Rural and Coastal Tourism
A follow up process of the currently vacant Flagship Project is on track
The flagship project "Attract tourists to rural areas especially the coastal ones" has been one of the initial flagship projects in Priority Area Tourism. In 2012, the former lead partners of the project withdrew from this task after failed project applications. Until then, the implementation of the flagship project focused on the exchange of experience and networking, with regard to the methodology of service and product development, marketing and the improvement of the accessibility of rural areas.
As both areas are considered to be of great importance for the implementation of Priority Area Tourism, the coordinator initiated an open exchange with interested stakeholders on how to further proceed in these areas. In the beginning of 2013, an online consultation process was carried out in which 24 stakeholders, including governmental bodies, destination management organizations, professional networks, NGOs, educational and research institutions participated.
The results provided a good orientation on relevant priorities and activities. In the field of rural tourism, the development of active tourism, including hiking, biking, hunting, horse riding, fishing and canoeing, were considered to be essential. For the cooperation in the field of maritime and coastal tourism, preference was given to actvities in the fields of yachting, boating and cruising and non-beach related tourism activities, e.g. land tourism excursions, gastronomy tours, events and festivals. As regards joint activities, priority was attributed to the development of new products for both, rural and maritime tourism. Respondents also emphasized the need of training programmes and consulting for SMEs and NGOs, and the launch of joint promotional activities on international markets. A detailed summary of the results is available as download below.
In the following, workshops were organised on rural tourism and maritime tourism in April respectively May 2013. As a result of these activities, two project consortia evolved which developed applications in the EUSBSR Seed Money Facility. Both applications - Country Style in the field of rural tourism and VIABAL with a focus on maritime heritage tourism - were successful and now work on the development of follow up flagship projects in their respective area.