Lots of cultural tourism learning, excellence in Social Media management, and many interesting tips and learning curves on how to develop (and maintain) networked offers in rural cultural tourism: Those were the main outcomes from the second to last #EUROPETOUR meeting that took place during the month of June 2018 in Geras, Waldviertel, Lower Austria.
Next to all study visits in the rural area of the Upper Waldviertel, which is located about 1,5 hours away from Vienna, the main focus has been on finishing off details to the Training Modules, as well as the Social Media Guidelines for Cultural Tourism in rural areas.
The waldviertel area, in northern austria, excels in networked Rural cultural tourism.
The EUROPETOUR meeting kicked off in the morning of 14 June, 2018, at the member hotel of Kreativ Reisen Österreich, Hotel Schüttkasten in Geras with its adjoining creative summer academy, akademie.GERAS. The first presentation was held by Mr Andreas Schwarzinger, managing director of Waldviertel Destination Management Organization. In his presentation, Mr Schwarzinger emphasised how success in establishing and maintaining networked cultural tourism offers revolved around building several clusters, and partnerships, each with a so-called presiding “ambassador” with a lot of knowledge and contacts in the field, such as agriculture, herbs, local food produce, arts & culture, etc.
Next up, the EUROPETOUR team visited the local cheese manufacturers “Die Käsemacher“, which provided a cheese experience around their factory buildings, complete with a cinema experience of the cheese-making process in the Waldviertel. The main takeaway here had been to learn that cheese is not just cheese, but embedded into an entire cultural profile of an area that has been farming, and producing cheese, for many centuries. It is about providing for, and reviving those traditions, in a timely and attractive way for modern-day (cultural) visitors.
To finish the study visits of the day, the partnership went on to engage in a lively discussion with Ruth Schremmer and Johanna Leon, managing & PR directors at the Kunstmuseum Waldviertel in Schrems, also close to the border with the Czech Republic, in northern Waldviertel. We there learned about the challenges and opportunities for providing a cultural platform in a rural area, and found that links to nature, and engaging the local population, for instance through local events, festivals and creative workshops, provided the quintessence for success in maintaining such an ambitious and unique museum concept, which also includes an internationally acclaimed museum shop (“IDEA Laden”).
a highlight of the study visit has certainly been to visit the internationally renowned sonnentor herbal company in sprögnitz, near Zwettl, Lower austria.
The EUROPETOUR partnership was even welcomed by Mr Johannes Gutmann himself, who shared many an interesting entrepreneurial lesson about what it means to establish networks, and linked offers, in a rural destination that at the beginning of its efforts, some 30 years ago, had been almost completely cut off from most national and international networks. It was followed by a walk around Sonnentor herbal departments and storing buildings, and completed by a talk by Sonja Aigner, responsible for Social Media Management at Sonnentor. She gave many interesting lessons on how to build successful influencer relations, and develop their own Social Media channels for a growing national and international audience, including “Social Media Franchising systems”, manuals and guidelines for partners abroad.
To complete the monastic point of view in terms of religious cultural tourism experiences in rural areas, the last day offered EUROPETOUR partners a possibility to visit Altenburg Abbey, near Horn. This abbey, apart from its early Roman church foundations, had become famous in recent years for establishing and promoting their so-called “Garden of Religions“, including an overview of garden architecture and landscaping of the world’s major religions.
Have a look at our Flickr Photo Gallery, too, which will take you through all our learning experiences, and cultural study visits, of the Waldviertel cultural tourism destination: