The development of rural and cultural tourism is widely seen as an area offering substantial potential to the underdeveloped border region of north-eastern Serbia with Romania. The project provided a systematic approach to tourism development based on a wide partnership of several municipalities from both sides of the border with the establishment of a tourism information centre in Totovo Village acting as the focus for further development.
To achieve the goal of promoting rural tourism in the microregions of Traian Vuia in Romania and Kanjiža in Serbia, the following main activities were undertaken:
foundation of the Partner Council;
establishment of the resource centre;
development of a strategy for rural tourism;
preparation of tourism information;
The following specific results were achieved:
setting up the resource centre, including building, refurbishment and establishment of the “Turinfo” Office;
production of various publications, including maps of the micro-region (800 pcs), folders (2,400 pcs), brochures (800 pcs); rural tourism guide book (400 copies in three languages English, Romanian and Serbian);
creation of a group of young volunteers involving 20 young people (10 on each side of the border);
training in management of businesses in rural tourism benefiting 36 people (18 on each side of the border);
various festivals including the so-called “Golden Spoon” gastronomy festival.
Overall, the project contributed to developing and promoting rural tourism through the use of local resources. The professional skills of persons working or willing to work in the field of rural tourism were significantly upgraded through training and seminars. Involving young people in the promotion and development of rural tourism has the added benefit of reducing the need of migration to towns in order to find employment.
Aspects of good practice
The expansion of the rural tourism offer is expected to continue after the completion of the project. New projects are planned. Traditional events such as the Gastronomy Festival, Carnival, the Days of Roses, the Days of Maize, Needlepoint Exhibition, etc, will continue to be organised. Similarly, the information office envisages to continue organising training, to be announced as part of an annual programme and published in a booklet.
This was an early example of a joint cross-border project supported through the EU’s CARDS financial instrument and demonstrated good sustainability having ensured that the tourism information office established through this action continues operating with funding from the budget of the municipality of Totovo Selo.
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