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Good Practices

for Senior Tourism

European Union European Regional Development Fund

Foreword Ageing and tourism

Demographic change and ageing challenge the EU Member States and other Western industrial countries to find new ways of organising services and sustaining regions’ competitiveness. In 2020 around 20 % of Europeans will be over the age of 65 and in 2030 the figure will be even higher. The intensity and pace of demographic change varies between different countries and regions. Even though changes in the age structure create new challenges in different areas of life and for the organisation of services, ageing today is considered to have increasing opportunities in various sectors. Due to ageing, there is a need to develop new services and solutions that cater for the needs of the changing population structure and respond to the changes in consumer behavior and demand. Being one of the fastest growing industries in Europe, the possibilities are vast in tourism as well. The tourism industry should prepare for the changes that occur in consumer needs and habits in order to maintain global competitiveness. Seniors are not a homogenous segment but a colourful group of individuals ranging from wealthy seniors to those with low income and from healthy seniors to persons who need special services. They all have their own interests and wishes.

About the project

The TOURAGE project - Developing Senior Tourism in Remote Regions – was developed from the idea that demographic change creates possibilities, and not only challenges for regions. Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Europe and relatively remote regions have a lot of unexploited and unidentified development potential in this field. The project seeks to identify good practices that can be utilized in the development of tourism services for seniors. The results of the project help to develop and strengthen a ”Senior Tourism Model” in Europe that better takes the ageing population into account in tourism development. Furthermore, the results offer tools for the development of regional senior tourism policies. The TOURAGE project is coordinated by the Regional Council of North Karelia and is financed by the INTERREG IVC programme. It brings together 11 partners from 9 EU member states.

55 Good Practices for the over 55’s

A total of five good practices have been collected from each of the partner regions during the project implementation. These good practices identify methods which take seniors into account with regard to tourism development. Thus altogether, 55 good practices have been selected for this brochure as examples of how to tackle ageing in the tourism sector, increase regions’ competitiveness in this regard and illustrate how to promote active ageing. The selection has been made during several project workshops, learning cafes and through voting in order to identify the most interesting and transferable practices. Good practices are divided into two main sections – Supply and Services and Structural Solutions. The sections include five sub-themes which cover a wide variety of tourism topics including: Active and Nature, Culture and History, Health and Wellbeing, Accessibility and Organization. Colored margins are used in the brochure to easily distinguish these different sub-themes. The main conclusions have been summarised in the policy recommendations that are available at the end of the brochure. More information on each good practice and the project can be found on We hope you enjoy the examples and find new inspiring ideas for your work!

Regional Council of North Karelia (Lead Partner) Finland Vidzeme Planning Region (Communication and Dissemination) Latvia Szabolcs-SzatmĂĄr-Bereg County Regional Development and Environmental Management Agency (Exchange of Experiences) Hungary Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency Hungary Region of East Macedonia & Thrace Greece Regional Development Agency of the PreĹĄov Self-Governing Region Slovakia Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic Poland Bourgas Regional Tourist Association Bulgaria Podkarpackie Region Poland West Regional Authority Ireland County Council of Granada Spain


Section I – SUPPLY AND SERVICES I.1 Active and Nature

Natural park Strandzha (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) Active Olsztyn (Warmia-Mazury, Poland) Warmia-Mazury Senior Games (Warmia-Mazury, Poland) Sports and wellbeing holidays for seniors (North Karelia, Finland) Nordic Walking Centre around Myczkowce Lake (Podkarpackie Region, Poland) Ecotourism in Evros river delta and Dadia National Parks (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece) Fond of the Forest - Forest Wellbeing Tourism (North Karelia, Finland) Carpathian Wildlife Foundation (Podkarpackie Region, Poland) Hortobágy National Park (Hajdú-Bihar county, Hungary) Carpathian Sky – Development of tourism products based on astronomy in region of Slovak-Polish border (Prešov region, Slovakia)

I.2 Culture and History

International Egg Festival at Lake Balaton (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Multi-cultural route of Komotini – Maroneia (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece) Places with the Soul - Partnership of Thematic Villages (Warmia-Mazury, Poland) Οld town of Xanthi and Old town festival (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece) Alhambra for the Elderly (Granada, Spain) Bealtaine festival (West Region, Ireland) Karelia á la carte network - Karelian culinary tours (North Karelia, Finland) Summer Pottery Workshops (Podkarpackie Region, Poland) Ľubovňa Castle (Prešov region, Slovakia) Gastronomic journey (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hungary) Walks through the living Spiš (Prešov region, Slovakia) Southern Balaton wine road (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Ireland Reaching Out (West Region, Ireland) Faith and Health (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hungary) ULTREIA Project on Knock Shrine (West Region, Ireland) Preservation and promotion of wooden churches on the international wooden path (Prešov region, Slovakia) Route of medieval churches (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, Hungary)

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4 I.3 Health and Wellbeing

Best Enjoyed Slowly – SPA and Gourmet tourism in the countryside Dikļi Palace (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia) Tropical Tourism Programme (Granada, Spain) Balneo Tourism in Pomorie (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) Therapeutic Mud Baths in Krinides (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece) Rehabilitation Centre “Līgatne” & Nordic walking in Gauja National Park (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia) IMSERSO: Social Programmes to improve the quality life for elderly people in Granada (Granada, Spain) „Without Barriers” Tourism Association (Pomorskie, Poland)

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Section II – STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS II.1 Accessibility

Las Ventanas, Caves in Piñar (Granada, Spain) Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme (AFCC) (West Region, Ireland) Accessible Nature Tourism (North Karelia, Finland) Tamási Ability Thermal Spa (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Sensual Universal Garden (Podkarpackie Region, Poland) Koli Shuttle Taxi (North Karelia, Finland)

II.2 Organization

Cultural volunteers programme of Parque de las Ciencias (Granada, Spain) Tourism Packages 55+ (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) State specific subsidy for retired persons in Slovak republic (Prešov region, Slovakia) Micro-cluster collaboration model (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia) Senior tourism packages and senior discounts offered in the town of Harkány (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Federation of Social Organisations – FOSa (Warmia-Mazury, Poland) TDM activities of Hajdúszoboszló (Hajdú-Bihar county, Hungary) Mazsalaca Senior Initiative (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia) Mecsek Ökocsali (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Senior initiative - international Exchange voluntary work (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia) Pensioners‘ Clubs (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) Council оf veterans from the Petro–Chemical Refinary (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) Women’s Cooperative of Kokkinogeia (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece) Old Travellers Club (Podkarpackie Region, Poland) Active Retirement Ireland (West Region, Ireland)

Joint Policy Recommendations

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Section I



6 Bulgaria


Natural park Strandzha (Bourgas region, Bulgaria)

Active Olsztyn (Warmia-Mazury, Poland)

The Natural Park Strandzha is located in the border area of Bulgaria with Turkey. 90% of the population is elderly. Tourism is the main activity of the local population, which creates jobs and economic growth in the area. Local people have refurbished their houses and accommodate visitors in the park. They sing local songs, perform folk dances, prepare local food, and guide the tourists in the region. Each year in May local people organise the “Festival of Rhododendron”. The old people in the village of Brashlyan established an organisation – they made an exhibition of local crafts and clothes, refurbished the old school and church and provide tourism services – catering, guides, accommodation, demonstrations of folk dances and singing. The services are mainly provided by elderly people. The provision of services makes them active and creates employment and profits.

Active Olsztyn (Olsztyn Aktywnie!) is a municipal programme implemented by the city of Olsztyn designed to promote an active and healthy lifestyle among the citizens of Olsztyn from all age groups. The programme premiered in 2010 with 10 different disciplines and various educational and recreational activities. It immediately received wide acclaim from the citizens of Olsztyn, whose participation in events exceeded organiser’s estimates. From the very beginning all the activities of the programme have been planned and implemented in cooperation with various local associations. The number of project partners has been growing steadily with different institutions both public and private taking part in the organisation of the programme. In 2012 the Active Olsztyn programme reached more than 15000 people who participated in different events across 21 disciplines offered by the city. The programme is addressed to all age groups, with certain activities targeting specifically selected groups thus becoming an intergenerational programme. Some of the activities such as guided tours, Nordic walking or mushroom picking are very popular among seniors.

