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Greenways concept attracts more and more attention of researchers, practitioners, planners, representatives of local administrative bodies and local communities. Greenways act as a catalyst for promoting sustainable development, the conservation of resources and provide economic benefits for rural communities through increasing livelihood chances (European Commission, 2003; Mac Nulty P., 2004).

The definition for the Greenway concept largely remains internationally undefined. Originally the ‘Greenway’ was a term coined by urban designers and landscape architects for ‘green’ connections between parks within the urban and peri-urban fringes of cities. The concept has since developed widely by name and type.

The Greenway concept started spreading at the end of 1980s – beginning of 1990s. European Greenways Association was formed which nowadays unites 35 members comprising of national organizations and associations dealing with the development and promotion of Greenways. The most active are organizations from Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

In Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) there is an existing network of greenways developed across Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The “Central and Eastern European Greenways” Program (CEG) (http://www.environmentalpartnership.org/regionalceg/) supported by the association Environmental Partnership for Sustainable development unites the CEE countries. The CEG network currently includes 8 long-distance Greenways and a dozen or more local trails – over 8000 km of eco-trails“ that attract substantial numbers of tourists.

Belarusian Association “Country Escape” within the framework of CEG joined the European Greenways Association in 2006. Membership in this body allows organizations to promote their national Greenways within Europe and provides an opportunity to access information and experiences from Western European countries.

Within the context of Belarus, Greenways are understood to be heritage trails leading along green corridors – rivers, historic trade routes, natural corridors managed together with local people to protect their ecological function, bring tourism and recreational activities and promote healthy lifestyle and non-motorized transport means (Klitsounova V., 2009).

Each greenway has its own identification system including name and logo. The name and logo of the greenways is shown on the information signs, panels, maps, guidebooks and other publications. Every greenway project has 5 necessary elements:

⎯ “backbone trail” for non-motorized transport;

⎯ network of different thematic local trails/loops, belong to backbone trail;

⎯ eco-tourism product based on local resources (natural and cultural heritage);

⎯ partnership in region and trail coordinator;

⎯ local heritage initiatives (Zaręba D., 2005; Galuszka N., 2008).

The main aim of this research is to demonstrate the efficiency of the Greenways concept in tourism development in one of the regions of Belarus which is a nontraditional tourist destination.



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