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Newsletter 1

February 2015

Project background

The Project

All Nordic and Baltic countries have a potential for development of different types of tourism in their regions – sport tourism, cultural tourism, historical tourism, entertainment tourism and other – because our countries have interesting traditions, unspoiled and beautiful nature, rich cultural heritage and active people, willing to show visitors the beauty and peculiarities of their countries.

 Network of adult learning centres and small organisations working in the field of tourism services in geographically isolated regions of Nordic and Baltic countries.  The Network is a part of a project titled "Tourism Development Challenges in Nordic and Baltic Countries" (NPAD-2014/10050), funded by Nordplus Adult programme.  The partnership was born and network idea first discussed at Nordplus Contact Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden, in October 2013.  First partner meeting was held in Klaipeda, Lithuania in November 2014

Partners on first day of meeting in Lithuania at Liudvikas Réza Culture Centre in Juodkranté

Because of the northern climate the tourism in Baltic and Scandinavian countries is highly seasonal and this fact influences economic and social life of the northern states:

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 Next partner meeting will be in Harjedalen, Sweden in April 2015

tourist service providers do not have steady means of subsistence entrepreneurs having ideas of touristic business are in a state of uncertainty young people with innovative ideas are leaving to other regions/countries

These problems are very obvious in geographically isolated regions. The project aims to create Sustainable and Innovative Tourism Network of Nordic and Baltic Countries consisting of stakeholders from different sectors: Adult and higher education providers, culture centers, business companies, tourism services providers, nongovernmental and governmental organizations. It is the first step of the current partnership. Hopefully another Nordplus project will follow where the partners develop training material for people working in tourist industry. The training material will be based on SWOT analysis of tourism sector and best practice examples identified by partnership during current project. Education, Research & Consultancy Centre from Lithuania brought the idea to Nordplus Contact Seminar in Stockholm, Sweden on 29-31 October 2013. Organizations from Iceland (Austurbru), Sweden (Harjedalens Culture Center) and Estonia (Loodi Manor Nature Centre) supported project idea and joined Lithuanian initiative. In the beginning of June 2014 we got the news that the project was approved, and we received the grant for implementation of our ideas.


This is the first of four newletters of our project Sustainable and innovative tourism network of nordic and Baltic Countries The main topic of this issue is an introduction of our project and partners with focus on Lithuania and our first partner meeting in Klaipéda, Lithuania in November 2014

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Curonian spit Curonian Spit is a long strip of sand, which stretches 98 kilometers along the Baltic Sea. The northern and biggest part of the Spit (52 km) belongs to Republic of Lithuania, other part (46 km) - to the Russian Federation Kaliningrad region. Neringa town was established here in 1961. It consists of 4 settlements: Nida, Preila, Pervalka and Juodkrante.

The devil at the Hill of Witches.

White and grey sand dunes create the uniqueness of the landscape of the Spit. The highest dune is 56 metres in high. The Spit – it is sandy land between 2 waters – the Baltic and Curonian lagoon, beloved by tourists from all over the world. Visitors are invited to accommodate in the ancient villas, ethnographical fishermen houses, modern hotels and enjoy beautiful and clean beaches.

Houses in Juodkranté.

“The first impression this time was that our countries are now much more similar than before.” Urve Künsar, Estonia.

Did you know ?  According to a study made by a French scientist in 1989, Lithuania is in the geographical centre of Europe.  The Lithuanian language is more ancient than Greek, Latin, German, Celtic, or the Slavic tongues. It belongs to the Indo-European group and is nearest to Sanskrit.  Lithuania is known as the land of storks, the national bird for the country, with about 13,000 pairs.  Forest covers 1/3 of the country, including many protected regions and national parks.  Basketball is the most popular sport. Several Lithuanians have become NBA players, maybe most famous being Arvydas Sabonis.  On 1st January 2015 Lithuania became the 19th country to join the euro-zone.

Visitors in Lithuania „Lithuania and Estonia are connected by a common destiny that has been felt through the entire Soviet period. I have gone on many visits and travelled there in my youth as a hitchhiker several times. The trip to Nida peninsula we had after Lithuania`s independence.

„My earlier memories of Lithuania date back to the end of the Soviet period. Lot of wooden sculptures, quaint handicraft and churches everywhere had remained in my memory ever since. 28 years ago all areas looked very different from each other, even our own small towns in Estonia. As shops were empty we sometimes made small shopping trips. Once, when I was student, we had a shopping trip to Lithuania. Equipped with a large empty suitcase we spent all the night in a bus, all the day in Kaunas and all the next night again on the bus on the way back. It was pretty tiring but this time the time and tiredness had a different value. – I remember my only purchase made there—except some obligatory souvenirs – was a bikini.