Objectives: • To create employment in the remote area. • To create possibilities for economic diversification in the Natural park Strandzha. • To keep the population in the area. • To preserve and promote the rich cultural and natural tourist resources in the area. Results: The activities performed by the organisation of elderly people in the Natural Park Strandzha have led to the following results: • Increased employment. • Increased sources of income. • Increased number of visitors. • New skills and services. • Promoted natural and cultural resources. • Decreased depopulation of the area.

Directorate of Strandja Nature Park

Objectives: • Developing interests in tourism and sightseeing. • Promotion of active tourism as an alternative to a consumer lifestyle. • Promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle. • Enhancing physical fitness. • Encouraging curiosity about the world. • Developing positive social attitudes. • Building a society of active people. • Promoting pure nature and recreational tracks in Olsztyn and its vicinity. Results: The programme has been developed successfully with each edition attracting more participants within a similar budget. Also the number of disciplines and events has been increasing steadily, thus providing a more versatile and comprehensive offer for all age groups. Olsztyn Municipal Office Department of Promotion



The main theme of the Warmia-Mazury Senior Games is to promote sports and an active and healthy lifestyle among people aged 45 and more with a particular focus on senior groups thereby actively engaging these groups in social activities by promoting social inclusion, openness, tolerance and respect for all nations, cultures, religions, ages and lifestyles. The Games will be accompanied by a series of cultural and educational activities emphasising the importance and role of sporting activity among people over 45, including an educational conference inaugurating the project. Other activities will include the organisation of a regional recreational event for seniors (“Seniorada”) and other accompanying events, integrating people of 45 years old and more. The project will also contribute to the promotion of the region of Warmia Mazury as a desirable tourist destination for senior tourists and their families and will build upon the previous campaign entitled “Masuria the Wonder of Nature” which emphasised the natural richness of the region being a perfect place for all those looking for peace and tranquillity in natural surroundings. The second edition will take place between 28-31 August 2014 in different locations within the Warmia-Mazury region, including Olsztyn, Orneta, Ostróda, Lidzbark Warmiński, Iława, Pasłęk and Nidzica. Objectives: Social objectives: • Promotion of sports among people aged 45+. • Promotion of a healthy lifestyle. • Promotion of social activity, openness, tolerance and respect for all nations, cultures and religions, ages and lifestyles. • Maintaining international dialogue (cooperation with foreign and international organisations and institutions). Promotional objectives: • Promotion of the project, the region of Warmia and Mazury and Poland as an area of sustainable development and as an interesting and desirable tourism and business investment location. • Creative continuation of the campaign “Masuria the Wonder of Nature”. • Promotion of the cities co-organising the event. • Creating and marketing a new brand of Warmia and Mazury - Warmia-Mazury Senior Games. Results: The first edition of the Warmia Mazury Senior Games held in 2012, was well received both in Poland and abroad. The competition received an official honorary patronage from the President of Poland and was supported by the Polish Ministry of Sport and Tourism as an event creating intergenerational dialogue and promoting social inclusion of senior communities in Poland and abroad. The Games gathered 1025 participants aged between 40 and 82 from many countries including Estonia, the Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Lithuania, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, Great Britain, the USA, Ukraine, Denmark and Spain. Based on the success of the first edition of the Games the project will be continued in 2014 with a broader list of partners. Marshal’s Office of Warmia and Mazury Department of Sport


Warmia-Mazury Senior Games (Warmia-Mazury, Poland)




Sports and wellbeing holidays for seniors (North Karelia, Finland)

Nordic Walking Centre around Lake Myczkowce (Podkarpackie Region, Poland)

The practice combines travelling abroad and healthy exercise and corresponds to the demand of consumers. The organisers have noticed that holidays that combine travelling and exercise are in great demand at the moment. They are also popular because they offer new experiences and are a way to maintain friendships and make new friends. The seven day holiday programme includes different kinds of sports, such as Nordic walking, water gymnastics, Pilates, sports games and gymnastic exercises and it is always tailored depending on the participants’ interests. The holiday trips are suitable for everyone, which means that participants’ fitness levels and age are taken into account in the offered programmes. In addition, there are evening activities and the possibility to participate in the excursions provided by the travel agency or individually. Objectives: • To promote the wellbeing of seniors through sports and exercise. • To improve social interaction: participants will get to know new people and form friendships. • To offer new experiences for seniors. • To create new service models for seniors. • To offer wellbeing holidays that are tailored to seniors. Results: The number of senior participants has increased notably since the beginning of the practice and it is always fully booked. Through the practice Eastern Finland Sports Institute ISLO receives new customers and builds a positive image that supports the institute’s activities.

Eastern Finland Sports Institute ISLO

Nordic Walking Centre around Lake Myczkowce is based on the holiday resort “Caritas” and a network of 18 trails (some of them are specially created for disabled people), of different lengths and mild heights – the highest point is about 550 m. above sea level. Some of the trails are included into the Eco-museum “Beaver country”. The centre was created by two groups: professional tourist guides and the local community. Besides the common tourist service in the resort, sticks are available to hire, as well as professional guiding and medical services are offered. All at a reasonable price. The resort “Caritas” also offers a number of cultural attractions and activities which attract Polish and international visitors all year round. Objectives: • Economic strengthening of the region. • To enrich the tourist offer which includes a huge number of available services. • To promote active tourism especially for senior citizens and disabled people. Results: Approximately 35 000 visitors of the age of 55+ arrive at the resort annually. Almost half of them use the facilities available there. The growing interest in the offer encourages the “Caritas” managers to enlarge the package of services. It also stimulates local entrepreneurship in the area.

Holiday resort “Caritas”



Ecotourism in the River Evros Delta and Dadia National Park (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece)

Fond of the Forest - Forest Wellbeing Tourism (North Karelia, Finland)

The two management bodies were created following the initiatives undertaken by local authorities and environmental organisations. Their aim is the protection, management and promotion of areas under protection and it is accomplished through actions such as scientific support and monitoring of wild birds and waters, environmental surveillance, the provision of information to visitors, as well as organising festivals, visits and environmental education programmes. In this context, the management bodies will soon merge and offer integrated services to the public and potential visitors, transportation and tours in areas of high environmental value with trained personnel and safe means for the elderly. Objectives: • Surveillance and protection of the flora and fauna. • Provision of information and training. • Implementation of ecotourism programmes. • Ongoing specification of the management framework and its implementation. • Monitoring the implementation of the legislative framework. • Composition of environmental management studies. • Participation in national, European and international programmes. Results: The merger provides enhanced possibilities for adequate resources and long term viability as well as improved management and ecotourism promotion activities.

This project developed a range of wellbeing tourism products highlighting the special characteristics of Ilomantsi (municipality in North Karelia) to cater both for domestic and international special needs. The products are based on forests, the biosphere reserve and local Karelian culture. The range of tourism products comprises service modules which constitute a one-week tourism service package to cater for the needs of tourist groups in particular. The service modules in the package also serve as independent tourism products. The tourism services are produced by a service provider network involving entrepreneurs and other actors. Senior travellers are one of the target groups of wellbeing tourism development. They are interested in active nature tourism, silence, wellbeing and health services. Objectives: • Establish the service provider network. • Conduct a customer survey on the appeal of Finnish forest-based wellbeing tourism products in the Japanese market. • Develop forest-based wellbeing tourism products. • Create a product development model that tourism companies will be able to utilise when launching new tourism products. Results: Among other results, the project developed several wellbeing tourism products that have been tested with different customer groups e.g. “Bear hunt feast”, “Trip to the forest for (grand)parents and (grand)children” and “Cultural nature tour in Puustila scenic farm”.

Management body of Evros Delta

University of Eastern Finland Aducate - Centre for Training and Development

Dadia National Park

Karelia Expert Tourist Service ltd.






Carpathian Wildlife Foundation (Podkarpackie Region, Poland)

Hortobágy National Park (Hajdú-Bihar County, Hungary)

The main objective of the Carpathian Wildlife Foundation is increasing the number of European nature-orientated visitors in the Eastern Carpathians transboundary area between Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine as well as offering nature-based tours to visitors already staying in the region, mostly Polish ones. In part it is the territory of the UNESCO biosphere reservation area “Eastern Carpathians”. The Foundation provides services all year round, for both groups and individuals. International partners involved in the Rewilding Europe initiative like WWF Netherlands, the ARK Foundation, Conservation Capital, Wild Wonders of Europe and national WWF Poland.

