A picture says more than 1000 words. In the run-up to the application, the project group has already agreed to draw up videos on the progress of the project. It is a cheerful approach. Especially the offer video is exactly tuned to the target group 55plus. The narrated story connects the EDEN regions and can be used internationally for the application of the target group.
In Feldbach, on July 5, 2017 two COSME projects, where regional small and medium-sized enterprises were involved, met for exchange and a joint presentation. The first program was an impulse lecture by the Chairman of the Region “Steirisches Vulkanland” and mayor of the city of Feldbach Ing. Josef Ober. Also the press-responsible lady of the tourism regional association Thermenland, Mrs. Belinda Schagerl and Mr. Christian Ortauf from the tourist office Feldbach followed the invitation. The project EDEN55plus-NW focused on working with the tourism companies in 3 workshops and networking, the companies have made a joint brochure for tourism agencies.
Pilot projects were conducted by senior citizens in both projects. With DiscOver55 + exactly these evaluations of the seniors were taken under the microscope and a handbook with recommendations for the tourism offer development developed. The expert information was followed by partner contributions, ethno-program from Solcavsko, Rezi-Cake and bobbins from Idrija and Velebit cheese at a special place, the Altstadtgasse in Feldbach.
At the Loambudl, a regionally typical bowling alley, the communication among the guests culminated. EDEN SMEs meet on DiscOver55 target group. This exchange fulfilled the most important point of the Pilottest experience: “Provides more opportunities for the 55+ target group in the tourist programs for direct contact with the regional population.”
In June 2017, Idrija Heritage Centre in cooperation with project partner ProVITAL d. o. o. organized the 3th workshop for local tourism providers from EDEN destinations: Idrija, Solčavsko and River Kolpa within the activities of the project EDEN55plusNW.
In January we have already carried out two workshops, which were aimed at establishing the connections between small and medium sized enterprises, which already build a tourism offer in participating EDEN destinations, at upgrading their offer for the target group and at creating international products (tourism packages for seniors) in all five participating EDEN destinations. In cooperation with providers, each EDEN destination, developed a model of integrated green economy, which will in the future serve as a guideline for the development of sustainable tourism in destination.
Last workshop for small and medium-sized enterprises was devoted to presentation of the results and the status of project activities related to the implementation of pilot testing, preparation of promotional materials and further cooperation between the four established networks (EDEN destinations, ITA / TIC, senior organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises).
International SME Network – in five European regions, approximately 70 entrepreneurs agree to cooperate and offer quality services and products to the guests. The aim is to offer cross-border offers. With this form of (international) business cooperation, the companies support each other, create added value and use the contacts established in the project (network EDEN, network seniors, network travel agencies and incoming offices) for the marketing and distribution of their products.Information on the network, the companies and all other networks of the EDEN regions Tourism associations and senior citizen organizations at http://www.eden55plus-network.eu. All present entrepreneurs sign the Letter of Intent and express their support to the network. Operational measures for internal and external marketing were introduced and discussed by the companies.
Coordinating meetings of tourist companies Measures for the mutual application of the enterprises Mutual meetings with company visits on foot or by bicycle Organization of joint press travel Excursions to the participating EDEN regions for exchange Financial annual timetable in the EDEN network and in the tourism association
Preparation of the results presentation for the international partners in Feldbach on 5th of July. The morning will be devoted to the professional result, an informal exchange with the project EDEN and Discover55 + is planned. The afternoon will devote itself to the exchange of tourism providers and the target group of the elderly. Two more fixed dates for the tourist SME network are: July 27 and September 26, 2017.
Eden55+ Pilottest to the EDEN-destinations Northern Velebit in Croatia, Kolpa and Idrija in Slovenia, 25—29 May 2017. Six couples from Trieste and 6 evaluators from the destinations participating in the project (Tanja and Marko, coordination, Sebastiano und Francesca from Trieste, Nina from Idrija, Helga from Vulkanland) started their journey on 25 May 2017 at 8 o’clock in de morning. Our guide Luka picked us up in Trieste on a bus chauffeured by Igor. If necessary, Luka translates from Croatian and Slovenian to Italian or English.
