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WWF and Explore Travel join to beckon British tourists to historic Maramures


London's World Travel Market is these days luring British wayfarers with a tourism program covering Romania's northern historic region of Maramures, a WWF- Romania and Explore Travel initiative.

The program is largely built around WWF initiatives in the region, which kicked off seven years ago and pursue the preservation of pristine secular forests and the conservation and responsible exploitation of local protected natural areas and the cultural heritage of the region.

WWF-Romania Country Manager Magor Csibi told AGERPRES that one percent of the acquisition cost of the tour package will be directed to WWF conservation projects.

'We launch this responsible tourism package in a critical moment for Romania, because we trust our country's tourism potential, our values, traditions and biodiversity that is unique in Europe. The success of this program will show us that economic solutions exist that open a viable path leading not only to economic prosperity, but also to respect for nature, traditions and local communities, at a time when too much emphasis is laid on immediate profit, on the exploitation of resources at any cost and short-sighted solutions. Generating long-term revenues through responsible tourism will not only help raise the living standards in the area, but will make a decisive contribution to preserving traditions and protecting the nature that makes us so proud of the wonderful area of Maramures,' said Magor Csibi.

The route proposed by the initiators is intended primarily for foreign tourists and largely follows the 'Maramures Heritage Road' created with WWF support in 2006. The 86-km long greenway connects seven protected areas and seven traditional villages and was designed especially for slow, non-motorized transport and tourism.

The foray into Maramures starts in the village of Breb, a veritable open-air museum where tourists have the opportunity to visit the wooden church built in 1531, an UNESCO heritage asset, then continues on the ‘Rooster 's Comb' ridge, crosses the virgin forest of Strambu Baiut, winds beneath several century-old wooden gates and has several heritage churches as milestones.

The tourism package includes a ride with the forestry narrow-gauge train dubbed ‘mocanita' that runs along the Vaser Valley, meetings with folk craftsmen, sewing bees, a stop at a traditional sheepfold and a visit to the Sapanta Merry Cemetery.

The tourists who will come to visit Maramures through the Explore Travel - WWF program will contribute to a Conservation and Sustainable Development Fund that will finance the protected areas in the region.