Hortobágy National Park is the first and until today the largest protected natural area of Hungary, which extends some 82 thousand hectares. The park won the “Part of The World Heritage” title in 1999 from UNESCO. In 2008, as “Hungary’s best destination for preserving living traditions”, it was awarded the “EDEN - European Destinations of Excellence” title from the European Commission. Hortobágy presents the harmonic living of man and landscape together. Strong seasonality characterises the national park programmes. One of the conditions of the financial sustainability of programmes and demonstration sites is extending the tourist season and reducing seasonality, therefore they initiated developments.

Objectives: • To develop nature tourism in the region. • To promote the borderland between Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine as an attractive tourist destination esp. for nature lovers. Results: In the last 10 years of activity guided tours for almost 1,000 nature lovers have been organised, mostly for citizens of Western Europe, from university students to mature birdwatchers between the age of 35-60. Moreover, around 15 local nature guides have been trained and are involved in servicing the organised tours.

Carpathian Wildlife Foundation

Objectives: • Urge tourists to stay longer in the area. • Contribute to the prolongation of the tourist season. • Enhance the increase of tourist spending. • Preserve the cultural and natural values, the architectural and historical heritage of the region. Results: The common result of the developments is the expansion of the touristic attractions, the number of visitors both from the area and from the wider region can increase as well. The developments contribute to the complex introduction of natural values, the preservation of natural habitats and of wild animal and plant species. These new developments may maintain the interest of all target groups including seniors as well, and could actively involve them in training, education, and the dissemination of information. The accessibility of the natural park has developed a lot, and can attract target groups such as seniors, which are not in a position to explore the natural park by walking. Therefore one of the most promising element of the developments is railway or safari jeeps which can ensure larger access to the territory of the natural park. Hortobágy National Park Directorate



The idea of the project was implemented in the regions of Slovakia and Poland which are not using their development potential very well. The region of northeastern Slovakia is not visited by tourists as often as the Western part of the Prešov region (High Tatras Mountains). The road infrastructure is not known very well and the supply of tourist products in this area is also low. Due to its remoteness from industrial settlements the said area has excellent conditions for astronomical observations and also tourism associated with astronomy. The lack of infrastructure, which people regarded as a major deficiency of the region, means the night’s sky is dark and not polluted with unnecessary lights, which could be used as an opportunity for the development of the region. Astro-tourism is a segment of tourism suitable for people of all ages. The activity is physically undemanding and can be combined with walks in woods and other leisure activities. Educational bodies involved in the project also prepared several lectures for different age groups. Objectives: • Support of building and upgrading the tourism infrastructure associated with astronomy. • Strengthening the functions of the border region serving the development (tourist office, educational, recreational, and business services). • Exchange of experience and knowledge in areas related to astronomy, tourism, education, recreation and related services and business. • Preparation and production of new astronomical features of tourist infrastructure. • Getting to know the partners, preparation of a cross-network base. Results: Via the action astronomical observatories have been equipped with new equipment, special guides on astronomy and observations for teachers have been prepared. A Sky map of the region with important places with low light pollution was documented and a strategy for the development of astro-toursim products was developed, as well as special training programme and workshops on astronomy have taken place. Vihorlat Observatory in Humenné


Carpathian Sky – Development of tourism products based on astronomy in the region of the Slovak-Polish border (Prešov region, Slovakia)




International Egg Festival at Lake Balaton (South Transdanubia, Hungary)

Multi-cultural route of KomotiniMaroneia (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece)

The festival is organised to celebrate World Egg Day. The three-day event complies with the dissemination campaign of the Egg Association. The main objectives are to promote and emphasise the importance of eating eggs on a daily basis and dispel the incorrect views about the negative effects of egg consumption. Due to the seasonality of tourism, Siófok is extremely crowded in summer time by youths, who are coming to have fun. These parties disturb the older people; therefore they prefer to go to other destinations instead. But in autumn, when the festival is organised, Siófok is much calmer, the prices are lower, and consequently the town is more attractive for the more elderly people. Moreover, this unique attraction in the low season contributes to extending the tourism season too. The aim is to provide an attractive and high quality programme in the off-season. According to previous experience older guests mostly arrive with the family and grandchildren and so the festival can help the formation of intergenerational dialogues.

The multicultural image of the city of Komotini, the harmonic living of people with different religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds and everyday life, is by all means a good practice that attracts people’s interest. In order to make the City, as well as the cultural sites more accessible, the municipality designed a route which passes through major sights, museums, churches and mosques. Visitors can move around all the interesting spots, stop to visit museums and exhibitions and continue their tour outside the city in the area of Maroneia where important samples of ancient civilisation are located.

Objectives: • Developing gastro tourism services. • Extending the short main tourist season. • Offering programmes for elderly people and families.

Objectives: • Promotion of monuments and traditions of a long lived civilisation and major elements of a modern multicultural everyday life. • Development of cultural tourism. • Link cultural tourism and tourism for seniors. Results: Integrated and well promoted attractions on a trail with diverse cultural characteristics and particularities.

Results: By statistical estimation, the number of visitors to each Festival is more 50 000. This attendance has been constant for years. During the Festivals many Guinness world records have been reached in the field of egg eating in years gone by.

Pasteur Egg Processing Ltd.

Municipal Enterprise for Culture, Education and Sports



The Places with the Soul Partnership of Thematic Villages of Warmia-Masuria was initiated in 2010 by the Elbląg Association for the Support of Non-Governmental Initiatives. The mission of the Partnership is to develop a joint tourist offer based on the unique historical, cultural and natural values of the region. Currently the Partnership comprises ten thematic villages located within three communes of the Braniewo and Elbląg counties, including picturesque villages such as Kadyny and Jędrychowo. The main goal of the Partnership is to develop local communities by creating and implementing joint tourist offers based on the idea of thematic villages and localities. The Partnership actively engages seniors in its work by relying on their experience and social potential. One of the villages – Jędrychowo is themed as Grandma’s Village. It offers not only traditional cuisine, handicrafts and herbal products, but also engages tourists in activities inspired by traditions such as handicraft and toy making workshops or location-based games. Objectives: • Developing the Partnership by engaging thematic localities and villages located in the Warmian-Masurian Region. • Developing and implementing joint tourist products. • Promoting the thematic villages and the Partnership. • Improving the idea and practical aspects of thematic villages. • Developing social entrepreneurship in rural areas. Results: Since 2010 the Partnership has developed a wide cooperation network with non-governmental organisations and local communities working jointly for the development of their villages. The Partnership actively promotes the idea of a thematic village as an effective tool empowering local communities in rural areas and by providing alternative methods of socio-economic development. Elbląg Association for the Support of Non-Governmental Initiatives


Places with the Soul - Partnership of Thematic Villages (Warmia-Mazury, Poland)




Old Town of Xanthi and Old Town festival (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece)

Alhambra for the Elderly (Granada, Spain)

The Old town of Xanthi is the most prominent in Greece. The organisation on an annual basis of the “Old town festival” and the “Carnival of Xanthi” by the Municipal Cultural Centre, as well as the strong motivation of the cultural bodies and carnival teams have contributed vastly to local development. Both events attract thousands of visitors due to their fame, including a significant number of seniors. What has inspired the creators of such an alive and creative culture movement is the Old Town’s history and culture. The biggest part of the Carnival takes place at the traditional listed settlement of Xanthi, through the alleys under the roofs that both the culture and carnival clubs put up to offer food, drink and entertainment. Objectives: • Promotion of the unique profile of the Old town. • Cultural and carnival teams’ self-organisation and citizens’ motivation. • Quality of life improvement. • All year round tourist demand. • Contribution to local development. Results: The Old Town events have taken place for the last 23 years and their fame results in a year on year increase of visitors, seeking a taste of unique historical and cultural richness, local cuisine and recreation.

The training of people throughout all of their lives is being seen more and more as a necessity in humanistic, scientific and artistic aspects. Learning does not happen exclusively in a specific time and place. It is a rich and complex process that is nourished by everything that happens in our surroundings and is developed during our lives. To reach a number of social sectors, make contact with different means of cultural expression, disseminate historical heritage, approach the population of our past in a task promoted by the Council of the Alhambra and General life from different perspectives and areas. For all these reasons, this institution has started the educational Programme “Alhambra for the elderly” with the objective to disseminate culture as an essential social strategy for the construction of a more human and balanced world. This is one of the main problems of this initiative; now it is only aimed at a specific “elderly group” related to education centres or similar. The future of the activity will be connected with senior tourism of the area. Objectives: • To make contact with different means of cultural expression. • To disseminate culture as an essential social strategy for the construction of a more human and balanced world. • To support elderly people who are students at all the adult centres and universities of the Andalusian region. Results: The future of the activity will be connected with senior tourism of the area.

