public participation in the tourism development of the Lake
Nimfea Environment and Nature Conservation Association
is implementing a project in the region of the Tisza Lake
to raise awareness on the threats and opportunities of tourism
development and to promote a multi-stakeholder approach in
rural development, building on the needs and interests of
the local community, while preserving the unique natural values
of the lake.
The Lake Tisza is a lake artificially created thanks
to the construction of the irrigation system and the related
dam. However the area became an important wetland habitat
rich in biodiversity, especially significant for migrating
birds. This fact was also recognized by the establishment
of the nature reserve in the northern part of the lake, belonging
under the supervision of the Hortobagy National Park. This
section of the river Tisza is also protected under the Ramsar
Convention (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
Especially as Waterfowl Habitat). At the same time the lake
is a preferred site for angling, and also hosting holiday
resorts with motorboats, jetskis and other water sports.
The microregion is characterized by a high unemployment
rate; the infrastructural indicators are the worst and economic
activity is the lowest in the county. Most of the municipalities
regard tourism development as a solution for the economic
and social decline, although the negative impacts of not well
planned and not appropriately controlled tourism are already
visible. In this context of different interest groups and
the resulting conflicts, it is quite complicated to put forward
and implement measures to promote the sustainability of tourism.
This is the reason Nimfea Environment and Nature Conservation
Association submitted a project proposal to PHARE Access,
which was approved and started in July 2005. Now the project
also gained the generous support of the Swiss Foundation for
Solidarity in Tourism, enabling us to enhance the media activities
and strengthen the public outreach of the program.
With this project we would like to underline
that tourism development should be an integrated part of comprehensive
regional development initiatives, and not a goal in itself.
We would like to draw the attention of decision-makers, the
local people, the visitors, farmers and everyone affected,
that the natural values of the region are the basis for tourism,
but also for livelihood in general, therefore nature conservation
should also be taken into account.
In order to start dialogue about tourism development and other
alternative solutions for the improvement of local living
conditions, a seminar series is organized for local governments
and decision-makers, as well as for local entrepreneurs to
present and promote model projects for local sustainability,
with a focus on the adverse impacts of uncontrolled tourism
development, with a complex approach including environmental
and socio-economic aspects.
Since July most of the project activities have taken place.
Brochures have been distributed with a "code of conduct"
for tourists and anglers, introducing the basics of responsible
behaviour. T-shirts have been printed presenting the Tisza
mayfly (Palingenia longicauda), This mayfly is the largest
one in Europe, spending three years of their life in larvae
form in the mud, then hatch in masses in each June on certain
sections of the Tisza and mate during their short, three-hour
Several lectures were held for school children
about the natural values of the region, school groups were
collecting waste in and around the shores of the lake, a nature
photography exhibition has been organized, seminars and workshops
were held in the Town Hall of Tiszafüred for different target
groups, including decision-makers, local entrepreneurs, hotel
and camping managers, tour operators and other stakeholders.
All these programmes were implemented with the effective coordination
of our local partners, and with the continuous support of
the mayor of Tiszafüred. We hope that the thoughts and ideas
shared will serve the long-term benefit of the entire region
of the Lake Tisza.