“We Have to Meet the World’s Standards”: How Alla Torchynovych is Developing Green Tourism in Ukraine

Having returned to her native village in the Vinnytsia region after years of living in the UK, Alla Torchynovych cherishes a dream of turning Zabuzhzhia into a center of green tourism, where tourists from all over Ukraine and abroad will come to visit in the summer and in the winter.

Alla is gradually moving towards her goal, developing different areas and analyzing the needs and demands of the target audience. Her business began with a lavender field – a scenic photo shoot location. 

Despite the field’s beauty and the demand for such a business, there is a significant drawback: seasonality. The active period usually ends with the collection and sale of plants.

Lavender blooms for two months,” Alla says. “But I want tourists to come here both in the summer and in the winter. Therefore, Alla plans to develop routes that are attractive at any time of the year, combining both scenic nature and historical context. So, she continues to study the region’s legends and history and even plans to open a museum. 

She has already had a successful experience in an effort to reduce the impact of “seasonality” on business revenues: Alla started holding a winter plein air for artists who come to Zabuzhzhia in search of inspiration and colorful landscapes. The guests inspired Alla to create a cultural and educational center in the village called “Rutenia,” which will make tours more exciting for potential customers. It was for this premise that Alla purchased a solid fuel boiler for the grant funds from the project “Economic Opportunities for Women Affected by Conflict,” which the Ukrainian Women’s Fund implemented with the support of UN Women and the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

Alla used part of the funds to pay for the work of a woman artist who created a mural on the cultural and educational center building.

Such support will allow her to use her own funds for other business expansion needs, such as introducing additional services. Having gained some experience in hosting guests, Alla drew attention to another opportunity for business development: cooking and serving food and drinks. Visitors often stay for 3 to 5 hours to take photos, so they get hungry before returning home. Within the second line of business, the tourist estate, there is also a demand for food.

Creating comfortable living conditions in the houses is another important business principle that Alla always emphasizes, as she is sure that otherwise, the business will not attract foreign tourists. 

Foreign guests have been vacationing in nice hotels. They will be interested in Ukrainian history, they will be interested in Ukraine, but we have to provide them with comfort, otherwise, nothing will work. We have to meet the global standard of green tourism,explains Alla.

However, preparing for the introduction of new services also requires more time spent on administration, so Alla hired an assistant, an IDP woman from the Kharkiv region. The woman came to Alla with her family to escape the war, and in Zabuzhzhia, she found shelter and a new home, and now an interesting job. 

Even amid a full-scale war, Alla Torchynovych is making plans to develop her business, renovating the building where she will open a cultural and educational center, and installing solar panels.

Alla shared her dream for the future, Only a few dozen people are working in small farms in European villages, and people from all over the world come to visit. The development of small villages in Ukraine holds great potential in the future. I want people to be able to come to the villages to admire the beauty of nature, to reboot, to be able to drive up to any village, go on Google Maps and find an interesting place with workshops, photo zones, and other leisure options.