Municipal Cultural Centre,,

Corral del Carbón Office



Bealtaine Festival is the Irish National Arts Festival celebrating creativity as we age. It takes place each May countrywide and involves thousands of participants in events in every art form. Bealtaine celebrates renewal, creativity and growth in ageing. Bealtaine is coordinated by Age & Opportunity, a national organisation working to promote greater participation of older people in society. The Festival was initiated by a largely state-funded organisation (Age and Opportunity). An Arts Committee was formed in 1995 to hold a countrywide Festival, along with the involvement of a voluntary co-coordinator provided by Age & Opportunity and other national cultural institutions. The Festival has a part time Artistic Director with administrative input & support from Age & Opportunity staff. The resulting Festival has grown in scope and ambition and is recognised globally as the first such festival of its kind. Objectives: • Bealtaine Festival brings Arts Programmes to older people in Ireland thereby providing opportunities for creativity that participants might not otherwise experience. • Bealtaine Festival contains the potential to make a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of older people participating in various activities associated with the Programme. Results: Bealtaine Festival was first launched in 1996 with a total of 7,000 people taking part in 50 events with 30 collaborative partners. In 2013, over 122,000 participants took part in over 3,000 events organised by 592 partners nationally. Bealtaine Festival is now the key focus for arts and cultural activities for older people in Ireland and is a firm fixture in the National Cultural Calendar bringing performers and audiences from all corners of the country to participate in arts events. Bealtaine Festival, Age & Opportunity, Marino Institute of Education


Bealtaine Festival (West Region, Ireland)




Karelia á la carte network - Karelian culinary tours (North Karelia, Finland)

Summer Pottery Workshops (Podkarpackie Region, Poland)

Karelia à la carte is a nationally and internationally recognised, unique food tourism network of North Karelian restaurants, tourism companies, food enterprises and catering and conference service companies. The network was established in 1991. The partner companies use local products and services and are committed to following the rules and values of the network and fulfilling its quality requirements. The network also organises culinary tours that include cultural activities, gastronomy and learning new things. During these excursions, travellers taste local delicacies, learn about local traditions, visit attractions and companies that are part of the network, bake Karelian pies etc. Tours can be customised according to the customer’s wishes and can be built around different themes. The majority of the people taking part in these tours are seniors.

Summer Pottery Workshops is a proposal for people seeking tradition-based activities. For younger visitors it is more a presentation of local tradition while the senior citizens take part in the workshop utilising their own experience and knowledge. The participants learn how to make clay jars or to create clay sculptures. With regard to local tradition clay jewellery can also be created. For more engaged participants there is also a possibility to learn how to kiln clay products. Approximately 30% of all visitors and participants are aged 55+. Every year the pottery farm in Medynia Głogowska becomes a more and more significant attraction in the region.

Objectives: • To increase cooperation between and within the food, tourism and handicraft industries. • To improve the operational environment and preconditions of small rural enterprises. • To link food, tourism and handicraft enterprises with other enterprises in the region. • To improve quality control, methods, products, services, business planning, marketing options and profitability of enterprises within the network. • To create a Karelia á la carte brand which promotes national and international marketing of region’s tourism, food and handicraft industries. Results: Among other results, the Karelian culinary tours have been commercialised and seven different products around the theme of food have been created. A recipe book of traditional food has been published and a booklet “At the Karelian Dinner Table” on the region’s history and local recipes has been produced. Also Karelia á la carte business gifts have been produced. The network includes around 70 partners who market their services collectively. ProAgria North Karelia

Objectives: • To preserve local tradition. • To develop creativity and artistic skills. • Due to the growing engagement of the local community the Pottery Farm in Medynia Głogowska and its surrounding services are becoming a source of income for the residents of the area. Results: The Pottery Farm in Medynia Głogowska offers various pottery activities, but also local cuisine, rides in horsedrawn carts etc. The educational and entertaining factors are equally highly regarded. Approximately 30% of all visitors and participants are 55+. The Farm poses an essential element of the region’s cultural offer.

Summer Pottery Farm



Ľubovňa Castle is one of the most visited cultural subjects in the Prešov region. It is attended by around 100 000 visitors annually. From its very beginnings the museum has collected historic, ethnographic, artistic and natural history items, concentrating on the area of Stará Ľubovňa. The Museum is suitable for visitors of any age. Visitors consist of families, school excursions, group trips, senior groups, etc. Senior tourism is also represented with circa 10 000 senior visitors per year. The museum participates in many activities and projects funded from EU structural funds and other sources and offers attractions such as falconers, historical fencing groups, games and many others. The museum is always trying to find new ways to attract visitors from many different groups. In the year 2013, in cooperation with the Ministry of culture of the Slovak Republic and the Union of the visually impaired and blind of the Slovak Republic, they prepared special furnishing, equipment, aides and information tables in Braille to bring the experience of Ľubovňa Castle to blind people. In cooperation with the Associated School of Pavol Sabadoš the museum also prepared aides for people with hearing problems. Visitors with smart devices can see special video guides in sign language through the QR codes. Objectives: The main idea was to bring the experience of Ľubovňa Castle and its open air museum to visually impaired and blind visitors as well as to visitors with hearing problems. Results: Special equipment for disabled people, visitors with hearing problems and blind people has been installed as well as special audio and video guides have been prepared and are in use. The action improved the services provided in the Castle and its open air museum of wooden architecture and Ľubovňa Castle and the open-air museum in Stará Ľubovňa are rare cultural facilities in the Slovak Republic that offer the presentation of such forms of cultural heritage. Lubovna museum – castle in Stara Lubovna


Ľubovňa Castle (Prešov region, Slovakia)




Gastronomic journey (SzabolcsSzatmár-Bereg County, Hungary)

Walks through the living Spiš (Prešov region, Slovakia)

The objective of this programme is to show the gastronomic culture of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County. Five different traditional regions were identified, which are the following: Nyírség, Bereg, Szatmár, Rétköz and Nyíri-mezőség. These regions have their own gastronomic culture and tradition. The point is that not only do counties have different cultures in gastronomy but it is also the case within a county and its regions as well. This is a good practice of how to raise the attention of inhabitants to explore their own county. A programme started within the project called “Old foods in new clothes”. This programme is a new innovative way to show our tradition in gastronomy. A main target group are senior tourists, because if they visit something new, they want to explore its own gastronomy. They are searching for places where they can taste delicious traditional foods of the county.

The main idea was to create an original, eye-catching, functional and sustainable programme to increase the attractiveness of the region and its cultural tourism. The project helped to create contacts among Slovak and Polish communities and has had a long-term impact on the region of Spiš. The tourism product is a very variable product offering many activities tailor-made for specific visitors. It was developed by the municipality of Spišský Hrhov and provided by the municipality in cooperation with local residents and service providers.

Objectives: • To improve the awareness of the region/county by using its gastronomy. • Make a network for tourism services. • To promote active touristic packages and festivals. • The culinary exploration of the two counties. • To organise actions to promote traditions of the county. • To improve the gastronomic competitiveness of the county.

Objectives: Support for the Polish-Slovak partnership cooperation to build and promote their potential for the development of cultural tourism by maintaining, developing and promoting the living culture in the border area. Results: The main result of the project is the lasting cooperation of the municipalities of Spišský Hrhov and Poronin in the field of development of cultural potential in the form of cultural tourism products. The project has had an impact on the whole cross-border region, actors of cultural tourism, SMEs and inhabitants of the region.

Results: • Two Gastronomic festival was organized in the two County. • Image film about the regions of the two county. • A mouthful of Fairy field book was released. • Involvement of local service providers/restaurants. • ”Old dishes in a new way” campaign. Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Regional Development and Environmental Management Agency Nonprofit Ltd.

