In 2020, the development of the tourism industry is taking place in the context of the global tourism crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic led to the closure of borders and almost complete halt of international air traffic. These and other restrictive measures boosted popularity of domestic tourism. People quickly acquired a habit of traveling within the country.
In Belarus there are many beautiful places, small towns and villages with a rich and interesting history, which can easily become new points on the tourist map of the country. But nature and history alone are not enough, the quality of services and developed infrastructure are as well important for tourists.
COVID-19 has made a huge impact on the tourism industry around the world, and Belarus is no exception. External tourist flows have decreased, and the revenue of the tourism industry has dropped. The small village of Kamarova is located in the MiadieÌ district of the Minsk region. It is 180 kilometers from the capital of Belarus. Slightly over 600 people who live here, embody creative ideas, making Kamarova an open-air museum, experience exchange center for small and medium-sized businesses and a place which is pleasant and comfortable for locals and tourists.
Komarova has a great potential in tourism. Since 2004, The Center for Development of Rural Entrepreneurship has been operating here, a bakery, a shop and a cafe has been opened and new jobs have been created. Now opening of a cheese factory is underway.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to the way rural tourism works. Using the experience of new realities, Kamarova moves forward and develops those elements of infrastructure that are not typical for the village, which at the same time will create new jobs and improve the quality of life of the local population.
The uniqueness of the village is that the restored buildings in Kamarova are used to create new sites of tourist infrastructure through placing small businesses there, thus saving the historical buildings from destruction.
The stained-glass windows adorn the old building that is currently under renovation and is experiencing its rebirth as a local cheese factory with a showroom for tasting local products.
The craft cheese from Kamarova will be made in an ecological way only using local ingredients. The cheese factory is expected to be a new tourist attraction along with the renovated historical building. The new business will create new jobs, allow local farmers to increase milk sales and grow their herd livestock, while staying afloat during the economic crisis and its long-term consequences.
To preserve the heritage and support entrepreneurial growth, local business people restore and adopt the idle historic buildings for their small industries, such as cheese factory, bakery, which create new jobs and attract guests and villagers with tasty and healthy products.
The bicycle parking design ennobles and arranges the rural streets of Komarova.
Away from the noise of the cities, placid rural landscapes bring inspiration and renewal. When we plan our trips, we often choose big cities, popular destinations, we strive to see architecture with history. But it's astonishing what unexpected beauty you can find in small Belarusian villages like Komarova.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry in the country, UNDP and Poland continue to support the development of tourism potential in the regions by improving infrastructure, promoting interesting destinations for families and small groups of travelers. Support and development of local tourism contributes to the creation of new jobs, increasing the competitiveness of tourism facilities far from big cities, which is important for the economic development of rural regions.
Kamarova is one of the pilot sites of the "Supporting Entrepreneurship in Tourism at the Local Level in the Republic of Belarus" project, funded by Polish Aid development programme and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Tourism of Belarus.