The BSST Program began active development in 2014 as a venture created by Sustainable Rural Development International, a UK non-profit which provided financial and expertise support together with funds generously donated by individuals. The program was able to focus on in-depth country situational analyses over a three year period. The result was a collection of rural destinations in Ukraine, Turkey and Georgia which shared our values and those of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. We believe that travel is a force for good. Travel is more than visiting a place on the map. It is learning about, interacting with and understanding the people living there. Our goal is to have a positive impact on our member communities and engage you with the people, environment and culture.
We are a social enterprise, which means we prioritize doing good and putting our profits back into our activities and communities in which we work. We work with communities to help them develop their own sustainable tourism program through a participatory community organization that gives everyone a voice in their future.
We seek out and partner with rural communities that want to improve local livelihoods, celebrate cultural traditions, preserve their ecological heritage and share it all with travellers.
You visit and experience the community as a whole. Our communities are committed to protecting and preserving their ecological and cultural heritage. Community members work together so that the entire community benefits from sustainable travel and gives you a unique experience.
When you travel to a BSST community, 5% of your fee will be donated to a unique Black Sea Community Fund to give communities a source of funds through micro-grants to support activities that preserve their cultures and environments, building a sustainable future and expanding the experience for the traveler. You know that you are directly giving back to the community and that everything you spend stays in the community. We are not the usual travel operator. Our team has been involved with economic development, environmental preservation and cross-border initiatives for 40 years. We interact directly with each community, build their capacity, help them exchange ideas with other communities and assure that the entire community benefits from your visit. By bringing people together and offering travelers a unique experience, we believe we can make a difference - one community at a time.
Visit off-the-tourist-track towns and villages to immerse yourself in daily lives. Want to learn how to make churchkhela or have a glass of homemade wine with local cheese in Georgia, and enjoy tea and handmade sweets in a slow city on the Silk Road in Turkey? Each community has designed a unique "Get to Know our Community" tour. As part of every two-night stay, we have helped the community to develop a full-day tour for you. Each community will introduce their culture, environment and daily life through visits to artisans for local crafts, trekking through their protected environment and visiting small businesses that represent typical village life.