The first impression this time was that our countries are now much more similar than We started with before. Globalisation and as several times bicycles from Nida Estonian partners Urve and Ene before in history - we are again members of and reached Latthe same union. It has given us the same convia after two weeks. We drove up to Klaipeda ditions for development – at least on a large along the coastline, camped out on the beach scale. – it was definitely forbidden, but we behaved It seems a bit odd that I do not know up to prudently and did not leave any garbage. On now any words in Lithuanian. But when we the sand dunes we had a guided tour. We have always been fascinated by amber jewel- are in an international crowd, I find myself often talking with Lithuanians in Estonian. By lery, knitwear and dignified Lithuanian peothe perception - they understand me anyple.“ way.” Ene, Estonia Urve Künsar, Estonia.

Klaipeda and surrounding area Klaipėda is the third biggest and oldest town of Lithuania, founded in 1252, and one of the oldest cities on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. From city foundation till 1923 and from 1939–1945, it was officially named Memel. Due to political changes between 1923 and 1939, both names were in official use; since 1945 the Lithuanian name of Klaipeda is used. Klaipeda region is very attractive for different types of tourists. Those, who like quite

Klaipeda cruise ship terminal Cruise ship tourism is one of the essential tourism strands of Western Lithuania. Tourists from all over the world come to Klaipeda for 2 days and visit the most interesting places of the region. In 2014 Klaipeda Seaport received significantly bigger number of cruise passengers – 57.797. Compared to 2013 the number of cruise tourists increased by 76,4 percent, i.e. 25.000 more passengers

Meridianas on Dane river in Klaipéda.

visited Klaipeda and its surrounding resorts and places of interest. Accordingly, last year Klaipeda Seaport received vessels record holders. One of them was “Celebrity Eclipse”, the longest vessel ever to visit the port. Its length equals the length of 3 football fields and it is higher than 20-storey house. This cruise liner can accommodate maximum 3150 passengers and 1250 crew members on board. It is expected this year even more cruise ships will visit Klaipeda, as till now already 52 vessels are registered to come and stop in the harbor. Respectively, new records are expected as well!

The Lithuanian word for ‘thank you’ (Ačiū) sounds like the English sneeze word ‘Achoo!’

rest, in the shelter of nature, can find cosy homesteads in countryside, white sand beaches with big dunes along the coast of the Baltic, nature paths in forests and reserves. Those, who like active rest, will find widely developed network of bicycle routes, possibilities for canoeing, or Norden walking. So called summer capital Palanga welcomes visitors every year with huge number of entertainments and noisy, colourful cafes and restaurants. Lovers of cultural tourism will adore museums, manors, events of tra- Old town of Klaipéda ditional music, songs and dances, fairs of handicraft, traditional wooden architecture, and food heritage. vices, but tourism is highly seasonal here. Western Lithuania fascinates visitors with That causes economic and social problems. its beautiful nature, culture and good ser-

Did you know ? On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted an Act on the Restoration of an Independent State of Lithuania after 46 years long occupation of Soviets. Iceland was the first country to recognize re-establishment of Lithuanian Karlskrona Square in Klaipéda. Independence (on 11 February 1991), Sweden and Estonia did that on 27 August 1991. More information can be found on which was at that time still struggling to free itself from Soviet occupation. the website of the Lithuanian parliament Klaipedians were extremely surprised to find out that this Swedish town, which earlier seemed so far away, is really only There exists Karlskrona Square in Klaipeda 349 kilometres away. Old Town. This town in the South of Sweden was the first from western world to offer its hand of brotherhood to Klaipeda,

Visitors in Lithuania

I really enjoyed our stay in Klaipeda, I enjoyed walking through the old town both during day and night. The soviet blocks are not pretty but they are being refurbished with some added colour. The visit to Curonian spit was enjoyable, the wood sculptures in Hill of Witches and the folklore they represented were fascinating. The annual Neringa city birthday celebration with music and dance performed by the villagers felt a little like coming home. The village of Juodkrante, is quiet during winter but full of visitors during summer. The quiet village is charming though and is an ideal place to rest and practice your creative side without all the noise and speed of city life.

We arrived in Klaipeda late at night. The people were very welcoming and we were right away at ease. It was quite obvious that this country had been a part of the Soviet Union, with grey Soviet blocks here and there. I remember thinking „where are all the old buildings”? Then I remembered that many buildings in Klaipeda had been demolished in the first and second World wars. In Iceland on the other hand we experienced an economic boost after WW2. When we went downtown we saw some beautiful old buildIt was dark when we visited ings. The people are so Sigrún and Hulda from Iceland Palanga but we walked the friendly in Lithuania and pedestrian street to the pier they always greet you with a smile. The that was full of people fishing plaice from women are also so beautiful there! the Baltic Sea. The night was chilly, I wonKlaipeda is also a shopping paradise for der how they keep warm? Icelanders and the shopping mall was enormous with many nice stores. Sigrún, Iceland Hulda, Iceland

