The International Congress on Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage: The Potential of Sacred Places as a Tool for Sustainable Tourism Development will take place in Fatima, Portugal on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2017.
The SPIRIT YOUTH workshop “Marketing and commercialisation of Spiritual Tourism for young consumers” was organised by the partners of the consortium of the project Spirit Youth
For its transnational dimension NECSTouR is the best placed not only to lead this consortium but also to ensure the most relevant stakeholders – Members and partners – bring their added value to SPIRIT-Youth and ensure its capitalization and sustainability. NECSTouR (BE) is the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism gathering 32 Regional Authorities competent in Tourism and 35 Associated - members, Universities, Research Institutes, Representatives of the Tourism Enterprises and of the Sustainable Tourism Associations - from 17 European Countries, committed to the implementation of the “European Agenda for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism”, promoted by the European Commission in its Communication (COM (2007) 0621 – 19-10-2007). Furthermore, NECSTouR has been contributing to the implementation of the European Tourism Policy since its origin in 2007 by participating, in almost all the 21 actions of the Communication “Europe, the world's No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe” (COM (2010) 352, where NECSTouR is cited as a stakeholder invited to cooperate in the formulation and implementation of a European system of indicators for the sustainable management of destinations. NECSTouR is a self-funded network, thus Members are committed to contribute with an annual fee to obtain the rights stated in the network status and benefit from the services related to the network activities outputs in terms of: - Joint research, knowledge and cooperation, - Promotion and visibility of their good practices and strategies, - Representation towards the European Institutions. NECSTouR Members have a solid experience in the implementation of European Tourism Projects and the network has been building up a considerable track record in this field acros the three last years by covering the fields of transnational thematic tourism products, with the development of the European itinerary Odysseus, education and training in the field of project management for sustainable tourism projects, the Nearly Zero Energy Hotels initiative, the study mapping tourism education and skills and the analysis and implementation of a European system for sustainable coastal and maritime tourism destinations through the MITOMED project. Besides its regular good practice exchange in the fields of cultural routes management, sustainable tourism indicators, accessibility of the tourism destinations, the sustainability and competitiveness of coastal and maritime tourism destinations, tourism and climate change, NECSTouR has developed an Impact Analysis of European Social Fund Tourism Projects in NECSTouR regions. Two cases targeting youth education, vocational training and young entrepreneurship, (Ideas New Enterprises!in Umbria and Fifteen in Cornwall) were evaluated and the potential for replication elsewhere,assessed. Furthermore, the NECSTouR Academy which aims to capitalise on the pool of expertise of within NECSTouR as Universities, Research Centres, Sustainable Tourism Associations and representatives of Tourism Enterprises come together to share opportunities (such as joint master degree programmes) and identify common skills and training development needs for the tourism sector. NECSTouR also lobbies the European Commission with its Members expertise in the field of sustainable and competitive management of tourism destinations and has contributed to the upcoming European strategy for the tourism of the future with its reply to the consultation under the same name and position paper
The Zuid Limburg Tourism Board : Destination representative partner The Zuid Limburg Tourism Board will bring its experience as the main tourism destination in its country but also as tourism outbonder. The Director is the formal EDEN network coordinator so she has a clear commitment and experience in the development, promotion and connection of sustainable tourism destinations. Who are Zuid Limburg? The Zuid Limburg Tourism Board (NL) is the oldest tourism board of The Netherlands and major tourist destination in this country with strong sustainability and innovation values which are actively widespread across the local tourism value chain of this territory. It is the southernmost province in the Netherlands, well-known due to the many cycling and hiking routes and the traditional culinary enjoyment like homemade wine and cheese. But there is much more; for example you can go on a balloon ride through the sky, visit a art gallery or pop music event or spending the night at a camping the middle of a flourishing meadow-land. The possibilities are endless. Limburg offers a range of activities practicable during all the seasons: A mountain bike course through the rolling hills of the Limburg landscape and nostalgic villages and towns hidden between green pastures and alternative, in case of bad weather, the possibility of making a mountain bike tour through the underground marlstones caves in Valkenburg. Other interesting examples of the diverse leisure offer are a science trip at the Discover Center Continium at Kerkrade, swimming at the tropical indoor swimming pool Mosaqua, in Gulpen. Travel true time with a nostalgic steam train ride over the ‘One Million railway’ from Simpelveld to Valkenburg, relaxing in the 32 degrees Celsius hot bath filled with thermal water in the wonderfull spa Thermae 2000, visit the world’s largest indoor ski hall SnowWorld in Landgraaf are among the activities this experienced destination offers. Limburg is an active Member of NECSTouR, particularly interested and committed to develop spiritual tourism in its territory.
