How to turn a farmhouse into a green tourism destination

How to turn a farmhouse into a green tourism destination

Recently, such a phenomenon as rural, or, as it is also called, green, tourism is gaining more and more popularity. There is a simple explanation for this: having received the right to land ownership, it is not at all necessary to limit yourself exclusively to growing vegetables and fruits, you can "dilute" them with tourists. As a result, the latter will be able to relax in silence and enjoy communication with nature, and the host party will receive an additional source of income.

Unemployment relief

Rural green tourism, like many other things, came to us from Europe, where mechanization and modernization have brought agriculture to the point that it is no longer the most important form of land use and a priority in the activities of the rural community. And then rural tourism appeared as a kind of social shock absorber in the agricultural sector, which was supposed to take the surplus of labor in alternative production of services and create new jobs.

The second impetus for the development of green tourism was the change in the tastes of tourists, who increasingly prefer the quiet of the countryside to the noisy resorts. According to the World Bank project “Issuance of State Certificates for the Title to Land in Rural Areas and Development of the Cadastre System”, 35% of citizens in the EU now spend their vacations in rural areas. Their share is especially high in Holland - 49%; in France, out of 37 million tourists, about 7 million rest in the countryside. In these countries, as well as in Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and Spain, vacation in the countryside ranks second in popularity after the sea.

Moreover, the organization of rural tourism is encouraged at the national level. For example, in Poland, the legislation does not classify the provision of rural tourism services as an entrepreneurial activity; accordingly, these incomes of peasant farms are not subject to value added tax. In addition, the legislation provides for exemption from taxation of income derived from the provision of accommodation services to tourists. The voluntary categorization of rural accommodation facilities has improved the quality of services, and, as a result, the number of people wishing to relax in the Polish countryside is growing steadily.

Without norms and standards

In Ukraine, rural tourism is just trying to get back on its feet. According to the chairman of the Union for the Promotion of Rural Green Tourism in Ukraine, Vladimir Vasiliev, it develops mainly in areas that have two main prerequisites: the unemployed population and the private residential sector. The most promising are the Carpathian region and Crimea. Even the State Statistics Committee does not know how many green tourism facilities there are in the country, because no one counts them officially. According to the specialized union, there are about 950 of them, although at least 1 million houses from 6-7 million households in rural areas can potentially receive tourists.

What hinders the development of a seemingly profitable type of business that does not require any special costs? The main difficulty, according to Vladimir Vasiliev, is the lack of legislative regulation of this type of activity. Now the main document is considered the "Law on Tourism" of 1998. Since then, a number of documents have been adopted that regulate economic and entrepreneurial activity on the basis of LKH (personal peasant farms), but as a result, there have been many ambiguities and misunderstandings in the interpretation of economic issues that arise when servicing tourists by peasants. The Tax Code also added ambiguities. And there is no hope that all issues will be resolved in the near future - half a dozen bills on green tourism have been registered in the Verkhovna Rada, but none of them reached the first reading.

An obstacle in development is the lack of a system for stimulating green tourism, says Pavel Tsirul, chairman of the council of the All-Ukrainian Federation of Employers in Tourism of Ukraine, in particular, the lack of cheap loans that can be used to modernize tourist facilities.

In addition, there are no basic standards and norms of services, the interpretation of certification, licensing, taxation, rights and obligations of those working in the field of green tourism is not agreed. Moreover, the legislation still does not define which types of activities relate to green tourism. In a word, the industry already exists, but there are no clear and transparent rules of the game for it.

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