The delegation from Kyrgyzstan's HORECA sector recently visited the European Union on a study tour organised by the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia PERETO project. The tour took place from April 17-21, 2023, with the aim of enabling representatives from the Kyrgyz Government, Business Association, University, and project team to experience energy and resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production (ERE/SCP) best practices in Europe.
The target group for the tour included policy makers, tourist/HORECA associations, and tourism academics. The delegation participated in over 13 meetings across five cities in Belgium and the Netherlands, including Brussels, Leuven, Antwerp, The Hague, and Rotterdam.
The delegation met with experts from the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships and the Environment within the framework of the SWITCH-Asia programme and examined other European Union sustainability projects.
"It is important to continue exploring opportunities for cooperation on similar green programmes of the European Union, implemented in your region, and to combine not only common tasks, vision, and values, but also the expertise of teams," said colleagues from the Directorate-General for the Environment.
The delegation also met with Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of the European Tourism Commission, who discussed the main directions of the strategy for the development of sustainable tourism in the European Union. Santander suggested signing a memorandum on cooperation with the Kyrgyz Republic, stating that he believed the European Union's experience and implemented programmes would contribute to the development of sustainable tourism in Kyrgyzstan.
The National Development Programme of the Kyrgyz Republic until 2026, aimed at improving citizens' well-being, reflects the country's commitment to achieving sustainable development goals. In this regard, promoting a green economy for Kyrgyzstan is a priority.
Certainly, this initiative of the PERETO project, based on acquainting participants with the experience of various European Union cities and countries in actively implementing 'green' principles in strategic management, including sectors such as construction, energy, sustainable tourism, green financing, and urban planning, will be an important prerequisite for the effective and high-quality implementation of 'green' policy in Kyrgyzstan. Meetings with European organisations, active supporters of the climate agenda, allowed us to become familiar with the diversity of 'green' solutions successfully implemented in various social processes. We would like to thank the PERETO project and colleagues/partners from the European Union for organising such important events, which align with the fundamental principle of the Sustainable Development Goals to 'leave no one behind, said Benazir Nurlanova, Chief Expert of the Department of Monitoring and Analysis of Reforms of Management of Political and Economic Research of the Presidential Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic.
During the tour, the delegation visited cities and green offices of European Union organisations to explore methods and approaches for sustainable tourism development in terms of their applicability and implementation in the Kyrgyz context. The delegation learned about the European Union Circular Economy Development Policy, work at the municipal and individual business levels, consumer and resident behaviour, educational processes, and planning.
The PERETO project thanks all the organisations for the meetings, presentations, and productive dialogues: BEUC, HOTREC, Department of Heritage and Sustainable Tourism of the University of Leuven, Department of Tourism in Antwerp, Netherlands Agency for Entrepreneurship, PAKT green hub, Netherlands Business Development Bank (FMO), Rotterdam Partners, Good Planet, Environmental Coalition on EU standards and regulations. As a result of the visit, a roadmap for implementing participants' proposals and recommendations will be developed.
"The tour was an important opportunity to establish connections with European organisations and gain valuable knowledge on sustainable tourism development that will help advance the development of sustainable tourism in Kyrgyzstan," concluded Nurzat Abdyrasulova, President of Unison Group.