Municipality of Spišský Hrhov



The South Balaton region has a long history in viticulture due to the good natural conditions. The composition of wine species is increasing, the utilisation of modern technology is more widespread, and it has a better position in the domestic market too. The South Balaton Wine Route offers additional services for tourists arriving to the Lake Balaton region, who are looking for quality evening programmes. The wineries serves different age groups; many of these visitors are seniors, who are not only interested in the lake itself, but also in the cultural-gastronomical traditions of the area. Wine is not only preferred by locals, but by tourists too; especially senior leisure travellers, who prefer a calm and beautiful environment instead of the crowded bars and pubs on the coast. Management of the wine route works on a non-profit base in the form of an association, founded in 1999. The wine route covers the whole territory of the wine region. Objectives: • Developing wine tourism services. • Enhancing tourism supply by alternative offers. • Protecting the gastronomic and natural values of the region. Results: A wine road can provide a gastronomic and wine experience without requiring great physical effort, but for more active elderly people, this attraction can be linked to hiking, cycling or to eco-tourism. Association of Wine Road in South Balaton Wine Region


Southern Balaton wine road (South Transdanubia, Hungary)



Ireland Reaching Out (West Region, Ireland) The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to trace their roots, the organisation works the other way. Working through voluntary efforts at a townland, village and parish level in Ireland, those people who left Ireland through emigration are traced, along with their descendants worldwide. The Ireland Reaching Out organisation then proactively engages with them and invites them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin. In this way, the entire Irish Diaspora of 70 million people can be systematically reunified online and invited back or to engage with their ancestral parish for the benefit of all. This national pilot project was developed in South-East Galway within the West Region. Objectives: The main objective of the project is to develop the technology to develop every parish in Ireland to participate in this initiative. Over the lifetime of the project, the project had three main aims. • Firstly, to identify and engage 44,000 people outside the country who have direct links with the identified parishes in South-East Galway. • Secondly, the pilot project attempted to attract 25 or 30 of these people home to their parish or town land of origin. • The third goal was to identify, among the 44,000, approximately 500 enterprising members of the returning emigrants who can be buyers, advisers, investors and influencers for the benefit of not just the locality but the Irish nation as a whole. Results: The pilot scheme was so successful that a National Diaspora Project has recently been launched and is expanding across 2,500 Irish parishes North and South. The project has also won the top prize for “Best Community Project” in Ireland at the prestigious LAMA (Local Authority Members Awards) ceremony and has been cited for its originality, popularity among parishes and volunteers, and its potential to scale across the country. It has led indirectly to another Government backed tourism Initiative called “The Gathering” which took place in 2013 and further promoted events to attract the Irish Diaspora back to Ireland. It comprises many stakeholders, partners and supporters, including Government departments, State bodies, local authorities, local development companies, private businesses, the global Irish community and the tourism industry. The initiative is also fully supported by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Ireland Reaching Out



The project serves a complex of two towns’ religious and health tourism development in the region’s cultural values, architectural and historical heritage. At the beginning of the programme Nyírbátor and Máriapócs had dozens of impressive monuments but most of them were in very bad condition and did not provide an adequate infrastructure. Attendance of the buildings deteriorated to such an extent that the sites were beginning to lose their religious and tourism attractiveness. Organising large-scale cultural and religious events was impossible, because of the lack of supporting facilities. Nyírbátor has had a thermal spa for decades but due to outdated services, utilisation was well below its potential. Another problem was that tourists could only spend a night or two in the settlements. Senior tourists are a priority group, as they are interested in spas and in cultural monuments and heritage. Objectives: • Restoration and tourism development of the environment of the Cathedral of Máriapócs. • Restoration of the Calvinist Church in Nyírbátor. • Restoration of the Roman Catholic Conventual Church in Nyírbátor. • Developing the training pool and spa in Nyírbátor: providing high quality services, indoor, year-round spa design. In addition to the two new pools there is a sauna, infrasauna, steam bath and salt bath; a special medical department is integrated as well. • The Bathory Castle tourism development: historic interest, the national value of the project is to increase the historical objects with extended exhibitions, interactive tourist information system building. Thanks to the system the visitors can meet with the Báthory family, the history of the castle and its legends. • The development of Nyírbátor Urban History Promenade, situated 450 metres from the connected monuments. Results: • Improved green areas. • Renovated historical monuments. • Increased number of visitors. • Improved rheumatology and musculoskeletal rehabilitation.

Nyírbátor Cultural and Tourism Public Nonprofit Ltd.


Faith and Health (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, Hungary)




ULTREIA Project on Knock Shrine (West Region, Ireland)

Preservation and promotion of wooden churches on the international wooden path (Prešov region, Slovakia)

Fáilte Ireland (the national tourism agency) has proactively developed the West Region’s religious tourism product by devising a strategy to realise the huge potential for the ‘religious heritage tourism market in the West Region’. Estimates on faith and pilgrim tourism reveal a burgeoning market particularly among the older generation or the ‘Grey Market’ as it’s known in Ireland. Knock Shrine is a well-established religious shrine that is easily accessible by road, rail and airports. This combined with a growing interest among many regional tourism businesses to package and sell this religious product, has prompted Failte Ireland to make it a priority tourist attraction. In 2009, they delivered a year-long training programme to over sixty businesses in the region and have developed a process of delivering a new brand for this niche market. Objectives: The general aim of ULTREIA project is the promotion of cultural and religious sustainable tourism by means of two essential cores: • The development of tourism under Local Agenda 21, a process which facilitates sustainable development at community level. • The creation of a network of Atlantic Regions which develops tourism products in a common Atlantic cultural context. Results: Knock Shrine in County Mayo is one of the most important tourism attractions in the West Region and attracts approximately 1.25 million visitors annually, more than half of which are in the 55+ age group. Pilgrimages to Knock Shrine are traditionally held between the beginning of April and the end of October and special facilities are provided for the elderly and all members of retirement groups, e.g. St. Johns Rest and Day Care Centre. The length of stay per visitor is at least one day for devotion and prayer. Ireland’s National Marian Shrine

The initiative comes from the Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Prešov. The idea for this project came from the necessity to preserve the heritage of wooden churches in the Slovak-Polish border region for future generations as well as to promote it on a wider scale. The project was aimed at the restoration of and improvement of the visibility and accessibility of churches via the installation of multilingual audioguides (10 languages) and the dissemination of promotional materials for visitors. The Greek Catholic Archeparchy closely cooperates with the travel agency Byzant who offers special sightseeing tours aimed at exploring sacral wooden architecture in the Prešov region. The tourist products are mostly one-day trips for groups of tourists to wooden churches and other cultural sites such as castles, etc. These products are used primarily among senior groups, foreign tourists and school excursions. Objectives: • Preservation of regional cultural heritage in the border region by improving the technical condition and security of sacral monuments. • Creating better conditions for access to sacral monuments for the international public. • Increasing cultural and historic public awareness of sacral monuments in the Slovakia-Poland border region. • Promotion of sacral monuments in the border region. Results: The main results of the project were the restoration of wooden churches, equipped with audio-guides and anti-theft systems. Promotional materials for visitors have been prepared and in cooperation with the local travel agency a religious tourism product was created to promote the heritage to visitors and tourists. Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Prešov



A route of medieval churches as a heritage touristic attraction: It mainly consists of medieval churches that are under historic building protection and represent the unique character and traditions of the church architecture of this county. The visitors get to gain in-depth knowledge of this unmatched architectural and cultural heritage which is unique in the Carpathian Basin. The aim of the development was to trace out a thematic route of medieval churches in the Hungarian-Romanian-Ukrainian border area, which was the first common thematic route of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Satu Mare counties and Transcarpathia. Since all three of these counties consider their cultural, architectural heritage as an outstanding public value, a common harmonised development programme was implemented for the sake of protection and promotion. The medieval churches are in the centre of the programme since these are unique treasures of the area. Objectives: • Creating competitive attraction: developing the tools that help to give information for tourists, broadening interpretation channels. • To satisfy tourist needs: reacting to rising needs, developing visitor-friendly tools by creating innovative tools. • Boosting walking and cycling tourism along the route: linking new target groups by creating walking and cycling tourism. Boosting this kind of tourism is a strategic aim in the project in the spirit of religion and heritage tourism. Information tables, notation and paths will be created along the route. • Broadening segmentation of visitors. • Increasing the reputation of the church route through effective marketing activities. • Increasing the number of visitors. Results: An up-to-date webpage provides information about the programme. The webpage contains detailed information about 62 churches in the region and packages for different types of tourists like seniors, people with bicycles or hikers. We are working on a pocket mobile application which will be able to guide tourists. We are also working on more 1-3 day tour packages for different target groups.

Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Regional Development and Environmental Management Agency Nonprofit Ltd.


