Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas inaugurated an Ecotourism Information Centre in the Vas County town of Apátistvánfalva on Friday; the facility was established through the reconstruction of a former border guard barracks.
Sándor Fazekas reminded those present that the new Information Centre had come into existence within the framework of the “From the Őrség to the Slovene Raba Region” project and is part of the ongoing cooperation between the Őrség National Park, the Goricko Nature Park in Slovenia and the Austrian Raab Nature Park.
The Apátistvánfalva Ecotourism Information Centre, which is operated by the Őrség National Park Directorate, partly serves to inform tourists and help them find their bearings in the tri-border area, but it also facilitates the strengthening of local tourism-related enterprises, enabling them to present their products, the Minister said. Mr. Fazekas pointed out that the three national parks had signed a cooperation agreement, aimed at protecting and preserving the three countries’ unique natural and cultural treasures in the region, in 2009.
The tri-border area is a place that is emblematic from many aspects, as the people living here were separated from each other by the iron curtain for decades, the Minister stated, adding that now it is emblematic because it offers an opportunity for cooperation with Slovenia and Austria. The border can now be crossed freely and those who find themselves in this wonderful natural environment hardly notice that they have crossed the border, a feeling that is aided by the fact that the wide-ranging cultural opportunities offered by the various monuments and other sites also create an organic unit.
In his speech, Minister of State for Rural Development and the region’s Member of Parliament Zsolt V. Németh spoke about the important role played by the Őrség National Park within the region, emphasising that the Park coordinates and manages some 2.7 billion forints in development projects within 13 different programmes in cooperation with 40 partners, usually local governments.