The final meeting in the framework of the Project "Common Map for cultural tourism it the Baltic sea region"

6 May 2015

An extended final meeting of partners and experts dedicated to the ending of the pre-study stage of the “Common Map for culture tourism in the Baltic Sea region” Project, which aim is the development of the territories by using the potential of cultural tourism based on a rich cultural heritage of the medieval Baltic, took place in premises of the Council of the Baltic States in Stockholm on April, 27. The Project was supported by the CBSS Project Support Facility funding. 4 regions participated from the Russian side – Pskov region, Novgorod region, Leningrad region and Kaliningrad region – and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden participated as foreign parties.

 There were partners and experts of the Project on the meeting: the heads of tourism departments and regional tourism offices, tourism research centres including the CEO of Swedish Tourism Innovation Center and CEO of Swedish Travel and Tourism Industry Federation Jan Lundin, the Senior Adviser of the Secretariat of the Nordic Dimension Partnership on Culture Ilze Gailite Holmberg, the representatives of the most important cultural institutions of the region. The CBSS members’ and observers’ embassies’ representatives also attended to the meeting.

The meeting was opened by Jan Lundin’s Welcome speech. The Deputy Head of
Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Sergey Y. Korneev also addressed the public with his Welcoming Remarks. Mr. Korneev informed the meeting participants about the Agency plans on international (including Baltic Region) direction of its work together with the representatives of Russian travel industry and made some meaningful suggestions on improvement the cooperation in cultural tourism in the Baltic Sea Region.

The final results of the Project were presented by Darja V. Akhutina, the Director General of Association for cooperation with Baltic sea countries "NORDEN” which was the leading partner of the Project. An active discussion was held connected with the interactive map of touristic destinations attached to cultural heritage of the medieval Baltic objects and integrated web-site for cultural tourism (www.BSRMAP.com). At the moment the site contains information which is useful for both experts in industry and the travelers – a united calendar of cultural events of the region, the coordinates of tourist information centres, information collected for the first time on the projects realized for the last 6 years in this sphere. More details were presented by the Chairman of the Board of Vidzeme Tourism Association Raitis Sijāts. Mikhail Ushakov, the director of IT-company “Nota Bene” told about the site’s functions and its development perspectives (this company designed the site). The theme of modern travel industry net-sources’ features and the necessity of creating the common instruments of cooperation for the industry representatives was also touched upon.

The idea of creating integrated tourist information space in the Baltic Region was supported by the participants. At the moment, the necessity in standardizing of this space was underlined.

            The speech of the Senior Adviser of the Secretariat of the Nordic Dimension Partnership on Culture Ilze Gailite Holmberg was dedicated to the actual aims of the Partnership, financial instruments and priorities, among which due to Russian CBSS Presidency the cultural tourism will become one of the most important. Mrs Holmberg underlined the significance of coordination in this sphere and enhancing the information exchange.

            Ulrika Mebus, the director of  Gotlands Museum, Sweden and the Coordinator of the network of Museums in the Baltic (www.baltmus.net) claimed the value of quantitative and qualitative results of pre-project design for cultural institutions of the region, the necessity of continuing the Project and the readiness of the Network to become a partner.

            The second part of the meeting was entirely dedicated to the discussion of the possibilities of continuing the Project and the potential financial sources for its support one of which is ‘The Baltic Region Program, Priority INNOVATIONS’. In this case the mane contents of the Project will be concentrated on innovative approaches on the development of cultural tourism, where the countries of the region have required experience and high competence.

 One of the results in realization of the new Project can be a “Single Centre of Innovations in Travel Industry of the Baltic Sea Region”. As an introduction to the discussion on the Project development there were suggested the experts’ speeches by Bjorn Arvidsson, one of the leading Swedish analysts of tourist industry; and Jan Sandred, the leader of department of industry development in VINNOVA company programs. Jan Sandred told about innovation as a way of thinking. It is the sense the innovation is thought about in VINNOVA which in the case of the Project development will be ready to join as the cofinancing party.