Route of medieval churches (Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, Hungary)




Best Enjoyed Slowly – SPA and Gourmet tourism in the countryside Dikļi Palace (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia)

Tropical Tourism Programme (Granada, Spain)

Dikļi Palace Hotel **** located in a beautiful old manor, is situated around 120 km from the capital city Riga and 20 km from the nearest city, in the village Dikļi. The hotel is also known as one of the best Latvian Restaurants outside Riga. It is famous for the menu, offering dishes made using seasonal and local ingredients. It is possible to enjoy Eco SPA treatments which are offered using local products with a highly responsible attitude and professional knowledge and are targeted at environmental resources and local people. Using these services the enterprise offers a possibility to be in harmony with untouched nature, thoughts and the body itself. Dikļi Palace Hotel has good co-operation with Valmiera Theatre and the local brewery ”Valmiermuižas alus” offering complex services combining culture, local food tasting and accommodation that is highly evaluated among seniors from all of Latvia as well as from abroad. Quality, creativity and flexibility is a key-issue to be leaders in this segment. Objectives: • To establish a hotel-restaurant meeting high quality service and motivating the change in the flow of people towards the countryside. • To offer different kinds of services (musical events, theatre plays, restaurant, Spa, accommodation). To show services provided by hotel are of a high variety and fulfil the needs and expectations of each client. • To cooperate with local inhabitants and entrepreneurs, providing high quality services with added value. Results: Dikļi Palace provides services for different target groups. Around 35% of all Dikļi Palace clients are seniors. TOP quality gourmet food and the Eco SPA are two main motivations to meet the needs of seniors under the Latvian tourism slogan: best enjoyed slowly.

Dikļi Palace

Granada County Council designed the “Tropical Tourism” programme with the objective of promoting the leisure time and autonomy of elderly people. A specific hotel has been chosen: near to the beach, adapted for people with reduced mobility, comfortable, etc. The activity also includes animation shows during the evenings and other activities. This programme has improved the life in the neighbourhood too. The programme is aimed at all elderly people over 65 years old and also to people with reduced mobility. The application has been submitted by the local government (municipality). Maximum group size: 60 members. Towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants have priority. The province government provides funding to cover an important amount of the total cost. These days financing the activity is the main problem because of the current economic situation in the country. To keep this initiative running the government should reach an agreement involving private agents and private funds. Objectives: • To promote the leisure time and autonomy of elderly people. • To contribute to the social and economic development of the area. Results: • This project has created 19 direct jobs / 350,000 € economic impact / 600,000 € indirect costs (transport, etc.). 90 percent of the total amount remains in Almuñecar. • The satisfaction forms filled out by customers show that the main problem is the short duration of stay of only three days.

Granada County Council



Special Health Programmes in the SPECIALIZED HOSPITAL FOR REHABILITATION -NK, Health Centre St.George and Sanatorium for balneology, rehabilitation and prophylactics - Pomorie The aim of the good practice is to give an opportunity for old people with special needs to use the so-called ”clinical path” twice a year, i.e. 7 days’ special treatment in the hospital that is paid partially by the patient, and partially by the state. They receive Full Board and 3 medical treatments a day. The good practice is provided by a group of state owned hospitals and sanatoria all over Bulgaria that are united in the company “Specialized Hospitals for Rehabilitation – National Complex”, National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Health in Bulgaria. Another programme gives the opportunity for employed people with special needs to stay 10 – 15 days a year in the respective sanatoria (providing treatment for specified diseases) or hotels that have contracts with the National Insurance Institute paying just a part of the amount for their stay. They receive full board and 4-5 medical treatments a day. The patients can use the following programmes: • Programmes covered by the National Health Insurance Fund - for people who have paid their compulsory health insurance for more than 36 months; • Programmes covered by the National Social Security Institute; • Programmes for veterans, disabled soldiers, victims; • Programmes for disabled people. Objectives: • To create employment in the area. • To provide health services all the year round using the natural resources of Lake Pomorie. • To create possibilities for economic diversification. Results: The main patients and visitors of the hospital are elderly people. The health programmes are also offered to foreign tourists who spend their holidays in Pomorie and who have property in the area. All year round health services provided in the hospital help to provide employment in the municipality and to reduce the seasonal character of tourism in Pomorie Municipality.

Specialized hospital for rehabilitation - NK


Balneo Tourism in Pomorie (Bourgas region, Bulgaria)




Therapeutic mud baths in Krinides (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece)

Rehabilitation Centre “Līgatne”& Nordic walking in Gauja National Park (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia)

The Krinides mud baths site is located close to the ancient city of Kavala that was founded by the inhabitants of the island of Thassos in 7th century B.C. The Municipal Public Benefit Organisation of Kavala runs the centuries old natural mud baths (in a natural basin) in a modern way. These mud baths have therapeutic properties for chronic rheumatic pains, gynaecological diseases, chronic skin diseases and infections and nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) and are also suitable for cosmetic purposes. All facilities are located in a well-known area of several historical events and monuments, such as the arrival of the Apostle Paul in Europe, the Baptistery of Lydia, the Ancient Theatre of Philippi, as well as of modern initiatives (Dionysus wine route). Objectives: • Provision of services to seniors and other groups of people with chronic diseases. • Diversification of the tourist offer. • All seasons therapeutic tourism. Results: The Krinides mud baths have diachronic and sustainable operation in an excellent environment of high standards, exploiting natural resources for tourism development.

The rehabilitation centre was built for the needs of the political and state authority in the 1980s in one of most beautiful and greenest places in Latvia, in the area of Gauja National Park. Currently it is used for medical treatment and rehabilitation purposes both for local and foreign people. Special rehabilitation programmes for seniors have been established. Nordic walking was included as part of the rehabilitation activities with professional physiological consultancy. For those who receive therapy and rehabilitation services in the “Līgatne” centre – Nordic walking training and stick rental is free of charge. Objectives: • To improve seniors’ health and active life style with rehabilitation activities and Nordic walking. • To use Nordic walking as a method for socialisation between people of different ages and physical abilities. Results: Up to 2000 guests visit the Rehabilitation Centre ”Līgatne” annually and several hundred choose to do Nordic walking, mostly seniors. Seniors who have skills in Nordic Walking, participate in other active tourism activities - e.g. excursions combined with Nordic walking.

Rehabilitation Centre „Ligatne” , Ltd DIMOFELIA Municipal Public Benefit Organization of Kavala

”BeActive”, Ltd www.



The central government and local government are aware of the situation of the elderly people in Spain, so they have designed and promoted different social programmes in order to improve their quality of life using tourism resources according to their needs and preferences, through Imserso. With the objective of facilitating the inclusion of this group of tourist flows, while mitigating the consequences of employment that produce the phenomenon of seasonality in the tourism sector, the government organises social trips through Imserso for elderly people and provides them with lodgings in hotels in the low tourism season at lower prices. Different options are available for elderly people to enjoy a holiday in the period between October and June according to the modality. These are: stays in coastal areas to rest, cultural tours to learn about the history and art of Spain and nature tourism with routes through picturesque landscapes. The Termalism Social programme is one more action of IMSERSO, the Institute for Elderly People and Social Services. Four Health Resorts of Granada province are included in the programme: • Alhama de Granada Health Resort • Graena Health Resort • Lanjaron Health Resort • Villanueva de las Torres Health Resort The programme includes the following services: • Accommodation and full board in shared double rooms. • Basic thermal treatments: medical examinations, the basic thermal treatment that is prescribed by the doctor at the spa, medical follow-up on treatment, collective tourism insurance policy. The programme is aimed at elderly people. The beneficiaries can be the following groups: • Pensioners (retired or disabled). • Widowed or other kinds or cases with the person being at least 60 years old. • Spaniards residing abroad may also benefit from the places, as long as they are receiving a public pension, if they are over the age of 60 and meet the rest of the requirements. The applicant may be accompanied by their spouse or partner, for whom there is no obligation regarding the receipt of a Social Security pension. The duration of the holidays are 12 days maximum. This programme started in 2006. Objectives: • To increase the number of beneficiaries of these therapies. • To improve the quality of life of elderly people. • To develop the economic life of the health resorts and the rural areas in which these health resorts are located. • To promote active ageing. • To reduce seasonality. Results: • IMSERSO Programmes contribute to developing senior tourism, because they are specific actions for this population group. • These actions contribute to mitigating the seasonality of the tourism sector. Institute for Elderly People and Social Services


IMSERSO: Social Programmes to improve the quality life for elderly people in Granada (Granada, Spain)



