Do you think that you have enough with tourist packages that give you only travel and hotel? Do you want to go out of the hotels in the exotic places you visit and taste the traditional cuisine, but also see how the food is made? Do you wish to experience the struggle of everyday life of fruit and nut or vegetables producers? Are you interested in nature and the miracles that are hidden in the behaviour of pollinating insects? Would you like to endeavour to understand the secrets of a honey bee superorganism? You can have a taste of the above through what we call, Apitourism!
Apitourism in Greece
Developing apitourism in the region of Greece is not an easy task. The main obstacle is the human fear as most people in Greece fear the bees!!! The steps of our team are slow but steady and initially based on education. Different approaches are used in order to inform and raise citizen's awareness. Presentation by beekeepers at schools proved to be until now, the most effective approach as children learn, feel and transmit all this positive energy and enthusiasm. The next step will be made by providing to both citizens and tourists easy access to experiential knowledge.
The Municipality of Nea Propontida
The Municipality of Nea Propontida is located at Prefecture of Halkidiki, in the Region of Central Macedonia in Northern Greece. Halkidiki, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece as it has the perfect combination of that distinctive Greek light, unspoiled landscapes, colours and fragrances! However, Halkidiki features a typical "sea and sun" tourism model with over a million overnight stays concentrated in coastal areas during the summer months. Still, tourism leaders and professionals of the area have realized the need for change. Tourism must be sustainable and should also be connected with the special elements that this region generously offers: nature, tradition, history, gastronomy. The Municipality of Nea Propontida has undertaken a challenging and innovating project for the region, aiming at the interconnection of beekeeping with tourism, called Apitourism!
Slovenia, a model for apitourism
Slovenia has already developed apitourism and it is a model for our city. A country with long beekeeping tradition, which legally protects its local breed (Apis mellifera carnica), has achieved admirable synergies between beekeepers, tour operators and local businesses. Furthermore, Slovenia is the only country that certifies apitourism and providers.
The bee symbol has been used since 2013 (one, two or three bees at the most) to indicate the quality of individual providers in terms of service delivery, use of environmentally friendly materials, specialization, innovation, efficiency, experience and location. Also, from 2016 there are specialized guides for apitourism. In addition, Slovenia is a pioneer in the creation of tourist routes of beekeeping interest. Slovenia was the 'inventor' of the World Bee Day celebration.
Summarised from article by Anastasia Liourta and Fani Hatjina, The Municipality of Nea Propontida, Greece
Knowledge hub: Education
Guidelines: The evolution steps toward a Bee friendly city - The transfer journey Find out more how to develop or move tourism to become greener and more sustainable and incorporating the Bee Path in this process. In the BeePathNet partnership there were several ways how to achieve this and they are described in the guidelines for the development of urban beekeeping.
Read chapter 7 Tourism – The Bee Path and tourism. There you will find how Ljubljana did it and some of its good practices such as cooperation with the University Botanic Gardens Ljubljana, The Central Market in Ljubljana, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, B&B Hotel Park Ljubljana, tourist farm Pri Lazarju....
There is also a case study from Nea Propontida, Greece, the BeePathNet partner city.
BeePathNet newsletters library - visit the thematic newsletters archive and find inspiring urban stories, ideas for small scale activities with a big impact, involvement of different stakeholders etc… To get closer to citizens, we translated them in several languages.
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Some good practices for inspiration
Just for a first inspiration, we present some of our Bee-friendly cities good practices.
Lorenzo Rota Botanical Garden – Eden for pollinators and citizens
the Botanical Garden of Bergamo, that the magazine “Gardenia” called “the hidden gem” set in the ring of the Venetian walls, in the Upper Town, is a 2,400 square meters area, rich in plants, where the difficult coexistence among more than 1,200 taxa is made possible thanks to study and constant care. The lotus, papyrus, carnivorous sundew in the Madagascar Palm company, the sanguisorba orobica, sugar cane, candelabra cactus, are some of the species that can be found there. The Botanical Garden conducts conservation of endangered plants and carries out reintroduction projects of endangered species in the wild, but it also aims to bring the public closer to the world of plants and to arouse respect for nature. For this purpose annual exhibitions, guided tours, workshops for children and adults, discussions and conferences, training courses and other educational teaching activities and cultural events are organized. The Botanical Garden can be reached by foot only: to get there you must travel a long but comfortable ladder of 141 steps, once there, the quiet and the views are priceless.
Slovene Etnographic Museum
The Slovene Etnographic Museum, the central institution for the preservation of ethnological cultural heritage in Slovenia, has been part of the BEE PATH from the very beginning. Their permanent collection concerning beekeeping – Plečnik’s “Lectarija” include honey bread store, beehives, candles, honey bread, etc. Educational courses or workshops on painting beehive panels – an old form of traditional beehive decoration – are a part of their regular program. Since so many elements of the beekeeping tradition were already available in the museum, a connecting story was formulated quite quickly and easily in the form of a 3-hour event called “The Honey Experience”.
BeePathNet partner – the city of Nea Propontida, Greece
The park is located on the border of the Municipality of Nea Propontida with the Municipality of Thermi in Thessaloniki. It is one of a kind in Northern Greece, allowing visitors to:
- Follow the paths of the park with either a ‘self-guide’ map or a guide beekeeper;
- Admire an open-air nature museum;
- Relax in the apitherapy houses, specially designed places where one can enjoy the “bee buzz” and beehive aromatherapy;
- Try out or taste pure beehive products, herbs and cosmetics and get info on their use and benefits from expert scientists;
- Watch the bees working in an observation beehive.
- Experience and learn about the beekeeping flora of Greece, which is constantly threatened by anthropogenic interventions.