Best Practice in Experience with local economy

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Winner :
Mincio Park

Mincio Park offers to visitors experiences involving a network of economic operators in the EDEN area and offers to guests emphatic experiences, mostly in our wetland place “Valli del Mincio”. The guests Immerse themselves in a sort of “natural sanctuary”, rich in floating and blooming vegetation, many heron’s species and other kind of protected birds.

Mincio Park organizes annual hiking programs in the nature. The excursions involve many local operators: environmental guides, shipping companies, hospitality staff in hostels, experts in local gastronomy, artists and performers, musicians, museums, canoe and bicycle rental services. In 2017, 18 activities were carried out involving 1.300 partecipants. We promoted guided tours often accompanied by show cooking. The participants also came from other cities and, among these, foreign tourists from Garda Lake. There were involved 14 operators (companies, associations, private professionals).

School tourism also produces economic development. In 2017, 147 school classes joined the proposals for nature excursions and environmental education that we organized. A total of 3266 students and 300 teachers. The activities fueled the economy of transport, tourism and catering.

We launched also an incoming call. Some travel agencies and tour operators replied: they drafted 16 travel proposals. Their value varies from € 30 to € 270 per person. Ex .:

Finally, the website offers an information service dedicated to hostels, residences and accommodation facilities which are particularly ecologically sustainable. The webpage is completed by an extensive database that offers the possibility to book online all the accommodations. The webpage “where to stay” received 6135 (+211% VS 2016) visits in 2017.

Runner Up:
Wild Taiga

A. The Challenge

One of the main challenges for getting new visitors to not-so-well-known destinations, is the lack of sufficient high quality infrastructure. Professional business case preparation and working closely with tourism operators is the only way to secure investor interest. This can be supported by working closely with local stakeholder groups and provide services that no other region is offering.

B.The Solution

To prepare a clear and bankable feasibility study, delivering a more secure proposition to the investor.

C.The Process

Phase one: A Quadruple helix and ‘open book’ collaboration model to prepare bankable business cases for investors (at pre-feasibility level) :
•The Local investment promotion agency (Kainuun Etu Oy – Invest in Kainuu) – To identify and engage with Investors
•The local tourism service ecosystem and the market (Wild Taiga) – To support needs analysis and tour operator data in the delivery of the supply and demand dynamics
•The local construction ‘alliance’ (Woodpolis, City of Kuhmo) – To provide fully costed, capped and sustainable design and build offers, along with local regulatory expertise.

Phase two: The combined resources of the 3 groups, work closely with the proposed investor to conduct a fully costed business & construction plan (feasibility study)

Phase three: Upon satisfactory conclusion of joint feasibility study > Contract phase; the four above parties, representing “Using the Quadruple Helix Approach to Accelerate the Transfer of Research and Innovation Results to Regional Growth” (Simona Cavallini, 2016)

D. Impacts
The process has been conducted in three locations, following on from the pilot in the Wild Taiga destination. Leading to three investment contracts, at high level, with an estimated investment value of 26M€ over a period of three years. In addition, several further large cases are currently active in phase three. This has been piloted locally and is now scaled to the national level in Finland.

Runner Up:
The Burren

Building trust and relationships with the community has been a hallmark of BEN (Burren Ecotourism Network)

BEN members invest a huge amount of time working together to achieve the Destination strategies, at the beginning of the project all tourism enterprises that form the network took a leap of faith (as there’s a long lead time for return on investment), their willingness to get over old boundaries and parochialism and to join together for the good of the destination has been rewarded with a strong and independent Network of like minded businesses. Every member makes a financial contribution annually and invest their time participating in one of our subgroups.
One of the most successful achievements in the network was the formation of the Burren Food Trail, which connected restaurants, pubs, food producers, farmers and markets of the Burren Region.
The members of the Burren Food Trail are bound by their commitment to building a sustainable future for the region. Each of the featured restaurants offers a Burren Food Trail Signature Dish to savour. Each member has achieved recognised quality awards and standards, and has also signed up to the Burren Food Trail Customer Promise: you will find staff who are knowledgeable about the regional food story, menus which state the source of local produce, information on local food events and markets as well as a commitment to maximise the use of local ingredients in all prepared food
The Burren presents a challenging environment in which to produce food. The passion and determination of the farmers and producers shines through and is evident in all aspects of their working lives in the Burren. The link to the environment in terms of agriculture, history, food and tradition is what resonates through the landscape, keeping it safe for many generations to come. The tourism season in The Burren has significantly increased in the past 4 years, from May/September to now March/November.

