First two parts of Step 5 (9 steps all together) in this project are completed. In Croatia, Slovenia and Austria first two workshops for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) were implemented successfully. The third workshops will be done in all three countries in June 2017.
Representatives of SMEs heard on the workshops about the philosophy of the EDEN destinations, the status quo of the project, as well as the results of questionnaires and study tours. Every EDEN destination has presented their touristic activities after joining the project EDEN55plusNW and their planned activities. Through the guided team work the SME representatives were motivated to participate actively and to point out the strengths of their region, as well as to create the programs for the two pilot testings’ and three days touristic packages. They had the opportunity to express their opinion and to create great experiences for tourists together with their partners. Two pilot programs were created, including all three countries. They will be implemented in April and May with Italian seniors 55+. Participants were curious about the outcomes of the survey as well as the study tours, on which also some of them took place. We were satisfied with the response, as there were more participants in each country than expected.
One of the most important outcomes of the second workshop was the creation of SMEs network by singing the “Letter of intent” by the SMEs representatives. This kind of commitment will hopefully keep the network alive also after the project ends and the network could get bigger and stronger and more successful through the years. The main goal of the network is to give the SMEs the opportunity to present themselves on the market together, as one powerful community of different tourism providers. This could improve their visibility on the market and enable them to create the comprehensive experience for customers. The network of SMEs is only one of four networks that will be created during the project. The other three are the networks of senior organisations, ITA/TICs and EDEN destinations. Coordinators of each network have prepared network strategies, as well as the “Letters of intent”, which will be signed for all four networks.
We can conclude that we managed to implement six well organised workshops and raised the interest by the SMEs. Hopefully the enthusiasm will stay present till the end of the project, as well as afterwards. The next big step is to organize and implement the two pilot testings’, which will give us further information needed to prepare the best possible experiences for seniors 55+.
Špela Štuhec, MA and doc. dr. Tanja Lešnik Štuhec