“Without Barriers” Tourism Association (Pomorskie, Poland) The overall goal of the Association is to promote active living of seniors and disabled persons, especially through tourism. Since its establishment the Association has been systematically monitoring the situation of these communities to diagnose their problems and define their needs. The research showed that one of the effective methods in preventing these problem is to promote active senior living through tourism-related activities. Still, the current tourist offer often ignores the specificity of the needs and limitations of senior tourists, which mainly concerns the problem of mobility. As a result, a pilot concept for the promotion of physical, mental and social engagement of seniors through both active and leisure tourism was created. The concept focuses on the organisation of bus tours and sightseeing walking tours. In both cases equal emphasis is put on the cognitive aspects as well as on activities enhancing the physical fitness of participants. The Association also runs a web portal (Kashubia Without Barriers), which promotes tourist attractions of the Kashubia region with a special emphasis on the aspect of accessibility. In cooperation with the city of Gdynia, the Association developed a special guidebook for tourists entitled “Gdynia For Everyone” which contains several interesting thematic routes supplied with additional practical information on accessibility. Objectives: • Creating a tourist offer for seniors. • Preventing the social exclusion of seniors. • Inspiring seniors to actively explore natural and anthropogenic values as well as the cultural heritage of northern Poland. • Encouraging seniors to become physically, mentally and socially active. • Promoting the concept of tourism without barriers through broadly defined senior engagement. • Providing information about senior clubs and their meeting places, and also about programmes and organisations working for their benefit. • Creating good conditions for maintaining contacts with friends and allowing seniors to form new friendships. • Conducting marketing research on the needs and expectations of seniors to expand future activities of the Association and create new tourist offers. Results: At the end of each tourist season the Association conducts marketing surveys which aim at identifying the current needs and expectations of seniors. The results allow the preparation of a new tourist offer that is interesting for the target group. It concerns both the activities offered (active tourism, leisure tourism or forest tourism) and sightseeing areas to be included in the future tourist offer (Kashubia, Kociewie, Żuławy, etc.). Thanks to these activities, each year there is a growing number of people willing to participate in the programme. The diversification of good practice is also an important success factor, e.g. the introduction of workshops in the tourist offer. Most of the tours organised by the “Without Barriers” Tourist Association are co-financed by local government (subsidies), which limits the number of beneficiaries allowed to participate in the programme. This is a challenge the Association will have to face in the future.

“Without Barriers” Tourism Association

Section II




Las Ventanas, Cave in Piñar (Granada, Spain) These caves have been identified as having been inhabited by humans since the Upper Palaeolithic period. They are declared as a Natural Monument and Property of Cultural Interest. This cave complex has been open for tourism activities since 1999. Facilities for elderly people and people with reduced mobility are available, there are no architectural barriers. For this reason, the monument is a pioneer at the national level. This project is suitable for all people. Most of the monuments of the province have architectonical barriers so people with reduced mobility or associations of elderly people choose this place to spend a day. It is also a place chosen by scholar centres. In the same vein, pathways have been created to facilitate exploring the cave, which furthermore stays at a constant temperature throughout the year, so visits can be made in comfort at any time of the year. In addition to the original idea of making the cave accessible, other offers have been put in place such as: 1. Programme of cultural activities, principally musical, which take full advantage of the cave´s excellent acoustics. 2. Educational Farm: This is an environmental education and rural tourism centre, the main purpose of which is to organise visits to: “Windows cave” for families, groups of friends and formal groups /school, associations...) alike. 3. In addition to a restaurant and accommodation, the establishment offers six workshops where weekly activities are organised for adults and children as a compliment to the cave visit. This cave is an exceptional example of a highly significant cultural space which has been adapted to make it suitable for visits by elderly people. Thanks to this initiative and the additional activities that are organised in and around the cave, visitor numbers have increased considerably, which in turn has had a positive effect on local development through the generation of direct and indirect employment posts, and wealth creation in the municipality. Private partners are not involved in the project. Local government is responsible for the cave and its management. Objectives: • To allow all kinds of people to visit. • To recognise the cultural value of the cave. • To increase the visitors. Results: • Increase the number of visitors from non-adjacent provinces. • Local development through the generation of direct and indirect employment posts.

Cueva de las Ventanas, touristic office




Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme (AFCC) (West Region, Ireland) The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme aims to create communities where all of us can enjoy a good quality of life, continuing to participate fully in the life of those communities as we age. The Programme is based on the WHO Age-Friendly Cities Framework and Guidelines which were developed by 33 cities from across the world and involved major consultation with older people in each of those places. An Age Friendly County Alliance has been formed which oversees the development and implementation of the Strategic Plan. The Alliance is a single over-arching strategic partnership which brings together the statutory, private, voluntary and community sectors to work together to more effectively meet the needs & aspirations of older people in the Cities and Counties in Ireland. Objectives: The objectives of the AFCC programme are to: • Improve the health and wellbeing of older people in the county and increase their participation and influence in the social, economic and cultural life of the community, for everyone’s benefit. • Foster better long-term integrated services and land-use planning through imaginative and cost-effective partnerships of local authorities, health service providers, the police and other key public, private and voluntary organisations to address the changing needs of a rapidly ageing population. • Share the evidence of the benefits to be gained and the lessons to be learned from such an integrated multi-stakeholder initiative. Results: The AFCC programme is currently operational in three out of the four administrative local authority areas in the West Region and has had the effect of implementing the following results: • Improving local transport services in cities, towns and villages to ensure that older people get to where they want to go, when they want to go and this will have a positive impact on rural isolation of older people living in these areas. • Providing further opportunities to socialise in a safe environment and maintain good networks of family, friends and neighbours. • Allowing for a safe and secure county and city in which to live and visit. Consequently, these results have allowed senior tourism to be promoted more effectively across the West Region for domestic and foreign tourists.

Age Friendly Ireland

32 hungary

Accessible Nature Tourism (North Karelia, Finland)

Tamási Ability Thermal Spa (South Transdanubia, Hungary)

The aim of the project was to develop services and operational environments of companies that are specialised in nature tourism in North Karelia and to provide nature experiences for everyone, including senior citizens, people with disabilities and families with children. Furthermore, it aimed to initiate the strategic and persistent development of accessible nature tourism and to create guidelines for evaluating, instructing, and classifying accessible nature tourism environments. Senior citizens were one of the target groups of the project, as the number of elderly people is growing and they need specific services in tourism destinations as well.

Hungary has a unique quality in Europe: thermal water; this is why there are a lot of thermal and medical baths in the country. Among the baths Tamási Thermal Spa is the only spa in Hungary, and even Central-Eastern Europe, which has the infrastructure for helping handicapped and visually or hearing impaired people to be able to experience the services of a bath by themselves. Disabled, blind or visually impaired people cannot go to conventional spas without help. Similarly, elderly people also have difficulties in moving due to their age and illnesses. The Spa was established in 1972, and recently reconstructed to offer ability services. There are different types of pools filled with thermal water such as relaxation pools, adventure pools, swimming pools or children’s pools. There are also different types of saunas. Medical services are also planned to be introduced in the future.



Objectives: • To develop nature tourism services for a wide range of customers. • To assist organisations and entrepreneurs that are providing nature tourism services in the development of accessible environments and services. • To develop evaluation and classification methods for accessible nature resorts and offer guidance on accessibility.

Objectives: • Developing health tourism services. • To allow those who cannot take a thermal bath without help to do it.

Results: Procedures for advancing accessible nature tourism, instructions and recommendations for accessibility, analysis on customer needs including elderly customers and the publication “Accessible nature tourism guide for entrepreneurs” to help enterprises to improve their facilities and services.

Results: In line with the main targets of the TOURAGE project (people over 65 years old) some kinds of movement difficulties often occur; the thermal water of Tamási can actually cure these diseases. Taking traditional spas is difficult for the elderly people. This service is useful because it helps to overcome the obstacles.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences Centre for Innovations for Independent Living ISAK

Tamási Thermal Spa



Sensual Universal Garden (Podkarpackie Region, Poland)

Koli Shuttle Taxi (North Karelia, Finland)

The Educational Garden, also called Sensual Universal Garden (“sensual” here means being experienced with the senses), was established for disabled people. The collected plants here affect human cognitive senses. Some habitats are very diverse, for example the habitat of ericaceous plants. The Garden also has collections of specially assorted plants, for example, as regards tactile sensations, aroma, with interesting textures, variegated leaf-, root-, and fruit-shapes. There is a collection of herbs which, when ground, yield a strong aroma. Along the beds informative boards with enlarged writing and with Braille writing have been installed too. The Garden provides easy access to people in wheelchairs or with lesser physical afflictions, persons with vision defects and people of advanced age.

