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Gaining an Intimate Knowledge of Bulgarian People, Mountains and Culture through Supporting Local Community Ecotourism Initiatives – project with a Dutch volunteer via European Voluntary Service
(July - November 2007)

Client: European Voluntary Service trough the Dutch organization “GoForNature”

The European Union supports non-formal education opportunities for young people through trans-national voluntary service, which directly and actively involves young people in activities designed to meet the needs of society in a wide range of fields. European Voluntary Service (EVS) is one of these initiatives.

From 1st of July till 1st of November 2007 we hosted an EVS-volunteer from the Netherlands. The volunteer Mijke Koole worked together with our team, the Rila National Park Directorate and partners. Mijke Koole was involved in:
development of comprehensive data base in English for the Rila NP potential business partners;
collection of information and pictures of the providers' facilities, services, tourists, food, attractions;
provided personal impressions, recommendations and ideas for new tourist products development;
help the tourist services providers-partners of Rila NP and PAN Parks to evaluate their assets, to analyze and review what should be there next steps in sustainable tourism services development and to better understand the
expectations and needs of their foreign clients;
helped Rila NP experts to finalize the information in English presenting the park on the new PAN Parks web;
development and the presentation of 4 trips for the participants of the PAN Parks annual conference “European Wilderness Days 2007”. Development of a Questionnaire to collect feed back for the trips from the participants and help in summarizing and analysing the information;
development of four tourist trips (winter and summer) to Rila National Park for GoForNature (Dutch sending-organisation).

Our responsibilities included:
Project design, implementation action planning and budgeting.
Coordination with the volunteer sending organization, the National EVS Agency (Bulgarian Youth and Sport Agency), PAN Parks Foundation, Rila NPD, local partners
Development of list of tasks and work program of the volunteer.
Organization and supervision of the work of the volunteer.
Organization of the accommodation of the volunteer in Sofia and the field trips around Rila NP.
Providing training to the volunteer on Bulgarian language and Bulgarian culture and traditions.