About the project partners Education, Research & Consultancy Center (ERCC) is not-for-profit, non-governmental organization located in Western Lithuania, Klaipeda city, and since year 2006 active in the fields of adult education, research and international projects. With the help of experienced staff and qualified experts we arrange placements for educational institutions from abroad, informal learning courses, provide guided tours and carry out international projects under Lifelong Learning, Nordplus and Erasmus+ programs both like partner and coordinating institution. The last projects are focused on cultural and innovative tourism. One of ERCC aims is to struggle with this issue through the projects and discussions with stakeholders as well as informal learning courses for audiences working in the field of tourism. Website: Despite its location in Sweden`s less populated county Harjedalen, Harjedalens Kulturcentrum became wellknown as one of Swedens most progressive culture centers. It offers a fully equipped theatre concentrating on artistic events such as concerts, theatre, dance and exhibitions as well as educational project such as Harjedalens Summer Academy with internationally recognised artists. The latest project, an interactive sound path through the nature which strives for the goal to explore and experiment with analog sound, is under development. Web:

NGO Loodi Manor Nature Centre was founded in spring 2013 by private initiative of five founding members. The Nature Centre is one part of the Loodi Learning and Visiting Centre that operates inside Loodi manor. The centre aims to organise seminars, events and training courses in environmental education, sustainable development, traditional woodwork and natural building materials.

Austurbru was founded in 2012 by over 30 founding members, including municipalities, universities trade unions, colleges, and other interested parties in Iceland. Austurbru advocates in the interest of inhabitants, communities, institutions and companies in East-Iceland. It provides a coordinated and interdisciplinary service related to economy, education and culture.



Druskininkai, Trakai Castle, Klaipeda harbour, the biggest river of Lithuania - Nemunas. Since the start of the project, SeptemBetween March 5 and 8, the third issue of ber 2014, 200.000 people from 128 counthe folk music festival Harjedalspipan Revis- tries watched in real time the most interestited takes place at Harjedalens Kulturcening places of Lithuania. trum in Lillhardal. Harjedalspipan is an almost forgotten shepherd flute that had been The 35th International Hanseatic Days take place in Estonia , Viljandi, 4.-7. June 2015. produced in Lillhardal. The postcard from East Iceland Hanseatic cities are gathering for their anst The 81 issue of the traditional Vasaloppet nual celebration with up to 80 towns from Mid-Atlantic trade show was held in Rey(Vasa race, cross-country skiing race) will kjavík February 5.—7. This year instead of Iceland to Russia expected to take part in again attract more than 40.000 participants the festivities. For four days in June hanse- giving out pens, candy etc. East Iceland from all over the world to Mora in Sweden marketing office designed and printed a atic buzz turns a peaceful south-Estonian on the first weekend in March. town into the centre of a magnificent medi- postcard. Instead of the most common landscape the picture of the card is a comic eval merchant world. The traditional carriage ride from Rot version of a reindeer. The card was a big (Dalarna, Sweden) to Röros (Tröndelag, success. Norway) took place between February 3 and 17. About 20 carriages participated in the ride and they will meet more than 100 horses at the final station in Roros. https:// Already the first meeting at Juodkrante on the Curonian Spit showed that all partners face the same challenges. This helped us to find very Winter tourism in the skiing resorts in soon a common language by defining tourism and long-life learning northern Harjedalen is in full swing. programs in sparsely populated parts of different countries. The Funasfjallen, the biggest skiing resort in meeting in Liudvikas Reza Culture Centre was very constructive and Scandinavia, includes more than 300km productive, but showed also differences while talking about less prepared racing tracks and attracts around populated places. While Harjedalen and East-Island seem to struggle 600.000 visitors every winter. with really small building and population density, Lithuania and Mobile phone operator of Lithuania “Bite” Estonia present small towns not far from each other, which makes it possible for touristic attractions like HBH Juoza (in Žibininkai) to initiated innovative project named “Lithuania in Your Hands”. Connect to web- build bigger complexes which are even well visited during weekends beyond touristic main seasons. On the other hand all participating site from your personal computer, mobile phone or tablet countries can be characterized by the tendency of their inhabitants and you can see amazing photos, time pan- to move to the capitals. We learned a lot about the history of Lithua- Flavia from Sweden (right) and our host Julija orama and live broadcast from most beauti- nia and visited also well-organized touristic destinations which ful places of Lithuania - capital city Vilnius, struggle with seasonal tourism. The atmosphere of the meeting was very friendly, professionally organized and made us to look forward the next meeting in Kaunas, resorts of Nida, Palanga and Sweden.” - Flavia Devonas, Sweden

News from partners

Visitors in Lithuania

Profile for Nordtournet

Sustainable and innovative tourism network of Nordic and Baltic countries - Newsletter 1  

The first of four newsletters issued by the project: Tourism Development Challenges in Nordic and Baltic Countries (NPAD-2014/10050) funded...

Sustainable and innovative tourism network of Nordic and Baltic countries - Newsletter 1  

The first of four newsletters issued by the project: Tourism Development Challenges in Nordic and Baltic Countries (NPAD-2014/10050) funded...