The Municipality of Prato: Destination representative partner The Municipality of Prato will bring its experience in the elaboration of cultural tourism products and experience in sustainable destination management. Who are they? The Municipality of Prato (IT) is the second city in Tuscany, the third in Central Italy (after Rome and Florence) as regards number of inhabitants. It is situated at the heart of the region, not far from the world's most famous cities of art: Florence (18 km.), Lucca (50 km.), Pisa (82 km.) and Siena (79 km.). Prato and its province are ideal destinations for tourists, especially young people looking for a vacation of study and intelligent entertainment. The tourist offer includes art, nature, and the history of textiles; a history still vitally alive today, around which Prato has grown up, on which it has built its prosperity and developed the values of welcoming accommodation and comparison between different cultures. The province includes the communes of Cantagallo, Carmignano, Montemurlo, Poggio a Caiano, Prato, Vaiano and Vernio. It is a highly diversified territory that offers historical/artistic attractions of great interest following an itinerary that starts with the Etruscans, passes through the Middle Ages and arrives at the Avant-garde. Visitors are often surprised to find that a province known the world over as one of the most important textile producers also safeguards a wealth of priceless treasures, where the tradition of good food and ancient memories melds dynamically with everything that is new, modern and youthful.
Eurocircle: Youth representative partner Eurocircle will bring the knowledge and experience of the main target group of the project: the youth market, but also its experience in facilitating transnational youth mobility through projects and other initiatives gathering European citizenship values. Who are they? Eurocircle (FR) is a European NGO committed to develop and implement transnational projects particularly in the area of the international mobility of young people. These projects are designed to foster the emergence of a European citizenship, intercultural, based on the values of tolerance, equality, peace, ecology and solidarity, which are values that fit perfectly into the needs of Youth Spiritur. Today, with 14 employees, supported by about 10 European and French volunteers, Eurocircle has become over the years one of the most important organizations in the field of youth mobility.
LARSA: Entrepreneurial partner LARSA is our connection with the Tourism SMEs. They will show us the challenges and opportunities of the sector and share their valuable experience in the packaging thematic tourism products. Who are they? LARSA (ES) is a Tourism SME specialized in spiritual tourism since it has been managing the visitor area and services in the sanctuary of Montserrat (Catalonia, Spain), developing tourism products and services such as accommodation, restaurants, shops, signposting of trails, tourism packages, etc. They are committed to enhance visitor experience and developing quality tourism products. For over five years they have been organizing training courses aimed at tourism professionals (tour guides, managers…) about spiritual tourism, symbology, sacred art and other related topics. All courses have been fully booked.
Equotube: Entrepreneurial partner Equotube is our second connection with Tourism SMEs. Their product, in the shape of a gift box, offers sustainable holidays, activities, accommodations and organic meals. This product responds to the increasing sensitivity towards the environment, healthy nutrition, and enhancement of local culture and rediscovery of local context, connecting communities, hosts and travellers, thus already sharing the core values of SPIRIT-Youth project. Who are they? Equotube (IT) has been the first organisation (and only) in Italy to realise a giftbox (that means a box containing a voucher for an experience) which offers sustainable holidays, activities, accommodations and organic meals. Every “EquoTube” product responds to the increasing sensitivity towards the environment, healthy nutrition, and enhancement of local culture and rediscovery of local context, connecting communities, hosts and travellers. The cooperative “Equotube”, the lead applicant but also the initiator of the product “Equotube” in Italy, has been created by social entrepreneurs who have shared their experience to create something totally new. Travel organisers, marketing expert, environment expert, sustainable tourism project manager and webmaster have gather their knowledge to create “Equotube”. They have launched a cooperative called “Equotube” the same name of the product, in order to give a new look to sustainable tourism. So far, Equotube has worked on 4 products: overnight staying in sustainable hospitality, organic food, activities and holidays in natural context (co-branding with WWF and Alpine Pearls). "Equotube" offers travel ideas, activities and culinary experiences to give alternatives to rediscover territories and cultures: "Experiences that become exchange between hosts and travelers." It is the first fully united and responsible of this kind. A sustainable form of travel, where supply and demand meet in a project that tries to protect both and promote tourism in a responsible manner. The tube wants to be a gift idea innovative, useful, and fun experience to live or to give where is the approach to make a difference. The structures are selected on the basis of strict criteria (environmental sustainability, consumption and production techniques) favouring reality of a community and those who are inspired by the philosophy of "Km 0". In Italy, the Equotube have been created in 2012 and have already been sold in 200 selling points. In two year, over 5.000 tubes have been sold. It is a very encouraging situation that proved the pertinence of our proposal.