Runner Up:
Northern Velebit National Park

The Tourism Product Transnational Mobility Model for Seniors in Pilot EDEN Destinations with the slogan: “Slow down to feel the life in EDEN destinations” connected four neighbouring countries – Austria, Slovenia and Croatia, and Italy as test country. After capacity building, workshops, and SMEs training, and experience exchange, seniors 55+ (women and couples) from Italy tested 2 tourist products in five EDEN destinations and evaluated the program. Within the period of five years the key goal of project is to raise the mobility of seniors in EDEN destinations, extend the tourism season and increase SMEs competitivenes and job growth.

Northern Velebit National Park offers beautiful landscape – a number of karst forms, a lot of protected area, numerous hiking trails with an astonishing peaks and views. A wildlife is also diverse – a high number of endemic plant and animal species, diverse and pure habitats. Surrounding area offers authentical destinations and hospitable people which through their willingness present cultural heritage, gastronomic offer and everydays habits. Also nearby of Adriatic Sea and other protected areas increases tourism offer and possibilities for trip planning.

Runner Up:


The story of salt is a story about Nin’s history of birds, smells, tastes and love, all connected in eco-salt. The Salt Pans of Nin is an unusual an¸ the magical park and a local economy whose production originates from Roman times. There is a stone flood gate from that time period in the salt fields. The story of salt emerges from wars, celebrations, love, pleasure and work. During Nin’s 3000 year old history many things have changed, but the production of salt hasn’t. Salt is still harvested by hand, sun, sea and wind. The knowledge of traditional production is passed by family linage. This tourist attraction is offered in a creative and innovative way:
1. In the Museum of Salt through photos and old tools.
2. Well-trained guides educate you about salt through tours: Romantic Route, Historical Roman Passage, Harvester Experience, Bird watching, all are tailored to children and people with disabilities.
3. From June to September, enhance your experience by a direct view of the salt harvesters who collect this gift from the sea.
4. During the off season in the Salt House by interactive games and educational films.
5. During the Open Doors Day in June, July and August you see this white gold.
6. Festival of Salt is held in August with events where visitors are involved in harvesting salt, cooking and creative workshops, with various competitions.
7. In October, during the European Day of Bird counting, the local tourist board and ornithologists educate guests in the importance of our lagoon and swamp areas and the 200 bird species nesting and living in the salt pans.
8. Unique souvenirs are offered in the Salt Museum: Flower of salt, cooking salt, bath salt, chocolate and ice cream with Flower of salt.
Ecological salt production offers natural taste, touch, texture and emotion.

Runner Up:
Monte Isola

Monte Isola is an island located at the very center of Lake Iseo. Life in Monte Isola is way more different than life on the mainland: here there are no cars. The only vehicles allowed on the island are motorbikes belonging to residents and bicycles.

Monte Isola organizes every years several festival that involve our culinary products and local crafts. Events are organized together with local businesses, in order to make the visitor participate to our native crafts. The municipality promoted the establishment of an association that gather all the producers of extra virgin oil. The aim is to create and offer oil themed package holydays including the possibility to buy products from the producer.

Maji Raku Project is an artistic installation made by four local artists, which spent a lot of time with crafters, focusing on landscapes in which integrate the installation. The installations has been assembled all over the island: this gave the visitors the possibility to discover the villages with their own pace: the installation let the tourist enjoy the territory how they prefer.

“Around the Floating Piers” was a project created to make inhabitants able to re-enter in possession of their island and make visitors involved in the knowledge of the island. Everyday, twice a day, for two hours straight, a theatrical representation involved the spectators in a path along the island, in order to discover the economic realities. The stories were about inhabitant and their work with the lake. All the collected data will be part of our future heritage as “collective memory”.

Municipality of Monte Isola decided to submit all the documents required to become part of World Heritage. This candidacy is a natural response to the needs of this island: the willing to preserve our history, our craftsmanship, our environment and assure a sustainable tourism made our UNESCO Candidacy unavoidable.