One way in all directions

Soon Hutsul Paris, or Transcarpathian Rakhiv, risks being cut off from the world. The only thin thread meandering between the mountains which connects this place with other areas of the region and neighboring Frankivsk region, may remain the highway Mukachevo-Rohatyn- Ivano-Frankivsk.

 The road currently is not in perfect condition, and some areas (in particular, across the bridge in the village of Velylyky Bychkov) require the maximum attention and concentration of drivers. Moreover it is the only road leading to the mountain district center which is often held hostage by various natural disasters – snow, floods, landslides. Meanwhile, Ukrzaliznytsya wants to cancel the only train that connects the mountainous region with the largest city in western Ukraine – Lviv.

 ‘We will be left without tourists’, the highlanders complain asking for the train to Lviv to continue running.

Untapped potential

 The most mountainous regional center of Transcarpathia, Rakhiv, could be called Ukrainian Cran-Montanata for the beauty of the surrounding landscapes and its position close to attractive tourist sites. Mountains are everywhere here no matter where you look. They can be seen from the town hall, from cafes and restaurants, several street markets and from the bridge over the rough river Tysa. Here, in this small mountain town, you can now find such priceless food as sheep milk, sheep cheese (brynza), vurda. In addition, the routes to all the highest peaks of Ukraine, mountain lakes and meadows with cattle start here. Isn’t it a paradise for tourism development?

However, in 20 years they failed to build Ukrainian Switzerland in this area. On the contrary, after the Soviet-era tourism here began to decline. And this process continues. The last year official statistics, according to which Rachiv district earned 6% less on tourism than in2010, is the evidence of this. What’s the problem? Probably it is impossible to attribute everything just to one cause. We will still have to use a trite phrase about the ‘comprehensive approach’ that is necessary for the mountainous region to be able to develop its tourism potential to the full extent.

It is hard to deny that the transport infrastructure plays perhaps one of the main roles in the tourism attractiveness of this or that region. There are unusual wonderful places in the world, so what? Anyway you can’t get to them without good money and efforts. Such places are visited only by the people who have significant resources – both money and time. However, their requirements for service and comfort are corresponding. Unfortunately, we can’t rely on such kind of clients yet. VIPs confidently choose Western or exotic Asian resorts.

It turns out that on the eve of the Euro Championship ‘2012 and the expected stream of a million-man army of foreign tourists, tourist attractive Rakhiv district risks to end up in a transport ghetto.
 Now, local MPs have followed the opinions of fellow countrymen. In their address to the President among other things they asked to renew the rail service between Rakhiv and western districts of Transcarpathia, having ‘revived’ the part of the railroad Solotvyno-Velyky Bychkov. But will it change the situation? We will see soon.

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