Eco-cultural tourism: Tool for sustainable development (The village of Drogoynovo, Municipality of Parvomay)
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Author: Ivanka Shopova, Krasimir Levkov, Zlatka Grigorova
The paper examines the possibilities of interaction between ecological and cultural tourism in order to diversify the tourism product and to achieve sustainable tourism outcomes. New trends in tourism demand are marked by sustainable development: conservation of natural and anthropogenic resources, raising the awareness of visitors on the topics of sustainability and adding value to local host communities. Ecotourism is sustainable tourism that protects the natural and cultural values and follows the principles of sustainable development by supporting conservation of the natural resources, biological and landscape diversity, promoting regional development and geoecological protection. Ecotourism preserves the identity of local communities and enhances their social status. A definition of eco-cultural tourism is proposed and its role as a tool for sustainable development is discussed. The analysis of the factors for eco-cultural tourism development in the village of Dragoinovo, Parvomay Municipality and their levels of influence will contribute to the evaluation and utilization of the tourism potential of the area. The model of the factors for the development of eco-cultural tourism is based on six groups of factors: economic conditions; population distribution; state of the environment; cultural factors; infrastructure and physiological factors, as well as on three levels of influence: region, municipality and settlement. The development of an eco-cultural tourism product would have an economic and social importance for the territory, but at the moment that potential is completely untapped.