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Authentic Europe Network is an EU funded project under the Europe for Citizens Programme, led by the Municipality of Strumyani, Bulgaria. The other members of the project are SODEBUR from Burgos, Spain; the Municipality of Agia, Greece; ANCI, Sardegna, Italy and the Naxxxar Local Council.

The project’s main objective is to create a sustainable network of small municipalities, with little experience at European level, in order to facilitate international cooperation and exchange of good practices among them in the field of rural tourism.

As part of the project, 6 international events took place, one in each of the participating member’s regions. An overview of each is reported below:

Event 1 – Kick-off meeting

Participation: The event involved over 100 citizens, including  2 participants from the city of Agia, Greece,

2 participants from the city of Naxxar, Malta, 2 participants from the province of Burgos, Spain and 2 participants from Sardegna, Italy.

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Strumyani, Bulgaria, from 24.10.2014 to 26.10.2014
Short description:  The 5 European partners gathered to lay the foundation of the network, the rules and principles for management, coordination, communication, evaluation and dissemination. During the three – day long workshops the partners presented and discussed the rural tourism offer of their respective municipalities, their needs and challenges, as well as possible solutions to be sought through networking. The exchange of experiences and know-how allowed the experts to identify the common ground for cooperation.

 

Event 2 – Workshop: Challenges and best practices for conservation and management of natural environment, cultural sites and local traditions
Participation: The event involved 140 citizens, including  10 participants from Strumyani, Bulgaria, 10 participants from Agia, Greece, 10 participants from Naxxar, Malta, 10 participants from Burgos, Spain

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Mandas, Italy, from 16.01.2015 to 18.01.2015
Short description:  The challenges and practices in the conservation and management of natural environment, cultural sites and local traditions in Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, Italy and Malta were presented and participants worked to identify their common challenges in the field, discussed best practices from the different localities, as well as the possibilities for adapting and implementing them in different territories, taking into account the specificities of each region.

 

Event 3 – Round table and public debate: Citizens and governance
Participation: The event involved 140 citizens, including 10 participants from Strumyani, Bulgaria, 10 participants from Serdegna, Italy, 10 participants from Naxxar, Malta, 10 participants from Burgos, Spain.

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Agia, Greece, from 24.03.2015 to 26.03.2015
Short description:  The focus of the round table was on the active involvement of the local communities in local heritage preservation and tourism development. The participants agreed on the importance of the development of sustainable forms of tourism for the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of their respective local communities. The workshop presentations and discussions focused on two important aspects of heritage preservation and its use for sustainable tourism development: the active involvement of locals.


Event 4 – Educational workshop and reenactment: “Turning traditional magical practices into tourist attractions”
Participation: The event involved 140 citizens, including 10 participants from Strumyani, Bulgaria, 10 participants from Agia, Greece, 10 participants from Serdegna, Italy, 10 participants from Burgos, Spain.

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Naxxar, Malta, from 04.06.2015 to 06.06.2015
Short description: The main focus of the workshop was the interactive theoretical and practical training, targeted primarily at local authorities, the local communities and the performers. Through the concrete examples of traditional magical practices used for tourism purposes, presented by the partners, a common ground was established on the necessary resources and tools for education and training of local citizens for the development of high-quality authentic tourist attractions based on traditions.

 

Event 5 – Building strong destination image, differentiating the tourism offer and building a unique “brand” of the Network
Participation:  The event involved 196 citizens, including 10 participants from Agia, Greece, 10 participants from Serdegna, Italy, 10 participants from Naxxar, Malta, 10 participants from Burgos, Spain, 4 participants from Turkey, 1 participant from Kyrgyzstan, 1 participant from France.

Location/ Dates: The event took place in Strumyani, Bulgaria, from 20.07.2015 to 22.07.2015
Short description: The official opening of the event was followed by a round table: Building strong destination image –best practices in Europe, where the special guest of the event, Mr Noel Orsat presented the best practice: Route Charlemagne and European Tales and Legends Route – a European initiative the Municipality of Strumyani is working to become part of. The involvement of Strumyani was presented by the leader of Association Euni Partners’ research team – the professor in archaeology and cultural tourism prof. Vasil Markov. The partners’ best practices were also presented and discussed and were followed by best practice examples from Turkey and Kyrgyzstan, presented by special guests from the respective countries. The last day was devoted to practical demonstrations, re-enactments and a debate on the future of the Network, which lead to the agreement of practical steps and measures for Network sustainability and expansion after the project lifetime.

 

Event 6 – The Rural tourism and entrepreneurship forum
Participation:  The event involved 140 citizens, including  10 participants from Strumyani, Bulgaria, 10 participants from Naxxar, Malta, 10 participants from Serdegna, Italy, 10 participants from Agia Greece.

Location/ Dates: The Event took place in Burgos, Spain, from 18.09.2015 to 20.09.2015
Short description: During the event, different examples and approaches for fostering entrepreneurship were discussed, while the host demonstrated examples of successful entrepreneurial projects, whose developers shared their experience and practical advice. Afterwards, the project results, the network and the agreed strategies and measures for sustainability and expansion were presented and discussed among project participants and local citizens. Thereafter, the future development of the network was discussed, as well as the opportunities and challenges before it.

For more information visit our website: http://network.authen.eu/

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