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Cultural Routes Entrepreneurship and Technologies Enhancement (e-CREATE)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The idea of the e-CREATE project was born among European regions who are partly members of the Transromanica and CrossCulTour transnational project network. Together, the partners have identified shortcomings in public policies that on the one hand use significant resources to promote cultural, natural and historic tourism routes but fail on the other hand to enhance the competitiveness of SME tourism promoters along those routes. All partners share the understanding that public policies and instruments need a strong focus on the development of e-skills among tourism related SME in order to enable them to make good use of modern ICT and web-based customer relation tools. Knowing that the anticipated launch of post-2013 structural funds programmes presents a unique opportunity to launch new programmes, e-CREATE key objective is to enhance capacities of competent policy-makers in that respect. Good practices from partner- and other European regions will be capitalised for that purpose.Main activities of e-CREATE henceforth include an assessment and publication of good practices, the realisation of Interregional Capacity Building Workshops and the formulation of Policy Recommendations. Furthermore, the elaboration of Implementation Plans for the participating regions, as well as a Demonstration Project on concrete ICT-applications to promote tourism development will spur the uptake of anticipated new programmes and to mobilise private investments will play an important role. Across all project phases, stakeholders and key actors in rural development and along cultural routes will be involved in the interregional exchange and capacity building process. e-CREATE expected impacts will be to improve knowledge of public policy-makers as well as to increase awareness among tourism related SME.The operation furthermore will result in politically endorsement of implementation plans for the partner regions, improved access to good practices, and the mobilisation of private investments. e-CREATE is implemented by an interregional partnership led by the Ministry of Regional Development and Transport, Saxony-Anhalt (DE). Partners include local and regional public authorities (or institutions acting as public equivalent bodies on their behalf) from 9 EU member states as well as 1 partner from Norway, all of which are responsible for drafting and implementing policies and instruments to promote e-skills in rural tourism development. The partnership is completed by the Transromanica European registered association that leads the project communication and provides a platform for the long-term maintenance of the interregional collaboration between the partner regions. Achievements: e-CREATE brings together 13 partners from nine EU Member States and Norway to promote the adoption of modern communication techniques to enhance entrepreneurship in tourism-related economic sectors in rural areas. In the first implementation year, the partners intensively networked to identify good practices promoting the use of new technologies in rural areas’ tourism promotion. Altogether, 40 practices were collected of which 13 were selected for further investigation and possible transfer to one of the partner regions following studies and discussions. In parallel, the participating partners collected data of more than 200 tourism points of interest from the partner regions in preparation of a pilot project demonstrating a solution for mobile devices. More than 200 stakeholders participated in stakeholder hearings where feedback and fresh input from tourism actors and local politicians was collected to enhance the quality of e-CREATE’s outputs. So far, four interregional events were organized by the e-CREATE partnership. Soon after the project’s launch, a Technical Meeting took place on 13 & 14 February 2012 in the Representative Office of the Lead Partner at Berlin (DE). The event was used to establish the operation’s work structures and to launch the exchange about good practices. The results of the deliberative process were presented to the public at e-CREATE’s Kick-Off Event which took place on 28 & 29 June 2012 at Vigevano (IT). The shortlist of 13 selected good practices was in the focus of a Partner Workshop on 8-10 October 2012 at Jirkov (CZ) where their potentials of transfer have been investigated. Practical aspects such as connectivity and up-to-date developments in technologies for mobile internet usage were debated at the next Partner Workshop on 3-5 December 2012 at Trondheim (NO). The presence of technology experts at these events enhanced the capacities of the partners’ staff in modern communication. Stakeholders from all partner regions and beyond are invited to attend two Interregional Capacity Building Workshops scheduled to take place on 17-19 April 2013 at Amarante (PT) and on 12-14 June 2013 at Letterkenny (IE). Whereas the first will focus on the promotion of entrepreneurship and rural development in general, including the different solutions to deliver and finance broadband internet access, the second one will elaborate how modern communication tools are used for the promotion of tourism and destination marketing. The input from both events will be used by project partners to draft implementation plans which describe how transferred good practices can be put into practice, for example by using 2014-2020 European structural funds programmes. The results of this exercise will already be presented at e-CREATE’s Mid-Term Conference at the end of September 2012 at Katowice (PL). In parallel, work continues to deliver the e-CREATE pilot project. Following the Partner Workshop at Trondheim, the features to be included in the tool-box allowing the creation of mobile device apps for tourism destinations were defined and calls for tender for technology services prepared. Further progress regarding the pilot project is expected for the upcoming project semesters. e-CREATE’s dissemination efforts have already led to a number of publications and invitations to present the project at other conferences. The project’s Communication Manager also regularly updated the e-CREATE website and the social media channels used by the partnership (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing).

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