Ecotourism in Hungary

With bird-watching binoculars in hand and finely focused, three Florida Tech School of Management professors flew to Hungary recently to help promote a
wildlife festival in that beautiful eastern European country. This is the second year that Dr. Alex Vamosi, Dr. Michael Slotkin and Dr. Karen Chambliss are
participating in this international project to promote ecotourism and develop a birding and wildlife event. Hungary is home to one of the premier birding
sites in Europe. In 2001, Florida Tech was awarded a three-year U.S. state department educational partnership to promote and support institutional linkages
between Florida Tech and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Budapesti Mqszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem or BME), the largest institute
of technological research in Hungary. During summer 2002, the grant, entitled “Addressing Environmental Obstacles to Developing a Market Economy Through a
Partnership Program in Environmental Studies,” brought faculty members from the school of management and BME’s department of environmental economics to
their respective countries for a series of seminars, workshops and site visits designed to assess the current state and future prospects of nature tourism
in Hungary’s rural areas. The centerpiece of the summer 2002 exchanges was a two-day workshop on ecotourism held in Eger, Hungary, at Esterházy College.
The Eger workshops were supported by a grant from the U.S.-Hungarian Science and Technology Joint Fund, a program administered by the Hungarian Science and
Technology Foundation. In the aftermath of the summer 2002 exchanges, an agreed upon deliverable to be achieved by the conclusion of the state department
grant was the planning, organizing and development of the first birding and wildlife festival to be held in a Hungarian national park. The festival, a form
of event ecotourism, would serve to catalyze nature tourism on a regional basis. This summer’s exchange continues the work these management professors
began last year. Dr. Chambliss, who specializes in finance; Dr. Slotkin, economics; and Dr. Vamosi, economics; and Dr. John Morris, Florida Tech biologist,
will visit the Gemenc Forest, a flood plain of astounding biodiversity. They will also revisit the Hortobagy National Park, one of the premier birding
sites in Europe. They will be meeting with officials in the Hungarian Tourism Office and attending seminars on the BME campus. They will also meet with a
program evaluator for the U.S. state department. The exchange will last two weeks, with return visits by BME faculty during fall 2003. The school of
management hopes their colleagues are experiencing a safe, productive and pleasant journey( and adding to their lists of bird sightings).

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