The persistent and stubborn young people of Pernik region can develop tourism TOGETHER

Stanimira Hadjimitova, director of the Center for Sustainable Communities Development – the organization implementing the RAISE Youth project in Bulgaria – is categorical.

At a round table on July 6, she presented the results of the project so far, including the creation of a Regional RAISE Youth Center in the city of Breznik, where hundreds of young people in the last 3 years had trainings in gardening, herbalism, entrepreneurship, beekeeping, creation of agricultural cooperative, digital marketing, tourism; 3 tourist routes were created and 8 farmers’ markets were held including The First Western Farmers’ Market.

This is far from all – a mobile tourist website was also created for the purposes of tourism in the region – , as well as a gamified tourist route near the village of Zelenigrad, the region of Trun city. The construction of a crowdsourcing platform to support the young people of the area and a new type of Aeroponics greenhouse is in the process and a chatbot is currently being developed to navigate tourists in Pernik.

The developers and creators of Chatbot – Elitsa Stoilova, co-founder and manager of Umni.BG and Alex Milchov, co-founder of GraoSoft company and participant in RAISE Youth project trainings, presented their product during the round table to over 70 people from the region. The travel chatbot with artificial intelligence will turn the image of the destination to what is currently invisible.

The avatar name Is Struma. It will walk users through all stages of their journey – where to park, business services, weather, entertainment, accommodation, travel information, currency calculator, air quality. A chatbot conversational module is also being developed. Of course, the authors rely on subsequent sponsorship from medium and large enterprises in the region, as well as advertising.

There is also the creation of treasure hunt games through QR codes, the development of bike tours and audio talks for various tourist sites.

Interest in the products and successes of the RAISE Youth project is also shown by the local government. Local municipality representatives participated in the event, in the presence of Stefan Krastev, deputy Mayor of Pernik municipality. He shared his joy that little by little the city is starting to be associated with a different type of tourism. According to him, the vision for Pernik as the European festival capital is leading.

“Our history embodies the industrial power of Bulgaria. An important prerequisite for the cultural development of the city is one of the largest ethno-festivals in Europe, namely the International Festival of Masquerade Games SURVA”.

Konstantin Zankov, creator of Travel Mind – a platform for marketing and training in the field of tourism and author of the gamified tourist route “Zelenigrad”, Desislava Alexova – tourism expert and Vihra Ognyanova – brand manager and designer, who together developed a strategy and plan for the development of tourism in the municipality of Radomir, spoke about the image of the region for different tourists. For the city of Radomir the idea is that the city’s hidden treasures will attract tourists from all over the country and abroad.

The highlight of the event was the participation of the youth from SURICHE school “Dr. Petar Beron”, town of Pernik. Nikol, Ekaterina and Victoria from the class “Organizer of tourist agency activity” have their own project for the development of tourism in the Pernik region. They will focus on several tourist sites – the town planning of the town of Pernik, the village of Busintsi with the Busin pottery, the yogurt in Studen Izvor and the well temple near the village of Garlo.

“We don’t want to be associated with winkel and golf, but with our sights and to be proud of them!” We will try to make something that we can leave in our birthplace and that will be used by the local authorities,” the girls add.

The topic of the participation of people who make decisions at the district level was repeatedly discussed during the round table. It was repeatedly emphasized that the youth of the region have incredible ideas for development, but they need the support of all important strategic stakeholders to be able to turn their hometowns into an attraction for visitors from near and far. Or as RAISE Youth project manager Ms. Stanimia Hadjimitova advised them:

“Boys and girls – the future is in you! Be more active, be interested and insist, ask who will do what for the development of tourism in our city, our municipality, our region! This can lead to a livelihood, to the development of your business, so that you don’t need to run to Sofia or abroad, but have a decent income and a decent life here!”