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Advancing remote areas by development of cross-border VH tourism route on basis of local resources (Via Hanseatica)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Via Hanseatica (VH) is a tourism route connecting St Petersburg, Narva/Ivangorod, Tartu, Valga/Valka, Valmiera and Sigulda in the Programme territory. In addition to the abovementioned towns the route passes through areas rich in nature and cultural heritage. As VH is a tourism route passing Russia, Estonia and Latvia, and its potential is based on the diversity of these countries, the most efficient and beneficial way to promote VH is doing it via cross-border cooperation. More specifically, creation of tourism package and modules based on the VH route, promoting of the VH and marking the VH route must be done on the cross-border level. This approach is essential, as one of the main advantages of VH is its international character, while most of the tourism products in the Programme area are either local or regional. ACTIVITIES: Trainings for VH tourism entrepreneurs and trainings for tour guides; organising thematic seminars for compiling joint VH tourism package&modules, which include at least 90 VH tourism products/objects/services (ca 30 in RUS, LV and EE), all this helps to strengthen VH tourism development cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Russia. Project focuses also on raising awareness and visibility of VH tourism region, objects and services via targeted marketing actions. VH multilingual promotion tools include both electronic (improved website with route planners, video clips, audio guide) and printed (travel guide, map) materials with a focus on attractive information presentation. Most importantly, the project organises active promotion activities, such as FAM (familiarisation) tours, fair participations with special VH booth and final conference. VH project deals also with visibility of VH route and objects on the route by making small-scale investments into 12 objects on the route, preparing technical documentation for 11 objects, setting up over 300 road signs, ca 40 object signs, over 20 road info-boards and 15 info terminals. In addition, joint implementation of all the project activities, where active involvement and maximum cooperation between the partners is put in the first place, lays solid basis for strong international partnership of regional and local authorities, entrepreneurs and tourism development organisations in VH area in EE, LV & RUS for enabling coordinated product development and tourism service provision. Network will involve at least 115 organisations and its functioning is based on common cooperation structure and strategy. These activities have been selected, because joint implementation of these specific activities brings along the biggest added value and change in the VH area. In addition, the activities are strongly interdependent. In other words, it would not make sense to carry out promotion activities without investments, or train entrepreneurs without promoting the VH package&modules, or make only investments without marketing and promotion activities. Achievements: Outputs*786 tourism objects, services and attractions included in the Via Hanseatica (VH) route; *VH partners have improved 12 objects and created 11 new opportunities for infrastructure investments; *12 thematic routes created and included in the VH travel planner. Among them 3 thematic routes – Family Fun, People to meet and Culture to greet, Adventure in Nature; *314 road signs, 56 object signs and 22 road information-boards installed along the route; *Developed VH mobile application and audio guide that support travelling in the VH territory; *VH travellers materials (7000 copies of maps, 108 000 copies of flyers) issued and distributed to facilitate trip planning and improve the travel experience; *E-book format of VH travel guide (in five languages) is published and available for free download in one of biggest e-book store Rahva Raamat in Estonia; *General TOR for guides trainings is prepared for use in all 3 countries ensuring a homogeneous approach of training; *Created database of VH service providers, tour operators, guides, tourism specialists Estonia, Latvia, Russia; *VH has participated in 4 international tourism fairs in Helsinki, Finland, Tallinn, Estonia and in Hamburg, Germany; *8 VH promotional video clips prepared including 5 thematic and 3 country-specific for use in media, social media, fairs, presentations; *Project website: www.viahanseatica.infoResults*Developed VH tourism package that covers tourism objects/services in Estonia, Russia and Latvia. The objects are included in the interactive web map and travel planner; *Established strong international partnership of regional and local authorities, entrepreneurs and tourism development organisations along VH area in Estonia, Latvia, Russia; *VH is promoted by 70 well-trained guides, who regularly lead tourism groups to VH objects; *Strengthened tourism development cooperation between Estonia, Latvia, Russia; *Raised awareness and visibility of VH tourism region, objects and services via targeted marketing actions leading to increase in tourism sector income; *Advanced accessibility of VH objects and services; *Increased investments into tourism infrastructure on VH route; *Increased professional knowledge of specialists and decision makers for planning and supporting tourism and regional development; *During VH final conference representatives of Russia, Estonia and Latvia authorities signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement and promised to continue development of Via Hanseatica; *Improved availability of VH virtual information with help of interactive multilingual webpage and mobile application; *Registration of Via Hanseatica trademark finalised

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