In the second week of April 2014 project partners visited Slovenia where a full project programme when visiting a partner region was prepared. The programme consisted of a conference, study tour as well the project partner steering committee and technical meeting.
The first day of the visit (8th of April) was dedicated to an international conference which was organised in Moravske Toplice with the title “Employment in the Services Sector – Opportunities for the Development of Rural Areas” with the aim to present potentials for jobs creation through the development of the service sector in rural areas. There were a total of 97 participants from all over the country, mostly from the fields of rural development, tourism industry and social entrepreneurship as well delegates from the partner regions which contributed to the success of the event.
After the opening words of Mr Gönc from Regional Development Agency Mura and Mr Glavač, Mayor of Municipality Moravske Toplice, Mr Ducloutrier from Regional Committee for Tourism Development of Auvergne in the role of the lead partner introduced the CesR project. Mr Ducloutrier (also CesR’s project manager) presented 2 interesting examples of jobs sharing solutions from Auvergne in France, namely GE2A Group of Employers which is a non-profit association that recruits staff to make them available for its members and Exceltio Job Share Company which offers provision of qualified personnel among businesses which cannot recruit themselves, due to their size or their means.
Mrs Pak from Slovene Public Agency for Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Development, Investment and Tourism gave a detailed insight into development and promotion activities of Slovene tourism while Mr Gönc presented the situation for the Pomurje region.
The next series of presentations was dedicated to social entrepreneurship where Mr Slapnik from Slovenian Forum of Social Entrepreneurship presented the legislative framework and potentials of social entrepreneurship in Slovenia, Mr Buda from Institute Slovenian Homes Hospitality the initiatives of integration of small tourism providers into local tourism cooperatives and Mrs Kovačič from Cooperative Konjice a good practice on local self-sufficiency with local food production.
Prim. Majič, specialist internist cardiologist engaged by Sava Tourism to develop the sector of medical tourism, informed the forum about health tourism development perspective in Slovenia.
The core of the conference was dedicated to project’s findings where the following experts (representatives of project partners) presented one of the good practices that have been identified within the project in their partner regions:
– Mr Večeř from Regional Authority of the Olomouc Region has introduced highly successful local product branding system in Olomouc region;
– Dr Górczyńska from Polish Academy of Sciences presented the company Biebrza Eco Travel, the travel agency which is the generator of employment and tourism development in the area of Biebrza Wetlands;
– Mr Theodotou from the Troodos Development Company in Cyprus has introduced Casale Panayiotis case – an innovative approach in common management of different accommodation facilities;
– Mr Oliver Berta from County Council of Granada in Spain has presented good practice Caves of Tio Tobas – an example of integrated cultural tourism, leisure and ecotourism project;
– Dr Zeibote from the University of Latvia presented the Gauja National Park Tourism Cluster which is helping to develop a potential for innovations and this way increasing business activity in the region;
– Mrs Carroll from Cork County Council in Ireland presented Ballymaloe Country House – an example of sustainable approach to farming, food tourism and self-catering accommodation.
Conference in Moravske Toplice, 8th of April 2014
All the presentations form the conference can be accessed using the following link: http://web.rra-mura.com/page.aspx?top=5&sub=183&rd=187&title=CESR&rdm=NOVICE IN DOGODKI
‘Feeling Slovenia’: Study Visits
After the conference eight CesR study visits took place organised by the hosting partner – Regional Development Agency Mura. During the study visits project partners had the chance to get acquainted with some of concrete good practices in field of rural development with the stress on development of services in tourism and social entrepreneurship.
During the first day the focus was on Pomurje region where following the conference presentation of health care and wellness services in spa resort Terme 3000 took place.
Next was the visit of company Ocean orchids in Dobrovnik with Tropical garden which is an example of diversification of primary economic activity using geothermal potential of the area to tourism. Cooperative Pomelaj in Mala Polana represents a Rural Development Core which is developing socio-corporate forms (culture) among rural population, especially among vulnerable target groups in activities that have traditionally been tied to the countryside (local crafts, culinary tradition etc.).
Finally project partners visited business Kodila near Murska Sobota with show-casing of the traditional production of Prekmurje ham as well as The Scent of Prekmurje trademark – this brings together a range of quality food products from different manufacturers and has been developed to integrate the region’s potentials in the fields of quality foodstuffs and traditional gastronomy.
Project partners visiting Cooperative Pomelaj and traditional ham producer Kodila, 8th of April 2014
The Posavje region was the second day destination.
Firstly a visit took place in Bizeljsko to present the tourism in repnice (tourism in turnip caves). Repnice as a local speciality are caves dug in flint stone which was washed up by Pannonian sea and got name after turnip (repa), because locals stored turnip and other products of the field in them. Today the sand caves are part of autochthon, historical, ethnological and cultural heritage of the region and became one of most interesting sights of the region.
The Association of providers of tourism in zidanice (tourism in vineyard cottages) was next to present. Their business organization is a cooperative while vineyard cottages represent a unique feature in the wine growing region of Posavje which stands for authentic and genuine tourist arrangements. To round the visit to the region 2 other visits followed – first was wine and tourism business Istenič with presentation of its history, philosophy, production of sparkling wines, still wines and balsamic vinegar as well development of wine tourism with self-catering accommodation and the second was Skansen Pleterje which is an open air museum representing local heritage in deep rural area as an important monument to Slovene traditional civil engineering, characteristic type of national architecture and the 19th century way of life.
During the presentation of tourism in Repnice and tourism in vineyard cottages, 9th of April 2014
The third day of the study tour started with the presentation of Bled Tourist Board where partners were informed about the destination’s view and plans in terms of sustainable tourism development and connected job creation potentials in service sector.
After that followed a presentation of Competence centre Semenj.si which stands for tourist products with the heritage dimension. This initiative is linking the concepts of “culture” and “tourism” to create a new concept of cultural tourism which implies tourism services with a strong emphasis on cultural content.
The last destination to visit was Notranjsko-Kraška region where first visit took place at the Institute for preservation of natural and cultural heritage Jezerski hram (“Lake temple”) with presentation of history, philosophy, as well as educational, tourist promotion, natural and cultural heritage preservation activities of the institute which offers also a museum with unique model of Lake Cerknica (the largest intermittent lake in the world) and a rich ethnological park.
Following initiatives for education and employment of Notranjska Ecological Centre were presented. Namely this non-governmental organisation which operates as a competence centre for project management, entrepreneurship, education, sustainable and rural development of the destination implements numerous activities and projects (also in the role of leader of Slovenian Network of eco-consultants).
Finally partners were introduced to the concept of interpretation of nature and heritage in destination (heritage communities) with presentations on history and development of micro destination Cerknica, its strategy of tourism development in protected area, forms of associations of providers, concept of standardization of providers and employment situation in the services sector.
During the meeting with local representatives, participants discussed also the importance of heritage communities as a tool for sustainable development and their importance for the conservation of cultural heritage as well as job creation.
Presentations of Bled Tourist Board and Institute Jezerski hram, 10th of April 2014