Polish cuisine, beautiful nature and peace and quiet are the reasons why we fell in love with Polish rural areas. “There is no place like the countryside – 12 good practices of rural tourism”, a competition staged by Polish Tourism Organisation, was intended to show fellow countrymen why it is a good idea to enjoy their leisure time in the country.
The goal of the “There is no place like the countryside – 12 good practices of rural tourism” action was to identify and spread good practices in tourism in rural areas. First, experiences in creating and managing tourist products in the countryside will be a useful hint for others on how to develop and launch their own concepts. The discussed undertaking, along with actions connected with the promotion of laureates, will make it possible to create Poland’s very first catalogue of rural tourism good practices. It will be targeted at people providing services for tourists or planning to become involved in such operations. Second, the catalogue in question will have promotional objectives in the form of recommendations for tourists making it easier to pick top offers. The competition will thus contribute to boosting industry standards and supply arguments confirming that the countryside is the right choice for a leisure area.
“Polish rural areas bring to mind hospitality, cultural heritage, splendid food and a wide range of nature. The competition staged by us offers an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences between people managing different tourist products, synergise their activities and inspire further development. The fact that competition applications represented a very high standard goes to show the increasingly professional and comprehensive offer of the Polish countryside”, adds Robert Andrzejczyk, President of Polish Tourism Organisation (Polska Organizacja Turystyczna – POT).
The competition was open to entries from farmstead owners, units involved in tourism activities in rural areas, local tourism organisations, institutions of local government administrations, local action groups, tourism organisations and associations, as well as companies representing the tourism industry. All contestants could compete in one of four categories dedicated to farm leisure, rural leisure, comprehensive offer complementing stays in rural areas, as well as culinary trails.
“Polish countryside constitutes one of Europe’s few examples of preserved traditional cultural landscape, authentic folklore, established habits and customs passed down from generation to generation. It boasts numerous rural areas that are free from crowds, mechanisation and urbanisation plus are distinguished by awe-inspiring, often virtually pristine natural environment, simultaneously combined with highly diverse scenery, unpolluted environment, unique fauna and flora. The application of these assets and development of tourism is an opportunity for growth not only for individual farmsteads and countryside residents, but also the local community as a whole”, explains Rafał Romanowski, Undersecretary of State with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“We are very pleased that already the first edition of the ‘There is no place like the countryside – 12 good practices of rural tourism’ competition involved as many as 115 entities operating in rural areas. I am convinced that the competition will prove beneficial for boosting industry standards and will convince more and more tourists to pick the country as their leisure destination of choice”, adds Ewa Pawlak-Lewandowska, Director of the Department of Tourism at the Ministry of Sport and Tourism.
The competition’s jury members featured external experts and representatives of Polish Tourism Organisation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and regional tourism organisations. Their assessment took into account the quality of tourist offer, its innovative character, availability and relation to cultural and natural resources of the countryside.
Venues awarded in the competition will become involved in a special promotion to include: an album publication in an edition of 10,000 copies, the support of bloggers specializing in tourism, press articles and presentation on the Polish Tourism Organisation websites and through social media.
Out of 115 applications in all categories, jury selected the 12 good practices listed below.
Category – Farm leisure:
1st place – Agritourism farm “Ziołowy Dzbanek” – www.ziolowydzbanek.pl
2nd place – Agritourism farm “Ola” – www.ola.agrowczasy.afr.pl
3rd place – “Pod Srebrną Górą” – www.srebrna-gora.pl
Category – Rural leisure:
1st place – Agritourism farm “Malowane Wierchy” – www.malowanewierchy.pl
2nd place – Agritourism farm “Polesie” – www.polesie.info
3rd place – “Villa Greta” – www.villagreta.pl
Category – Leisure offer of rural tourism:
1st place – “Lawendowa Osada” and “Zagroda Edukacyjna Lawendowej Osady” – www.lawendowaosada.pl
2nd place – “Sielsko i anielsko w Górach Świętokrzyskich”, Centre of the Tradition, Tourism and Culture of Świętokrzyskie Mountains – www.osadasredniowieczna.eu
3rd place – “Zagroda Młynarska” in Uniejów – www.termyuniejow.pl
Category – Offer of culinary trails in rural areas:
1st place – culinary trail “Świętokrzyska Kuźnia Smaków” – www.swietokrzyskakuzniasmakow.pl
2nd place – culinary trail “Podkarpackie Smaki” – www.podkarpackiesmaki.pl
3rd place – culinary trail “Kaliskie Smaki” – www.facebook.com/kaliskiesmak