DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT:
In the Project 'High Quality Tourism 2' are involved the four region such as:
- Östergötland in Sweden
- Cesis in Latvia
- Suwalki in Poland
- Mecklenburg Lake District in Germany
These regions are suffering from economical problems. They make every effort to get better known on the national and international tourism market. At the same time new trends and forms of tourism are developing. Decisions about suitable locations for sustainable tourism have to be made - being aware of the both, the chances and the risks of these new tourism facilities. It is an advantage to have additionally a "think tank" - the University of Hamburg, Department of Geography - as a further partner on board.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:
The Objective of the project High Quality Tourism 2 was to strengthen the integrative role of spatial approach within a high quality, sustainable tourism development. The project aims at strengthening high quality tourism in the rural areas and in the cities and at the same time overall sustainable development of the Baltic Sea Region. Concrete outcomes of the project were among other things regional, national and transnational Welcome Centre, thematic tourist routes, structures of direct marketing and new tourism products, supported by discussions about Unique Selling Propositions and Destination Branding.
The Project has had a "bottom up" approach in order to stimulate local initiatives and to make the development more sustainable.
Achievements of the project so far:
Thematic tourist routes and "entrance gates" Ice Age Routes have been developed in Mecklenburg Lake District (MLD) in Germany, in Östergötland in Sweden and in Cesis District in Latvia. In Cesis District the route could get opened as hiking trial after 12 month planning and preparation work in October 2003. Also in Östergötland nine places of ice age were inaugured in May 2004 (www.e.lst.se/istid/index_eng.html). In Mecklenburg Lake District the 666 km long Ice Age Route for biking was inaugured in October 2004. Transnational exchange of experiences and a comparison of the systems of protected areas in the partner regions have taken place. A net of regional and transnational Welcome Centre as "entrance gates" was planned and existing ones were further developed. Therefore in MLD an information-kiosk-system was developed.
Training and Marketing
So far the training of 23 guides in Östergötland and 20 guides in Cesis District has increased the competences in these regions. Marketing concept and activities for a monastery museum and monastery areas in Östergötland is an example of new tourism products based on cultural and natural heritage. As structures for direct marketing of regional products Green Markets have started in Mecklenburg Lake District very successful. First awards of a regional sign "naturally! Mecklenburg Lake District" have been presented and a regional direct-marketing cooperative was founded. This cooperative is continuing co-ordination of the Green Markets.