UNESCO Global Geopark status brings development, tourism to Romania's Buzău Land
The status of UNESCO Global Geopark for Romania's Buzău Land/Ținutul Buzăului brought several projects, more tourists, and impressive development to the region, according to the Buzău Land Association and the Buzău County Council.
In March 2022, local authorities managed to include the Buzău Land region in the exclusive club of UNESCO Geoparks. The region is home to renowned tourist attractions such as the Mud Volcanoes, salt domes, living fires, the trovants of Ulmet, rock settlements, and the red amber of Colți.
In the 18 months since obtaining UNESCO status, the new Geopark has initiated numerous projects in sustainable development, civic engagement, education, economics, and environmental protection.
Compared to previous years, the number of tourists to the region is expected to double by the end of this season, reaching over 150,000 visitors.
The efforts to create a sustainable local economy already have a palpable impact on the region, bringing modern science laboratories, facilities for PET recycling, educational workshops for students, new trails and visitor centers for tourists, fairs to promote traditional crafts and local cuisine, as well as new funds for the local communities in the area.
Being part of the Geopark network has brought tremendous potential for promotion, including at the international level, and new opportunities for attracting funds. Municipalities in the region can now obtain the status of a tourist-interest commune and receive higher scores for financing local development projects.
With the Association's support, the Scorțoasa and Bozioru municipalities have already obtained the status of communes with tourist potential. Through collaborations with these two municipalities, the Geopark has set up two "Plastic Mills" - local recycling points serving 4-5 communes each - to help communities locally process their waste and turn it into raw material.
"For a year and a half, the UNESCO Global Geopark Buzău Land has been a source of local pride, as well as one of the landmarks that place Buzău county on the map of responsible tourism," stated the president of the Buzău County Council, Petre Emanoil Neagu.
In addition to the financial support provided by the Buzău County Council, the Association has also attracted over EUR 150,000 in funds through involvement in international projects and sponsorships from large companies in Romania. Initiatives include wilderness survival workshops for children, visits from foreign student groups, personal skills development workshops required for the job market, and the development of a mobile science laboratory - the Traveling Lab - for educational activities in high schools, schools, and outdoors.
Within the "Natural Laboratory" for Scientific Research in partnership with the National Institute for Earth Physics, the Geopark launched a research project this year to explore the Mud Volcanoes and other geological sites in the area in depth, aiming to understand the underground structures and the reasons why they form volcanoes with different shapes and behaviors on the surface.
In collaboration with the Slow Food Buzău Land community, the Association has been involved in organizing the Artisans' Market, supporting local producers and guesthouse owners who promote healthy and sustainable food. Many visitors have had the opportunity to discover and purchase quality local products, from Pleșcoi sausages and local beer, Colți Amber Ale, to Dealu Mare wines and many other traditional dishes. The next edition will take place on September 23-24 in Berca.
(Photo source: Asociația Ținutul Buzăului)