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PRESERVE partners stop over in the Greek region of Sterea Ellada: Developing a form of tourism that is sustainable and respectful of the region’s richness

Date

17 Sep 2010

Sections

Regional Policy

 
Sterea Ellada (GR), 17 September 2010.
 
Six experts of the PRESERVE project (Peer Reviews for Sustainable Eco-Regions via Europe) travelled to the Greek region of Sterea Ellada to audit its tourism potential and its strategy for sustainable tourism. Sterea Ellada is a gold mine of historical treasures (numerous archaeological sites) and natural resources (hot springs, mountains, sea). This abundant potential must be highlighted through the development of quality tourism, which will also greatly contribute to the economic development of the region.

Throughout the week, experts from Alba (RO), Avila (E), Jönköping (S) and the Assembly of European Regions (AER) visited numerous tourism infrastructures implemented in the region and came to face with a panel of 12 stakeholders involved in the tourism development in the region, both in the public and private sectors. The auditors carried out their interviews through a series of precise criteria: strategy, partnership, social cohesion, community engagement, spatial planning, environment, communication and innovation. 

By way of example, a full day was dedicated to the study of the exceptional water resources available in the region, as well as the thermal infrastructure already established. A geologist, a scientific consultant to the Greek thermal locations union, the mayor of a thermal city and the owner of a thermal therapy spa centre presented the strategies in place as well as the problems encountered; they unanimously agreed on the lack of public awareness of these resources, especially on the international market. The group followed the interviews with a visit of a local public centre of therapeutic baths, as well as, a thermal therapy centre for tourists in order to capture the reality on the ground.

After a week of exchange, the PRESERVE experts return home today with a high quantity of data that they must now analyze. The group will publish a report and the region of Strerea Ellada will then be in a position to adapt its tourism development strategy and its promotion actions on the basis of the conclusions and recommendations submitted by the experts.

The main advantage of working with peer reviews is that they allow for peers to work openly and to identify the potential and strengths of the audited region as well as its weaknesses. However, they are also beneficial to the regions which are travelling, as they can immerge themselves with good practices from their counterparts. We strongly believe that the context of transparency and trust at the heart of the methodology allows the regions to grow, to become more sustainable and to develop a true form of green tourism, more respectful of natural resources and traditions.

Background
PRESERVE is part of INTERREG IVC instrument - With AER as lead partner, 13 partner regions from 11 countries are working together over 3 years to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies, specifically focusing upon cultural heritage and landscape policies as key factors in economic development. Info: www.preserve.aer.eu

Partners: AER (lead), Abruzzo (I), Alba (RO), Alytus (LT), Avila (E), Banska Bystrica (SK), Kärnten (A), Észak-Alföld (H), Syddansk (DK), Jönköping (S), Örebro (S), Strerea Ellada (GR), Steiermark (A), Toscana (I).

 

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together more than 270 regions from 33 countries and 16 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional co-operation.
AER Contact:
Francine Huhardeaux, Press and Communications Officer, f.huhardeaux@aer.eu - Tel.:  +33 3 88 22 74 49
Céline Dawans, Policy Coordinator: c.dawans@aer.eu, tel: +32 2 421 83 89

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