Project Partners met in Maribor – 22nd of February 2017

“TEAMWORK divides the tasks and multiplies the success”

Working on project management issues is exciting, especially in EDEN55plusNW. In regular times, all project partners take their time to meet to clarify and adjust the project steps and evaluate the milestones. So we did on the 22nd of February 2017 in Maribor.
The agenda of the day was:
• WP 1: information about the submitted and approved interim technical progress report and information on expected parts of the final report
• WP 2: Guidelines for SMEs and information about the SME workshops in the regions
• WP 4: discussion and preparation of the videos and brochure and organisation of the final press conference on the 5th of July in Vulkanland
First, we discussed outstanding points in WP 1 project management. Our Lead Partner explained all necessary points to succeed in WP1. Saša Ceglar Vidmar as project coordinator presented a list of upcoming project deliverables until the end of the project. The project is in general well on track with achieving project deliverables. She also provided information on submitted interim Technical Progress Report at the end of November 2016.
To strengthen the ITA/TIC network we are going to organize a meeting with all members on the 4th of April 2017. The main goals are the get to know each other, to be informed about the EDEN regions and the tourist offers, the project results and to exchange their experiences. After that, the letter of intent will be signed.
Furthermore, we talked about the two pending pilot tours in April and May. There was the word about the usage of these programs after finishing the project. Each senior organization or guest/tourist can buy the package by the ITA or TIC, which is the participant in our network. This ITA/TIC contacts the national ITA/TIC, who is responsible for the organization.

Additionally we talked about the results of WP 4. To reach the target group we are planning to publish an image folder and four videos, which document the project steps and show the content and developed networks (two image videos).
After four hours, a productive meeting ends. Every partner went home with lots of homework but satisfied that the cooperation within the partnership was so productive.

Mag. Daniela Adler-Neubauer, MBA


Workshops Croatia, Slovenia and Austria

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

press release, Vulkanland


Development through cooperation – SME workshops in Vulkanland

Together, with a lot of joy and common respect into a future partnership

If entrepreneurs take their time – beside their day-to-day business – for strategic development, we as project managers are motivated and thankful. Because without this commitment and the willingness to contribute, without the engagement to go new steps, nothing new could arise, cooperation would be unthinkable.

In January and February 2017 SMEs from Vulkanland participate in tourism workshops. The main goals were to present EDEN and the European network, the discussion about the future tourism offers and the establishment of an international SME network within the EDEN destinations in Slovenia, Croatia and Austria. One entrepreneur describes the work in the network in this way: “A strong SME network could be a chance to go further steps in internationalization, to intense the contacts in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, that’s the reason why I’d like to be part of it”. The basis are the trust and the willingness to work together. Therefore, SMEs developed common guidelines, which define the future cooperation. Some guideline points: Be active! Continuity! Mutual appreciation! Speak carefully about the network members! Know the services and offers from the network members!

Everyone agrees, just together we are strong! So of course, if new SMEs are interested to join the network – they are very welcome!

Furthermore, based on the philosophy and the slogan “Slow down and feel the life of EDEN” we will use the project results and develop our new tourism strategy in Feldbach. We are on a good way …. PRESS RELEASE Feb 8th

Mag. Daniela Adler-Neubauer, MBA








Model of integral green economy

as a holistic approach for development of tourism offer in pilot EDEN destinations /  Author: Marko Slapnik,

For the Model of Integral Green Economy, developed by Ronnie Lessem and Alexander Schieffer, which was presented on many practical cases in book Integral Green Slovenia, we tried to present practical value also in development and cooperation of EDEN destinations in the project EDEN55plusNW. There are five pilot EDEN destinations in the framework of EDEN55plusNW project: Vulkanland (AT), NP Northern Velebit (HR), River Kolpa (SI), Idria (SI) and Logarska dolina – Solčavsko(SI). The partners of the project (Srce Slovenije, Center za idrijsko dediščino, Provital, Agencija M, Steirisches Vulkanland, Stadtgemeinde Feldbach, Nacionalni park Sjeverni Velebit and Universita delle libereta AUSER di Trieste) want to promote cooperation among the EDEN destinations aiming to create integral tourist programmes for seniors 55+, to prolong the season in EDEN destinations and to encourage SMEs to design custom-made offers for seniors. Coordinated action and promotion of each EDEN destination require coordinated action of different stakeholders, from municipalities and public sector to the enterprises and private tourism providers to different societies and other interested parties. For preparing a coordinated action of an EDEN destination we posed these three key questions:
1.What does the title European Destination of Excellence relate to? Which are the key topics to distinguish an EDEN destination?
2.What has already been done to develop and present the key topics of EDEN destination and how do individual stakeholders cooperate and connect?
3.What can your organisation do to be recognized as an active part of European Destination of Excellence?
What about sustainable development and Integral Green Economy?
Read more
Marko Slapnik


