Best Practice

Place Marketing in an Environmentally Sensitive Area


On the one hand, for many, tourism development was seen as the key to improve life quality by creating jobs for locals and new markets for the goods and services produced in this quintessentially agricultural area. On the other hand, too much tourism might destroy forever the valley’s fragile ecosystems, and with them, its unique way of life.


Joint Promotion

Successful place marketing strategies require a commonality of purpose and goals. For various historic reasons, such commonality was sparse in the Barycz. Foremost, the term the “Barycz Valley” only came into play in 1996 when a protected area called the Barycz Valley Landscape Park was created.

Principal Attributes

A second challenge was to bring focus to the panoply of ideas and initiatives being floated around for tourism promotion. Here I adapted the concept of 'principal attribute' used in the world of sports training. Clearly the essence of Barycz Valley’s offer rested in the extraordinary (internationally recognized) nature, and landscapes not yet overrun with contemporaneity where unique traditions and lifestyles were based on striking a careful balance between human activities and the natural world. To put together a strong, integrated tourist program, the Barycz Valley had to focus in on these special traits. By zooming in on and being guided by these principal attributes, the Barycz would be building on its own strengths, while meeting tourists’ expectations and differentiating itself from the best the competition has to offer.

Carp is Cool

A final notion that became another pillar of the strategies for the Barycz Valley was that tourist development and promotion in an environmentally sensitive area should serve to protect the environment not just partake of it. Tourists visiting the Barycz in 2008 – and even still today – receive conflicting information regarding where they can and cannot go and how they can be responsible tourists. Well-conceived tourism promotion programs need to channel tourists to places where they can safely observe nature while keeping them away from areas where their presence would be intrusive and destructive to the fragile ecosystems. To do this effectively over a span of 90,000 hectares requires integrated tourism information points and strong communication programs. Internal communication is also important. Local residents have to have a chance to learn about and become invested in protecting the natural world around them. Creating a strong eco-tourism offer based on quality rural tourism inns (in severe shortage in the Barycz) and a range of high quality local products is also important.

Juliet D. Golden, independent consultant, is the author of two strategies for the Barycz Valley
Partnerstwo dla Doliny Baryczy,

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