SUSTAINABLE AND INNOVATIVE TOURISM NETWORK OF NORDIC AND BALTIC COUNTRIES
Thoughts on adult education One of the objectives of the Nordplus Adult programme is to strengthen the link between adult learning and working life. Up to now it has been difficult for adult learners to adapt to formal education programs without outside support. It means making a U-turn or total change in one's way of life. However, all European countries are facing technological and demographic changes on a greater or smaller scale. The role of informal learning has been growing, though only a dozen years ago it was considered mainly as a hobby. Nowadays all people as well as institutions need to be more flexible, adapt to changes, apply their creativity and openmindedness. It is an impossible mission for formal education, yet a possible one for informal. That is why formal and informal adult education are getting closer and more and more intertwined.
Some keywords from our project Creativity Good ideas and innovative solutions emerge from creative minds.
Committment The success of all our best practice examples is based on committment through good and bad times.
Cooperation We have experienced cooperation within the project team and between tourism entreprenours.
Multitasking Learning process at a parking meter in Tartu, Estonia
Multitasking is necessary when you run small business in isolated areas.
Charm The Estonian best practise examples are both active in the field of informal education. One part of their activities is environmental courses for students during the schoolyear. However, the number of courses and meetings for adults have increased year by year. Informal education is not mandatory, so it needs to be attractive. Informal education programs are very popular if offered for free as part of some specific project, but only few people can afford it. Being accustomed to obligations people are more used to paying for entertainment as it is expected to be enjoyable. Entertainment in Estonian means "meelelahutus" - the separation of senses, a diversion. In the process of learning or in order to remember something we, on the other hand, need to connect the senses. Playing games was something enjoyable in childhood. Yet, obligations have forced us to forget it and from there the need for separating the senses has emerged. In the past travelling was considered an essential part of education. This is also true today. Artists have always known the value of travelling and visiting other countries in search of knowledge and wider horizons. It used to be obvious, however nowadays considered as part of informal education. Ways of engaging adult people in participating more in informal education as learners or teachers is the same. Adult education means changing experiences and developing communication skills – improving how to explain one's world to the others. There are certain occupations which need more experience than others. It is important to courage people to follow their will and maintain their curiosity. As we learned in Petra`s Stone Museum in Iceland – commit to your hobby and you will become a tourist spot. We experienced different approaches to teaching, learning and sharing knowledge during our project and meetings. Experienced people can always be teachers as each one presents their world in different ways. We had interesting meetings in all participating countries with very committed local people. All those separated areas have got very close to us and understandable thanks to our project partners, who were in turn in the role of interpreters of the local background. In those areas visitors are very much impacted by nature that rises up urbanized people's sleepy senses. Tourism services have great potential if they can attractively connect our senses . Urve, Estonia
We have met charming people, both partners and tourism service providers, that are focused, selfassured, confident and who implement their dreams.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE This is the last of four newletters of our project Sustainable and innovative tourism network of Nordic and Baltic Countries The main topic of this issue is what we have learned with focus on Estonia and our last partner meeting in Viljandi, Estonia in April 2016.
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and welcoming visitors - all the streets, parks and cafes are celebrating. Moreover, the town mayor traditionally hands the power in town over to the festival leader during these days. It was in 2013 that folk music festival occupied Viljandi entirely and officially. The leader and initiator of the festival, the head of Estonian Traditional Music Centre, Ando Kiviberg became the mayor of Viljandi and still holds this position. However, old Hanseatic town Viljandi
does not only attract with culture and festivals. It draws anybody who loves great views, dignified history or cozy small town atmosphere. Over the long years of its existence many artists, actors and musicians, as well as industrialists, tradesmen and innovators have found their way to Viljandi. The ancient Viljandi stronghold was first mentioned in written (under the name Falamus) in the commentaries of Tabula Rogeriana by al-Idrisi in 1154.
One of eight concrete strawberries in Viljandi inspired by the painting „Strawberry Eaters“ by Viljandi naivist Paul Kondas.
