scale analysis was carried out in order to identify needs and the potential for tourism in the area. This was followed by an in-depth training period. The local team responsible for implementing the programme were invited to take part in a study visit to Switzerland. In addition, some 460 local entrepreneurs and NGO members also benefited from tailored training courses in Poland and Switzerland. The most important course subjects included partnerships and networks, local production, environmental protection, creativity and innovation, and the sustainable management of natural resources. Most of the course participants were from the hospitality sector or worked in other tourism-related activities such as sport, entertainment and leisure.
Follow-up assessments have highlighted an overall improvement in the quality of tourism services provided in this region. In addition, 113 jobs in a number of new small businesses were created using Switzerland's contribution fund. By sharing experiences, the Polish participants were also encouraged to come up with somewhat unusual ideas. These entrepreneurs went on to launch new services in the region after having been inspired by Swiss tourism products.
‘Made in Karpaty’
An important element to the programme was the development of the ‘Made in Karpaty’ label and its portfolio of services and artisanal products, and the creation of a strong identity for the label. Eighty companies and 162 products were awarded the label after a careful selection process. Visitors to the region can now buy different brands of dairy products, chocolates filled with local fruit or scented with Carpathian herbs and spices, honey, decorative pieces and other locally-produced items. The SDC’s programme to develop tourism in the region also included extensive marketing. One example is the Carpathian lynx, which is being used as a mascot and advertisement for the region.
2016, the year of tourism
Local agencies reported an exceptionally high number of tourists in 2016. More than 127,000 tourists were recorded taking the Bieszczady National Park train and over 10,000 people went hiking in the Carpathian mountain range. This is the first time that the area has seen such high numbers of tourists and is very encouraging for the future of this Polish region, its companies and people.