Asviejski Reserve. Photo by Viktar Malyshchyts

 

It will soon be possible to take a walk and enjoy the attractions of the "Nalibokski", “Aziory” and "Asviejski" reserves in a virtual format – virtual tours will be available for each of the three reserves. Interactive tours will contribute to the promotion of the unique natural potential of Belarus and the development of ecological tourism on the specially protected natural areas and will stimulate the interest of Belarusian and foreign tourists to the nature reserves. In the long-term perspective, ecotourism will bring economic benefits to the specially protected natural areas and will allow to invest the revenues generated from tourism products in further preservation and improvement of management of the protected areas.

The development of the virtual tours for the three reserves will be possible thanks to the project “Ecotourism development to promote green transition to inclusive and sustainable growth” implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus with financial support from Russia-UNDP Trust Fund for Development. Aerial and photo-shootings on the territory of the pilot reserves will start in October 2021 and will finish in the spring 2022. 

The virtual tours of the three reserves will cover forests and lakes, ecological inclusive trails, cycling routes, tourist sites, habitats of wild animals, including the European bison, as well as such attraction as the 200-year-old oak grove, the ruins of the Shadurski Palace and others.

The interfaces of the virtual tours will be presented in three languages ​​– Belarusian, Russian and English, and the 3D- and aerial panoramas will be accompanied by the sounds of nature and music. The tours will be adapted for demonstration on all modern devices – stationary computers and laptops, smartphones and tablets, virtual reality glasses and helmets, interactive tables and touch panels.

Environmental tourism in a virtual format

Virtual tourism has become especially popular and in demand in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected the tourism and travel field around the world. Today, virtual tourism is considered one of the ways to rebuild the travel and tourism industry in the post-COVID world. Augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies can offer alternative ways to travel the world and new models for the industry.

About the project: The project “Ecotourism development to promote green transition to inclusive and sustainable growth” aims to increase capacity and embed a mechanism for the implementation of a set of measures for the development and promotion of ecotourism, create necessary methodical framework for the expansion of ecotourism and strategic planning system, strengthen cooperation between private companies, public environmental agencies and the local population. 

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