Our first stop is the truly marvelous natural paradise National Park Northern Velebit with a wide a varied flora and fauna. Tatjana (responsible for the program), Dragic und Ivan drive us by mini-bus to this region. Nina serves as our guide in the region. Very open-hearted people welcome us. They live in a very simple style in harmony with nature. We taste the energy of wild herbs in delicious products such as cheese, meat, jam, vegetables and grappa. A lot of work in the gardens and fields is done manually – a very small-structured agriculture – and biological quality is produced almost exclusively.
The harsh climate – winter spreads over 7—8 months here – is compensated through a lot of high quality grappa, either clear or with herbs or fruits. This was served at every welcome and before and after every meal. The guided tour through the bear compound is awe-inspiring. Boris, founder and philosopher about nature, enthusiastically talks about his job. On the one hand he wants to offer a stress-free living space for those bears, which are no longer able to survive in the wild, and on the other hand he aims to showcase what is really important in life to young people: A simple life in unimpaired nature. Easy as well as more demanding hiking tours through the national park offer active rest and relaxation. The view from the tops of Velebit to the sea and the islands on the one side and the other peaks on the other side is stunning. Those who prefer to spend their time on a bike may rent ones from Dragic in Krasno and, if necessary, can arrange for a pick-up to return them.
Folklore, music and traditional dances with women from the village were mostly appealing to the female testers. Northern Velebit is a region for revitalization in untouched nature, a place that connects us to the primeval energy of the earth.
I personally would wish for a more comfortable accomodation. The music during the meal was perceived as disturbing. It became almost impossible to talk to each other.
Our 2nd stop is the EDEN-destination Kolpa in Bela Kraijna in Slovenia. Igor from now on is totally committed and brings us – a very open-minded, flexible and interested group of travelers – to Metlika, the capital of the region. Silvia serves as our regional guide here. Kolpa is the river forming the border between Slovenia and Croatia, the region is shaped by fertile rolling hills and sink holes. Here at almost every welcome we are served the traditional Bela Kraijan Pogaca – a white flatbread, seasoned with salt and caraway. This substitutes the Grappa-ritual we became used to in Velebit. The inhabitants proudly present their products and their culture to us. We experience touristic perfection, but most of all outstanding presentations, from which we can learn. Especially Majca, with her entertaining and informative presentation on how to bake a Bela Krajna Pogaca, and the wine tasting with superb snacks adjusted to the taste of the wines have impressed us. One of the highlights was the joint dance with a folk-music group after having dinner in a renovated house, where old and new were linked together very sensitively. The slogan “I feeld Slovenia” can be felt, but most of all one can taste the region. Here, tradition, music, dance, wine and culinary delights are at the centre. I found it quite a pity that the program was dominated by such a high number of tastings. We were too replete to show every producer the appropriate appreciation.
I also found it unfortunate that we didn’t have time to enjoy the wonderful nature.
The 3rd stop is Idrija. Here we are guided by Nina. Idrija is a city and EDEN-region near Lubljana, which became known world-wide in the past due to its quicksilver resources. During the monarchy and until the 90ies the men of Idrija were working under the hardest conditions in the mines. Joze, a former miner, tells us about it in very impressive words during a guided tour through a mine and the modern museum about history and processing of the mined resource. Not only quicksilver, but also the art of lace making employed by the women contributed to the degree of familiarity of the region. This handcrafted inheritance is explained to the youth in schools. About 100 girls and boys are learning the traditional craft that also inspires fashion designers to wonderful creations. This is presented in a very creative way on Castle Gewerkenegg, which was converted into a museum. We visit the sensitively revitalized mountain farm Stumajce, where we insert our breads into the stove of the smoke room and make small herb-bags. Here we get a first idea about the wonderful nature surrounding the city. We sleep in the modern Hotel Jozef in very nicely equipped rooms. The surprise was the lunch at the Relais Chateaux-Hotel Knedov dvorec, in a completely quiet location in the middle of nature. We enjoyed an excellent 4-stars-menu, after which the chef demonstrated the production of traditional Schlikrofi to us. Tradition and innovation are linked together in Idrija. A nicely compiled program, but for me once again the enjoyment of nature is underrepresented. All in all it is a very inspiring program, but too tight for five days. We had almost no time for ourselves. Sometimes there was also too little time for shopping at the producers – we were constantly too late. It was great, how nice everything was organized from the region guides. I’d like to especially emphasize the flexibility of the producers, restaurants and music groups, which often had to wait up to two hours for our arrival. Helga, 29th May 2017