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The SWITCH-Asia programme's team has created a video about sustainable housing and building. In 2019 the Asia-Pacific region has become majority urban for the first time in the history. With more than 2,3 billion people living in the cities, the need for a sustainable urban future has never been more important. Sustainable housing can improve the quality of life. How homes and buildings are planned and developed have significant impacts on living conditions, social life, resource use and climate mitigation.

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Here you can find 18 hiking tours for one and multiple days (up to 11 days) in Latvia and Estonia, which is part of the Baltic Forest Hiking long distance path (in Latvia – Mežtaka, in Estonia – Metsa matkarada) (E11) – the most interesting, scenic forest areas of both countries, which are renowned for their natural and cultural objects. Several tours include national parks, nature parks, and biosphere reserves, as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Every tour includes a schematic tour map, provides information about the mileage to be covered within a day, level of difficulty, most outstanding sightseeing objects, as well as practical information about the road surface, getting to the starting point and returning from the finish back to the city.

The tours are provided for both individual travellers and small tourist groups. It is recommended to book transport (rent a car or use public transportation), accommodation and meals in advance, as well as arrange personal and luggage transfer if necessary.

The tours may be shortened or extended depending on the wishes of travellers. These hiking tours, or some of them, may also be included in the traditional tourism routes and city excursions to diversify the offer.

>>> TOURS (PDF)


The project “A model for sustainable tourism in Central Asia: Building capacities, creating awareness, introducing technology” (MOST) team met on 13th and 14th of January for the second steering committee meeting. It was planned to be in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan but due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions meeting was held via Zoom platform. On the first day partners shared information about tasks that has been done. As planned the first trainings on GSTC criteria, relevant standards and green procurement as well as on ICT tools took place within the first year of the project. To discuss different topics about sustainable tourism three round tables among targeted SMEs and local and regional authorities took place in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan and via Zoom platform. “Lauku ceļotājs” took part in one round table that was organized by Eurasian Tourism Association in Kazakhstan. Our experts gave presentation about environmental certification procedures and sustainable tourism management issues, also shared their experience with the environmental quality mark “Green Certificate” in Latvia. A project website and Facebook page has also been created to share the news about what’s going on and what has been achieved.

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We continue to work on the project "Silver Travellers". The project aims to close an existing gap in the provision of modern technology learning in the rural tourism sector facing new market challenges. On December 18th the project partners met online to discuss the next steps until the end of the project in August 2021.

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On December 11, 2020, the winners of the competition "New Tourism Product 2020" in Latvia organized by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) were announced. The first place was awarded to the tourism product nominated by Vidzeme Planning Region – the long-distance hiking route Forest Trail (Baltic Forest Hiking).

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On December 22 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and via Zoom platform a round table was held on the topic “Environmental Certification Procedures and Sustainable Tourism Management Issues – the challenges and the expectations at National level”. The purpose of the round table was to strengthen the dialogue between enterprises and government agencies regarding the development of sustainable tourism in Kazakhstan. Representatives of central and regional government bodies, higher education institutions, associations, hotels and travel companies were invited to the round table.

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An increasing number of rural tourism accommodation owners are ready to take all required safety precautions and receive guests who need a place to stay for self-isolation or quarantine. The sites are located in all regions of Latvia, most of all – in the central part of the country. 

We keep an updated list of such accommodations and their online map >>> HERE.

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We continue to work on the project “A model for sustainable tourism in Central Asia: Building capacities, creating awareness, introducing technology” (MOST). The project aims at promoting a new and well-structured model for sustainable tourism in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan that can contribute to preserving and strengthening local culture, heritage and traditions, while also protecting the natural environment. The former Soviet Asian States present considerable opportunities to become a major tourist destination in the way of unique cultural, historical, archaeological, and natural attractions. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have strategically utilized tourism for driving economic growth. However, the sector faces a lot of problems and challenges, such as underdeveloped infrastructure, low standard services to the tourists and high prices. Given that the tourism sector in these countries is still under-developed but with very high potential, the setting of a sustainable tourism model is very crucial.

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The project "A model for sustainable tourism in Central Asia: Building capacities, creating awareness, introducing technology" (MOST) team has created an introduction video for this project. It gives an insight of what is planned as well as for whom the project is meant for.

EU-funded SWITCH-Asia Programme Project MOST aims to support tourism MSMEs and associations as well as local and regional authorities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan towards a new model of sustainable tourism based on the sustainable production and consumption patterns. This will be achieved through the provision of a life cycle and supply chain management approach to sustainability interventions in tourism, covering issues that range from support for regional policies & planning, adoption of standards, introduction of value chain concepts, to the awareness of relevant stakeholders, highlighting in this way the multi-stakeholder nature of tourism sustainability and the great benefits that will arise through the engagement and cooperation of all stakeholders.

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The fifth and final meeting took place on May 27, 2020 in Riga, Latvia. Originally this meeting was planned on March 31 also as a final dissemination event – a seminar with ca 100 participants – SMEs. It was planned to invite the target audience – rural tourism and training sectors’ representatives as well as environment protection and sustainable rural development stakeholders. It didn’t happen as planned due to the emergency situation in the world caused by COVID-19 virus, disseminating results on-line. Instead the meeting took place in LCTA office participating only project partners. They discussed and evaluated all tangible project outcomes (printable handbook versions, an on-line training tools and on-line check lists in all three partner languages). They discussed activities which have been done in order to disseminate project results. The budget and ideas for the next project were discussed as well.

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