Project presentation at the Regional Office of the Chamber of Commerce

The project EDEN55plus-NW creates a tourist network in the Styrian Vulkanland region. The proximity to Slovenia and Croatia is a great advantage, the tourist companies can use the export opportunities.
Through a transnational offer and through the application in the cooperating nations. The project facilitates networking, as the two student tours have already shown. In three workshops the companies will elaborate a strategic plan, which can be made in the future. A big first step is that by summer 2017, the participating regions will have available online and / or part-printed brochures with contact exchanges and a brief description of the companies. A second step is the transnational cooperation between agencies. The result is an exchange of knowledge between well-informed local persons, the accompaniment will be accompanied in the language of the guests, which gives the target group 55+ security. But all steps begin very small. All documents in the network of the national partners in English and the mother tongue, such as the information newsletter, are used to raise the awareness of the bilingual offer. Particularly for small businesses, this is a support and a possibility to be part of the network.


tourguide’s point of view

EDEN55plusNW According to the project SPIRIT OF REGIONS was responsible for preparing tourism related SME´s sudy tour in Vulkanland on 8th and 9th of November 2016.
In close consultation with our contractor, the Styrian Vulkanland, we were responsible for the entire program creation and implementation (room reservation, program times with timetable, entrance fees, food). In line with the season and the target group, the regional characteristics of the EDEN region were presented to the entrepreneurs. The tour was accompanied by us in German. The projectpartner agency Agencija M, based in Maribor, has accompanied the group from Maribor to Vulkanland and retour and took over the translation for Slovenian, Croatian and German. The experiences with agency Agencija M were very good and are also carried out outside the project.
For some operators, the trip was tiring because of the long journey. The final feedback and the exchange of experiences among the hosts as hosts and visitors were very interesting.
The brochures and the websites of the region and the companies are mostly only available in German. For the step of internationalization, this area needs to be supplemented in English.
We found it very wise that a photographer accompanied the tour. Good pictures are an important part for a new seasonal language. Make a photographing place for the destinations.
There is a lot of talk about culinary delights in Vulkanland. A very sensual language is used for the finishing of these products, but the food was very fleshy.
Due to the bad weather, movement in nature was badly possible, for the offer with couples and with women groups it must necessarily be considered.
Because of the large single room requirement was in the city center of Feldbach. In the case of small groups, care should be taken to keep them as close to nature as possible.
All excursion destinations were easily accessible by bus and are prepared on bus groups. For the individual arrival of guests, it is important that the region and the companies describe the available public transport and taxis.
The introductory lecture by the chairman of the Vulkanland region, Mr. Ober, has particularly enjoyed the guests’ learning experience. He reported on the strategic work in regional development over the past 15 years, gave an outlook on the future and underlined the importance of the cooperation of the EDEN regions in this spatial proximity, as can be learned in the project.





Study trip to Vulkanland / Styria – Day 2

After a restful sleep and a volcanic breakfast in the two hotels Pfeilers and Hödl-Kaplan, the second day started with a guided tour and tasting at the chocolate manufacture Zotter. Through glass corridors the group could visually accompany the chocolate bean from the roasting to the finished chocolate in this transparent factory. In between, there was time to taste lots of chocolate.


During the visit to the small organic farm Raabauer Eisvogel of Wilma and Karl Kaufmann, where redcurrant, elderberry, aronia and pumpkin as well as roses are cultivated, the group had an insight into the processing steps in a small organic farm in the Vulkanland.


Revitalised by the pumpkin soup, we went to the organic flower farm “vom Hügel” where the participants made an autumn / winter arrangement from regional, seasonal elements of nature (branches, flowers and leaves as well as fruits) – slow flowers.


At the end of the study trip, a visit to the Heurigenschenke “Sterngucker” with Styrian Brettljause and Junkertasting took place, as is tradition in Styria on the Wednesday before Martini (11.11.). With a glass of young wine of the current year (Junker) the impressions of the study trip were discussed, experiences from the respective regions exchanged and questionnaires filled out.


The results of the study tour will be used to provide custom-made holiday packages for the target group ladies 55+ as well as couples 55+ in the secondary season and will be presented in a separate article after the evaluation.


Photos on Flickr
Studytour Vulkanland EDEN55plusNW