Study visit in Podkarpackie region, Poland

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In May 2014 representatives of Podkarpackie region (Poland)  presented five good practices in senior tourism easy transferable to other regions.

The Old Travelers Club bases on infrastructure, experience and staff of Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK), and is a regional branch in Rzeszów. Once a week seniors meet in the rooms of PTTK, participate in lectures, exhibitions, presentations and discussions. Many of them used to be members of PTTK for years. But the doors are open for everyone who is keen on tourism and travelling. Once a month they organize a trip together – the goal may be a shrine or preservation area in the mountains. The principle is the agenda meeting all expectations of senior tourists.

The second good practice to visit was the Pottery Grange in Medynia Głogowska, where Pottery Workshops are annually organized from spring till autumn. The Grange Manager with the extraordinary knowledge of local pottery traditions at her fingertips introduces into a wider concept of pottery center spreading over the village. The grange consists of the 19th century residential buildings with contemporary furnishings and traditional pottery kiln. During the holiday season there are organized multi-day workshops, and throughout the year – come classes or groups and individual tourists. Under the supervision of potters they can learn how to make vessels on the wheel, sculpting in clay and firing in the kiln. By the opening the center was only a workshop for children and local schools, but it turned out that it was a unique service and visitors from other municipalities, and even from other countries started to visit the workshop. Today the most important thing is the intergenerational knowledge transfer, as there is no formal education provided on this field. Pottery Farm is the perfect place to teach ergo-therapy (occupational therapy, work therapy), which is considered as an interface between medic treatments and normal professional activities. Further information: (in English)

The Garden providing easy access to people in wheel-chairs, or with lesser physical afflictions, persons with vision defects and people advanced in age is the Universal Sensual Garden. In central part of the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce there are purposely adapted basins with the aquatic plants. The collections are placed on the elevated flower-beds, which makes easier direct contact with the plants, particularly to the people recognizing them with the sense of touch. On the boundaries of the Garden grow big-sized plants, whereas in the centre lower plants, dwarf plants and perennial plants are located. The Garden has also collections of the specially assorted plants, for example, as regards tactual sensations, aroma, with interesting texture, variegated leaf-, root-, and fruit-shapes. Moreover, there are informative boards with aggrandized writing and with Braille writing. The Sensual Universal Garden financed by the Regional Government of Podkarpackie, is one of the 17 similar gardens of Poland. It was established in 1975, currently they are operating on 28 hectares. Further information: (only in Polish, but a Guidebook in English is downloadable)

In the heart of mild Polish Carpathians, the Bieszczady Mountains there are two artificial lakes – Solina Lake and Myczkowce Lake. Couple of hundred meters away from the latter’s shore is the Caritas Resort. A little bit old fashioned provides a huge number of services for people all ages. The vital group here are the senior visitors. Seniors are coming to the center for physiotherapy to rehabilitate after certain diseases. Besides Bieszcady mountains a network of Nordic walking routes and ecological guided tours are provided for visitors. Nordic Walking Centre is for them an interesting attraction as the paths around the lake are mild and prepared even for disabled people, in the resort are available sticks to rent, medical care is in place and the resort offers also other attractions like a unique exhibition of wooden architecture from Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian Carpathians or the Bible Garden. Further information on the Caritas Center and its activities: (only available in Polish)

The fifth good practice presented by Podkarpackie bases on its variety of natural resources. Many species of birds and other wildlife are superb object to observe, photograph and sometimes to follow. These are also the services provided by The Carpathian Wildlife Foundation for both groups and individual nature lovers. The most customers are over 45, quite often around 60. These people know exactly what they want to experience and this experience must be guaranteed. The aim of the activity is opening of Eastern Carpathians transboundary area between Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine for international visitors from all over the world.