Moravian wine trails opened

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A new project aimed at developing tourism and tourism related businesses was launched in South Moravia last weekend. The Moravian Wine Trails, which link the numerous wine producing towns such as Mikulov and Lednice, is the brainchild of the Greenways programme in partnership with the Environmental Partnership for Central Europe and if the estimates are proved precise, should create some 40,000 tourism-related jobs in the traditionally economically deprived border region. Peter Smith has the story.

Well, I was there - on my bike - for the opening of the trails and discovered that one of my fellow cyclists was the Irish Ambassador to Prague, Michael Collins:

"This is my first time to this part of the Czech Republic so in many ways it is a voyage of discovery. I love the rural aspect of the whole experience, the tranquility of it, the fact that you can genuinely get away from the rural environment and just to get out into nature and along the way enjoy a little bit of local wine."

Lubomir Smelar, Founder of Greenways Programme in the Czech Republic:

"In 1992 I started with two other Americans and three Czechs an organisation called the Prague-Vienna Greenway. We joined the towns and in each town will produce a project. What you're seeing here today is a project on wine because we're in a wine area. Mikulov and Lednice are in fact UNESCO heritage sites and a result of our work with the World Monuments Fund."

Katerina Pavlitova, Head of Czech Tourist Authority USA:

"I have previously worked with the people from the Czech Greenways, which is a great project and really has opened up the Czech countryside to Americans. Americans are not really ready to plan an independent itinerary and they need a route. The Prague-Vienna route has been quite successful although I must say that Southern Moravia has been less successful that Southern Bohemia in attracting Americans tourists."

And you'll be able to hear my full report on the opening of the Moravian Wine Trails in Spotlight on Monday 7th May.