Nowadays Viljandi is known as the capital of folk music for most Estonians due to hosting the largest annual music festival. It started 24 years ago, grew and expanded rapidly. Viljandi Folk Music Festival always takes place at the end of July and the theme of this year's festival is devoted to one of the most beautiful and expressive natural sounds in the world – the woman's voice. The festival focuses on how women express themselves through singing and instrument playing both in Estonia and abroad, today and in the past. The end of July has been a time for party Viljandi suspension bridge
Visitors in Estonia
The kitchen at Männiku Metsatalu where we stayed
During our partner meeting in Estonia we visited established organizations like Emajoe Barge Society, who have come a long way with their historical ships and still have big plans for further development. We also visited new businesses like the storyteller who is restoring her „story house“ in the woods, and had a lovely lunch inspired by „Meet the locals“ of East Iceland. Saunas were everywhere and I will never forget the smoke sauna I experienced at Manniku Metsatalu. All these places build on the cultural heritage of Estonia that has thankfully survived different occu-
pations through the ages although a lot seems to have been lost during Soviet times. Characteristic for many of the best practices we have visited is that they started as a „crazy idea“. How does a young woman from Germany end up in the middle of an Estonian forest with no running water? How does an idea evolve from a bear mug through hot tub to a collection of historical ships and boat yard ? But a good „crazy“ idea is not enough and through our best practice examples we have seen that successful execution of ideas relies on many factors such as commitment, resourcefulness, persistence, flexibility, quality of service etc. Education for the tourism sector has to encourage all those qualities. Sigrún, Iceland
Piret Päär the storyteller in her house in the forest
and we found, that in both countries we have the same social problems and the hope, that in the future our life will be better. We visited many interesting places and met very interesting people, but the meeting with story teller Piret Paar was the most impressive. She has wonderful idea to develop a storytellers’ centre in old farmstead in the middle of the forest near Viljandi. She told us two stories, and it was so amazing, that when I came home I have found her in YouTube, and it didn‘t matter for me, that her story was in Estonian. Sometimes people from big cities ask – does life in province exists? It seems for me, that people from Viljandi surroundings can say strong „Yes“. Gintarė, Lithuania
Lunch in Viljandi
Our „Meet the locals“ hosts
It was my second time in Estonia. First I’ve been there in my childhood. As Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are often called „3 Baltic sisters“, during my visit I used to compare how we live in Lithuania and how people live there – in Estonia. Situation is quite the same. We visited participants of the Project „Meet the locals“ - the family who owns strawberry plantation and summer cafe
The group by the kissing students in Tartu
Did you know ? Estonia was the first country in the world to use online political voting Estonia is the homeland of Skype and KaZaA. Estonians have one of the biggest collection of folk songs in the world with written records of 133,000 folk songs Estonia has at the moment 2222 islands (or 2355 if those in lakes are included) and this number is increasing (the land rises) Estonia has a population of just 1,3 million but is larger than Denmark and Holland Estonia is about 50% forest Europe`s longest ice road, is the 26 km long road connecting in winter Estonian mainland and second-largest island Hiiumaa Estonia has the biggest number of meteorite craters per unit area in the world—400 times more than the average of our planet.
From Tipu nature school
Tipu nature school The Tipu Nature School organizes environmental events and involves people in the process of building up the Nature School. This summer they invite adults to dye wool
with natural colours, teach landart and educational games for kindergarten teachers; volunteers are welcomed to help with renovation works on the hiking trail. Also, their help is needed in organizing a creative youth camp and practising environmentally friendly ways of construction.
Emajoe Barge Society The Emajoe Barge Society has a very busy summer agenda full of barge trips as always. Additionally to the nature trips to swamplands and transboundary lake Peipsi popular star watching night trips are organized which is a mix of the astronomy and Ancient Greek mythology. The special environment of being on the deck of a sailing boat sailing smoothly down the river and expanding horizons create responsive and active mood. At this time in addition to consciousness all other senses and emotions are involved and will create connections
Partners on the Barge "Jõmmu"
between nature, experiences.
Commitment – all best practise examples have worked a lot, have gone through good and bad times to now reap the results.
Our project will be finished very soon. It was an interesting challenge and a great chance to compare tourism attractiveness of our area with other countries and at the same time receive trustworthy feedback.
Cooperation – within the project team and between tourism entrepreneurs. Development cooperation is our biggest challenge for next years.
I cannot describe all inspirational moments I have experienced, nor knowledge and skills I have gained during the project. I discovered a list of new opportunities and hidden resources of our own country and area which could be used in developing tourism services. I very much appreciate our project manager Julia's work for all the project management and coordination. Commitment and multitasking are the words which characterize best our project partners even though these words seem to contradict each other. It is, indeed, possible!
Charm – I cannot find a better word (it suits well with previous 2 C-s) to describe the people. They are very focused, self-assured, confident - in other words all our partners and tourism service providers can be characterized as people who implement their dreams. It was a great experience to visit those practices first hand and useful to develop language skills. I had an interesting time when preparing our own practises for the meeting in Estonia. I enjoyed very much our discussions about food services and traditional food. Ene, Estonia
I hope that we will get a chance to have one more cooperation project together as a big part of work like getting to know each other's skills, knowledge, interests is already done. Urve, Estonia
I am very happy for having the chance to participate in this project. I have three main keywords to point out when characterizing people met during the project meetings.
