On July 12 and 13, 2022, the sixth SUSTOURISMO project meeting took place in Berat, Albania. It was the first physical meeting since the beginning of the project, and it was the occasion not only for discussing the progress of project’s activities but also for knowing better each other and strengthening the cooperation. The key topics of discussion were i) the presentation and analysis of the data collected during the 2021 testing period in the ten pilot areas and the planned actions for pilot testing second phase, this of summer 2022; ii) ongoing strategic activities focussing on disseminated the main SUSTOURISMO lessons learnt, with a focus on the SUSTOURMOB Strategy, evaluation of pilot cases, business plans and final project recommendations. Discussions were the basis for defining how to improve and further promote the SUSTOURISMO tourist packages during the 2022 touristic season and on how to better disseminate at EU level the lessons learnt.
Evis Plaku, in representation of the Regional Council of Berat, welcomed all the SUSTOURISMO project’s partners. He introduced the meeting explaining the importance of the sustainable tourism in the development and promotion of the Berat Region.
Dr Maria Morfoulaki, head of the Sustainable Mobility Laboratory of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas/Hellenic Institute of Transport (CERTH/HIT), opened the technical session of the meeting. She underlined that after the conclusion of the first preliminary technical activities, the main challenges for all the project’s partners are now related to the pilot’s promotion after the COVID-19 emergency and the importance to constantly monitor the SUSTOURISMO app usage in order to reach the project’s objectives. She also referred to the new technical activity related to the promotion of the potential of the sport/athletic tourism that is under the decision of ADRION MC.
After the introductory part, the technical activities started with the presentation of CERTH/HIT on the work package dedicated to stakeholder involvement and tourists’ needs mapping activities (WPT1). This technical session was mainly dedicated on the update on the different Memorandum of Understandings and Letter of Supports signed (or to be signed) in each pilot area in order to support the promotion of the local SUSTOURISMO tourist packages and widespread the key results and cooperation schemes at European level.
The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the SUSTOURISMO App monitoring activities and the monitoring/assessment of the pilot actions (WPT2). The Institute of Transport and Logistics Foundation (ITL) presented the data collected through the SUSTOURISMO App during the 2021 and first semester of 2022. This assessment allowed to collect data on the number of downloads/users and on registered users. The data presented showed as the App was downloaded and installed several times, mainly during 2021 summer season. The most important indicator showed as in June 2022, 350 users registered to the SUSTOURISMO App and 214 tourist packages were activated at least one time.
The following presentations were dedicated to the updates per pilot case. In brief it is possible to summarize all the single presentations in the need to simplify some pilot actions, extend the network of stakeholders to be involved, define new promotional actions for increasing the number of tourists using the tourist packages and intensify the communication campaigns (social media and physical campaigns) to better reach the SUSTOURISMO target groups.
The day one of the meeting ended with a visit of the Berat UNESCO historical city centre and castle, included in the Regional Council of Berat SUSTOURISMO tourist package.
The day two of the SUSTOURISMO project meeting started with the presentation of CERTH/HIT dedicated to the strategy (a joint one for the whole area and tailored per case strategies) that should be followed beyond the duration of the project in order to pave the way to sustainable tourism in the ADRION region (SUSTOURMOB Cycle/Strategy). These strategies will be based on the project’s main results and on the active involvement at local level of the different stakeholders identified in each project’s area. In order to reach these objectives, specific events will be organized in the following months. In particular ITL is working on the organization of the third local Round Tables session focussed on analysing with the key stakeholders the main results of the pilot actions and CEI-ES is working on the 4th SUSTOURISMO capacity building webinar with high level speakers to be held within October/November 2022.
Finally, PIL presented the work related to SUSTOURISMO App effective business plan development. The focus will be on driving forces, marketing potential, as well as the actions that should be taken by interested businesses for the successful adoption of the SUSTOURISMO initiatives (app and touristic packages). For these purposes business model CANVAS approach will be used.
The final part of the meeting was coordinated by the Central European Initiative – Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) and it focussed on the presentation of the progress of the communication activities. In particular the focus was on the SUSTOURISMO website update, ongoing digital activities, next Newsletter and a first considerations on the Final publication. CEI-ES announced that the SUSTOURISMO final meeting will be held in Trieste on December 2022.
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