Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program

Bringing Together Partners from Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia for Sustainable Destination Management

TrainingAid is excited to be part of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program, an integrated rural tourism initiative focused on the sustainable destination development and ecotourism opportunities in the Black Sea Region.

Expert Team at TrainingAid

website mockup BSST

Image by TrainingAid and Vesselka Consulting Ltd.


The Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program is an integrated rural tourism initiative focused on the sustainable development of rural and community tourism in the Black Sea Region. The program, which is led by the international advisory firm Vesselka Consulting Ltd., currently collaborates with draws members from Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia, with the goal of unifying rural communities and destinations in the region under a single brand and visual banner reflecting common standards, values and interests regarding sustainable tourism and contributing to the economic, cultural and social developments of participating communities.


AREA Sustainable Rural Tourism Development

CLIENT Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism Program, Vesselka Consulting Ltd., WWF-Turkey

WHERE Ukraine, Black Sea Region

WHEN 2015


The Task

The TrainingAid team is tasked to develop and design a new web-portal for destinations and travelers for the BSST Program. The new website should play a key role in supporting the program goals and engage tourism stakeholders in the region.

The Solution

A web-portal featuring the region's interconnected multicultural experiences, ecological diversity and history spanning thousands of years. The project aims not just to expand a sector, but to open up new opportunities for rural communities through ecotourism and preserving the cultural heritage and environment of the region. The web portal should showcase the diversity of the different regions and provide a booking option for accommodations in combination with the option to add additional excursions during the check-out.

The first website designs are supposed to be presented during the first Member’s Meeting of the Black Sea Sustainable Rural Tourism to be held in the town of Hola Pristan in Kherson Oblast, Ukraine from June 11-14. The meeting is sponsored by Danone Ukraine, whose Small Family Farm projects in Ukraine help develop small rural farms sustainably. Members representing destination operators and NGOs, along with government officials from Turkey and Ukraine, will take part in the meeting.

Hola Pristan is located on a tributary of the Dnipro River a short distance before it empties into an estuary formed with the Lower Bug river on the Black Sea. The wetlands and estuary form an important eco-system for this region of Kherson Oblast and is an ancient trade gateway known as the Amber Road running from the Baltic to Constantinople. The Member's Meeting will be an annual event built around year round workshops and experiential exchanges among the membership.

The Implementation

TrainingAid's team, with the insight of the partners, has designed a mock-up of the new web-portal. This draft design has been presented to the program partners during the the members meeting in Ukraine in 2015. Partners were given the opportunity to provide feedback during a workshop style review process designed by TrainingAid specifically for this group. This feedback has been further incorporated into the designs and was then finalized and handed over to the program partners.


"This is the first time that local stakeholders from Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia will get together with their neighbors from the other sides of the Black Sea around common values and interests. The success of this process will assure that the future will be better not only for local communities but also for ... the visitors who will enjoy this unique region." - Sedat Kalem, the Conservation Director of WWF-Turkey.


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