Visiting Tipu Nature School
How to distribute client flow in SPA cen-
Do you need to share experience, solve particular problems or find out other opinions about certain phenomenon? The World Cafe method is right way to host large group dialogue. It is also good for generating new ideas and planning activities.
ter of hotel “Vanagupe” during working days and ensure even distribution of employment? How to attract to hotels more guests during non-seasonal period? How to use entertainment center “Utrių kalnas” during different seasons?
On April 12th 2016 Education, Research & Consultancy Center (ERCC) together with Tourism and Recreation Department of Klaipeda State University of Applied Sciences (University) organized public discussion for representatives from different sectors operating in tourism – public, private and academic.
Organizers of the discussion invited various participants – specialists in tourism and recreation. Representatives from municipality, port of Klaipeda, hotels, guide’s association, tourism information centers, museums, Klaipeda District Employer’s Association, Klaipeda Boating Center, Lapių Community, students and graduates of University and media.
Initiators of World Cafe created the special environment for large group dialogue. Historical place in the heart of Klaipeda Old Town – White Hall of Friedrich Arcade – was chosen for the event. The imitation of cafe was modelled in the hall: tables were covered with sheets of paper (tablecloths), and chairs at each cafe table were put. The coffee and snacks were served in the hall. The live piano music was playing during breaks.
What we have learnt from NordTourNet-1 project and how we will anchor our experience gained from 2-years activities of our network? One of the pre-conditions to be successful and sustainable tourism entrepreneur in remote area is multitasking and ability to manage your time so that your business runs smoothly and your clients would be satisfied on the one hand. On the other hand you have to avoid burnout at your work due to conditions of constant rush and necessity to satisfy your costumers. You must keep creativity and positive attitude towards your work and life in general as well as to be extremely committed to
Welcome and introduction phase was ended with presentation of each cafe (why this name, participants) and the problems they wanted to solve.
Discussions at café
The large group dialogue began with the first of five 10-minutes sessions of brainstorming of ideas in the small groups seated around 5 tables (cafe). At the end of 10minutes each member of the group used to move to a different new table having different problem. The host of new table (owner of cafe) used to welcome “new clients” of cafe and briefly describe what happened in the previous rounds. At the end of this process all cafe had the time to make conclusions and summaries of discussions. Then hosts of tables presented for audience main findings of conversations in each cafe.
After event World Cafe participants were asked to fill in evaluation form to say their opinion about large group dialogue.
A week before the event all participants were divided into 5 tables (cafes) according to their occupational type of activity. For example, there was the cafe of hotels, cafe of recreational activities, cafe of tourism information centers etc. Students Participants at World Cafe in Klaipéda were split to each cafe according to their fields of interest. The table hosts (owners of cafes) were appointed to in advance. They were asked to think about Welcome of participants problems they wanted solved and send The discussion started with positivethem to organizers before discussion. thinking session and relaxation task in order to increase calmness and good mood Problems solved: of cafe “clients”. The moderator asked all How to attract tourists from Scandinavia participants to close their eyes, imagine to Klaipeda region? beautiful beach and let only pleasant minds to take possession on your thinking. How to attract more visitors to Lithuanian Sea Museum during autumn and winAfter that moderator introduced Cafe
Rules. The owners of each cafe were asked to get out from the bag an item and give the name of cafe somehow related to got item.
your business during bad and good times. NordTourNet-2 project will focus on the topic of time management of tourism businessmen, which is closely related to themes of creativity, team-work, ability to cope with difficulties, psychological well-being etc. Partnership will develop learning material with participatory methods of teaching, i.e. learners will be active during teaching process at maximum. During two-days partner meetings the host partner will hold 1-day public training/ seminar for wide audience in the field of tourism. The host partner will pilot new teaching methods, which involve entrepreneurs into learning process. During second day all project partners will build teaching group with theme related to
Majority of respondents underlined that distribution participants’ groups by the tables according to their fields of activities was very successful. Each problem was discussed from very different angles. Also everybody thinks that relaxation techniques used at the beginning of dialogue, positive attitude of organizers and moderator of event inspired participants to open discussions. It was important, because most of participants didn’t’ know each other, especially students needed to be encouraged to express their ideas freely. Some participants, mainly entrepreneurs, were happy with time management and fast pace of small group rounds; some, especially students, would appreciate more time (for instance 20-30 minutes) for conversations in each cafe. But all participants wrote that they gained undoubted benefit from event – a lot of new ideas, information and contacts. Julija, Lithuania time management. Teaching will take place in smaller groups and in the place of best practice example (from NordTourNet-1 project or new one). The project will correspond to Nordplus Adult objective – strengthening the link between adult learning and working life. NordTourNet-2 will upskill and retrain learners and use companies (best practice examples) in education. By developing new and creative participatory teaching methods and preparing learning material, partners will take into consideration information from SWOT analysis and Best Practice Compendium – the results of NordTourNet-1 project. The professional experience from previous project will be waymark for implementation of NordTourNet-2.