There are 329 species of birds in Belarus, some of which are very rare. Birdwatching enthusiasts come to Belarus from different countries to “catch” them. Ornithological tourism is one of the most actively developing and popular types of tourism in the world.
The opportunity for organized bird watching increases the chances of attracting tourists to any tourist destination.
An inclusive tourist site for bird watching has been opened on September 1 in the village of Zamasciany, Valožyn district. The site is located on the tourist route "Valožyn Hascincy".
The Local Initiative "Bird in Focus" is implemented by the Valožyn Rural Executive Committee within the framework of the project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus", which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The initiative is aimed at increasing the tourist potential of the Valožyn district by developing infrastructure for ecological tourism.
The birdwatching platform will allow observing waterbirds through binoculars and telescopes; it is also equipped with everything necessary for photographing birds. The site is located on the green tourist route "Valožyn Hascincy". Its infrastructure already provides tourists the opportunity to go along ecological paths, drive along several bike routes, raft down the river, stop at local agro-sports, and offers a wide range of other services.
While opening the bird watching platform, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in Belarus, Sanaka Samarasinha, noted impressive development of agritourism in Belarus:
"Over the past 5 years the number of agrotourism farms in the country almost doubled. Visa-free regime has helped a lot. If we continue this way and reduce the restrictions and expand opportunities, it will increase tenfold because there’s so much to do, to see and experience in this country. " said Sanaka Samarasinha.
The European Union and UNDP supported the opening of a bird watching site in the village of Zamasciany not only because it is of interest to tourists. This local initiative has shown a real example of partnership for the benefit of the community. This is an inclusive site, which, apart from tourists, will be used by children from the local school and the wards of the Valožyn territorial center of social services - people with disabilities and the elderly.
The site has a ramp for convenient use, provides bird watching equipment, and the "Winged Patrol - kids-ornithologists from the local school, are ready to conduct an introductory course on the local species of birds.
"It’s a great project for the community and for tourists. It’s a great example of collaborating with the local government, UNDP and state organizations." concluded Jim Couzens, Councellor, Head of Political, Press and Information Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus.
The project "Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus" aims at combining efforts and establishing partnerships between authorities and civil society to develop regions according to their specific requirements. The project is funded by the European Union (budget € 5,400,000) and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus.