The region blossoms – visiting Vulkanland

flowers - appeltrees_1000Twelve women from the senior organisation AUSSER in Triest were testing the tourstic offer of the EDEN-regions in Slovenia, Croatia and the Styrian Vulkanland. Under the guidance of Mrs. Francesca Borgna they laid a special focus on multi-day offers for the target group 55+.


Excerpt from the work notes from Spirit of Regions, April 24, 2017

Twelve Italian women find their way into the region Vulkanland. Alerted to the south-eastern corner of Styria through EDEN-european destinations of excellence. An interesting day awaits the cooperating SMEs. On our way to welcome the group we met Franz Niederl from the restaurant Pfeilers. He happily shows us the flower blossoms in his trunk: „Freshly picked to decorate the table for our Italian guests!“ We are awed by his dedication and move on to Straden, where we join the ladies on their bus. Joining us is Karola Sakotnik from „Creating culture“, she is fluent in Italian and runs a cultural thread through the days‘ programme.

With a small delay we pass by Straden with its three impressive church towers, the Gleichenberger Kogel and meadows with scattered fruit trees, a part of them still blossoming. Via the bridge crossing into town from the train station we arrive in Feldbach. Prosecco made from apples, refined with sweet-smelling Damaszener-rose buds from bio farmer Eisvogel Raabau, is served as a welcome drink. The colorful church tower attracts a lot of attention. The blooming decoration triggers the expected „wow“-effect.

Chef Lisi conjures wonderful dishes with fresh, local ingredients. The faces reflect contentment. Later on, Beatrice welcomes us at the Tabor Feldbach, purposefully marching up the steps leading to the former class room. Scarcely seated, the surrounding transports the guests back their our own schooldays, playfulness is spreading, writing is done by quill and ink. The heavenly hams from Vulcano draw us to the northern corner of Feldbach. The ham cinema makes the ladies break out into raptures, while later on, during their visit to the fruit farm Stangl, they unanimously agree on: „Now we’ve arrived in the region!“. Michi is taking them with her to visit the blossoming appletrees, a tasting in paradise underneath blooming treetops and wonderful singing by the landlord. Overnight stays at the B&B Raabtal. The language barrier is removed by warm cordiality.

On the second day our guests visit the south-eastern corner of Feldbach, following the fire-creature of our regional hiking map inside the former stone quarry Gossendorf. Attunement with the sun salutation, an exercise for the body. It’s nothing unusual to see an anthill, but stopping in front of it and listening to the bustling activity with closed eyes is exceptional. Thus, nature is conciously perceived during the morning and the volcanic fire in the hearts is kindling. At the Loambudl, an outdoor bowling alley made from clay, Karl Ladenhauf joins us as a rather charming director for our visit in Gossendorf.

On the following bus ride we discover a blossoming alley of appletrees and spontaneously stop for taking pictures. The owner of the trees produces excellent spirits, KRENAC. The planting of the young vines has to wait, the group is invited to a guided tour through the cellar and a tasting in his garden. While enjoying their spirits, the group is already scheduled to taste some wine at Sissis Weinbar. So in addition to the spirits wine tastings with the taste of the volcanic soil are served. Next up are a spontaneous brief talk with Austria’s best patissier and a short visit to the Bauernstadl. Now a break is definitely necessary. The group walks to dinner at the inn Gasthaus Schwarz, where the evening fades away comfortably with music.

press:     die Woche  and  Kleine Zeitung



letter of intent ITA/TIC

spela with participants_1000

On 4 April, tourist sales outlets from the Maribor partnerships with Agencija M met and discussed a common future approach. Thanks to Mrs. Spela Stuhec from the agency ProVital for the moderation and the prepared documents for a cooperation plan of the network. The interest in selling the cooperating regions with a joint offer is great. The spatial proximity is an advantage for this.
The purpose of establishing the network TIC / ITA of the project EDEN55plus NW is to organize a continuous collaboration between TIC and ITA in EDEN destinations. The goal is also to organize continuous cooperation between all other established networks (SME network and senior organization network). This will allow the planned tourist products to be continually developed, adapted and used with the changing target groups. The sensitization of the companies for the subject supports an authentic offer and guarantees with every conversation more quality in the sale.

letter of intent

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