Koli Shuttle Taxi is a public transport service that operates daily between Koli National Park and the city of Joensuu. Koli National Park is one of the main tourist attractions in the region of North Karelia and is located around 80 kilometres from the region’s largest city, Joensuu. Koli Shuttle Taxi is the only affordable public transport to the fairly remote national park. Small tourist companies find the shuttle service very valuable as it increases the amount of tourists and other visitors in the area. For seniors and other customers, it is an easy, carefree and accessible means of travelling. Koli Shuttle Taxi serves customers individually and transports them to their wanted destination in the Koli area or the city of Joensuu (railway station, airport, market square, central hospital). Koli Shuttle Taxi can be booked and paid through the regional tourism portal that contains information on accommodation and other tourism services in the region. The taxi is now operating through an innovative private-public funding model.



Objectives: • To support the accessibility of a unique offer of the Arboretum for disabled people. • To develop sensitivity to nature. • The Sensual Universal Garden stimulates the cooperation between the Arboretum and both research institutes and NGO’s aimed at providing solutions to problems of the elderly and the disabled. Results: About 35% of all visitors to the Arboretum are disabled people and senior citizens. Since the foundation of the garden the number of visitors has doubled. The management of the Arboretum plans the extension of the sensory garden as well as some projects based on experience drawn from cooperation with groups and associations of people with different disabilities and of advanced age.

Arboretum and Department of Physiography in Bolestraszyce

Objectives: • Provide an affordable transport service to and from Koli National Park. • Enhance the accessibility of Koli National Park. • Support local tourism and entrepreneurship. Results: Koli Shuttle Taxi has increased the accessibility of Koli National Park and has made the area more attractive for tourists. Its existence is important for the tourism enterprises and local people in the Koli area.

Regional Council of North Karelia



Cultural Volunteers Programme of Parque de las Ciencias Sciences Park (Granada, Spain) Parque de las Ciencias is an interactive museum of over 70,000 m2. Located a just a few minutes’ walk from the historic city centre of Granada, it has one of the most varied offers for cultural and scientific leisure in Europe. This activity is part of a National Programme started in 1998, the programme affects cultural equipment of different regions. Elderly people who want to be a cultural guide apply for this at the institution. Then they receive training (2 months): general information about the institution, itineraries for the visit, basic rules for dealing with the public, etc. Each volunteer chooses a day (from Tuesday to Friday); preferably in the morning. The programme is aimed at elderly people. Volunteers are people over 50 years old. They guide groups of the elderly. The central government funds the cost of insurance of each volunteer. This best practice has been chosen because of its innovative character. The Science Park is one of the main tourism resources of the province; elderly people have an important place in the planning centre. Another important reason has been the features of this building, adapted to people with reduced mobility; wheelchairs can be requested at the information point. Guide dogs are admitted. All the itineraries are accessible. This is not usual. The programme has been operational for more than 10 years and the results and the success of it have been checked. The main challenge is to adapt the training course to the circumstance of each person. The volunteers change every year and the programme has to be adapted for them. The institutions that are involved in the programme are: Parque de las Ciencias as the institution. Volunteer group of the park work, European Union, Spanish Confederation of Elderly Centres (CEATE); Central Government, Cultural Department and Social Issues Department (IMSERSO). Objectives: • To adapt the features of this building to people with reduced mobility. • To adapt the training course to the circumstance of each person. • To improve the quality of life of the elderly people of the country. • To use the human potential of the elderly. • To promote active ageing. • To contribute to their experience. Results: • Increase the number of visitors to the museum. • Involvement of the volunteers in the museum life. They usually take part in the exhibitions, conferences and book presentations. • Elderly volunteers encourage elderly people to visit Parque de las Ciencias.

Parque de las Ciencias




Tourism Packages 55+ (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) Tour Operators in Bulgaria (Aero travel, Bohemia and Profitours) have contracts for the implementation of the social programme of the Spanish government to support tourism. This programme is for people above 55 years old (55+) from 20 European countries, incl. Bulgaria to spend one week in the Canary Islands and Valencia in the off-season, i.e. spring and autumn. Younger people may join the trip if they are accompanying a person above 55 years old. The tourism packages for 55+ include flight tickets, 7 days’ FB, one excursion with a guide. The total price is 450 EUR per person. The Spanish government pays between 100 – 150 EUR per person. Objectives: Hotels in sea resorts are not used in the off-season, The Spanish government introduced the social programme packages 55+ in order to support the local tourism sector in the country. Each year the Spanish government makes a tender in order to choose tour operating companies in 20 EU countries that will sell the packages to people above 55 years old. There is a maximum number of people who can benefit from the programme for each country each year. On the other hand elderly people have enough spare time; they want to visit other countries but do not have enough financial resources. The weather in Spain in spring and autumn is very attractive for them. • To diversify the spare time of elderly people in EU countries. • To increase the occupancy rate of seaside hotels in Spain – and create jobs, profit. • Economic and social impact. Results: The GP is specially designed for ageing tourists. The tourists are only people of the age of 55+. They may be accompanied by a younger person if he/she is a relative and stays in the same room with the elder tourist. Other countries (Greece, Italy, Malta, etc.) have introduced the same programme. Bulgaria has introduced the programme 55+ for senior tourists from Austria who stay in the Burgas region in April and May each year with payments from social insurance funds.

Travel agency BOHEMIA Travel agency TEDDY- KAM, Bourgas office


State specific subsidy for retired persons in the Slovak Republic (Prešov region, Slovakia)

Micro-cluster collaboration model (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia)



This activity is directly aimed at seniors and the support of senior tourism in Slovakia. The State subsidy for retired persons in the Slovak Republic is an activity declared by the Ministry of labour, social affairs and family of the Slovak Republic. The activity has a multiplication effect: in accordance with the subsidy programme the hotel company SOREA expanded its offer for seniors and target groups who are not eligible to ask for the subsidy (disabled persons, working persons above 55 years of age...) and offers various discounts via the programmes “Senior fit” and “Senior relax-fit”. The holiday stay offers other services such as wellness, relaxation procedures and further similar products aimed at senior tourism. Objectives: The main idea of the project is to make available and support reconditioning activities for retired persons who often cannot afford a vacation in holiday resorts, because of money restrictions and the high price of accommodation. Results: Every year for 15 years the hotel chain SOREA has provided around 10 000 travel vouchers to seniors, just within the scope of the State specific subsidy. SOREA Hotels provide additional tourism products in peak season and off-season for retired persons, disabled persons, etc. for many specific tourism products.

Hotel company SOREA

The tourism advisory board of Valmiera and its surroundings was established in 2010 to act as a micro-cluster collaboration model to develop tourism. It consists of Valmiera City and three small neighbouring municipalities, which are linked functionally to provide tourism in the area. Tourism specialists, entrepreneurs, service providers in local municipalities as well as research and education institutions cooperate to promote a common destination. The establishment is aimed to be competitive both at a regional and national level, attracting more people and benefiting local economics by knowing target groups to work with, including seniors. The basic statement is to create a high-quality, attractive and recognisable brand of tourism destinations. Joining the network is open and free of charge, it is not tied to a specific territory anymore. The board meets regularly to discuss the further development of the local tourism as well as to share information and cooperate in implementing new projects. Objectives: • Establishment and reinforcement of common destination management and a marketing system with the deep involvement of entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. • Creation of local and foreign markets as recognisable tourist destinations with a quality tourism offer. • Sustainable tourism development - increasing the number of tourists and their length of stay, preserving natural and cultural values. Results: The common tourism strategy was created with the involvement of all stakeholders in the area. Seniors have been recognised as one of the target groups as they travel a lot. Prior research was done to summarise their needs and habits in order to use these data to develop tourism routes and offers interesting and suitable for senior tourists.

Valmiera municipality




Senior tourism packages and senior discounts offered in the town of Harkány (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Harkány is one of the most frequented tourism destinations of the South Transdanubian Region, having an international reputation thanks to its unique thermal and curing waters and therefore being very popular among the 65+ senior tourists. In the surroundings of the town an unspoilt environment, rural-like architecture, good quality local cuisine and wines are found, widening the portfolio of attractions. In Harkány several hotels, restaurants operate to accommodate and serve tourists coming from Hungary and abroad. The tourism offer of the town is managed through local cooperation under an umbrella organisation called Harkány Tourism Management Organisation (TDMO). TDMO operates closely with private touristic entrepreneurs and with public organisations as well. From the latter, the Thermal Spa Harkány and the Medicinal Spa Hospital of Harkány are to be mentioned. The good practice addresses the problem that a significantly low number of senior tourists visit Harkány in the low season. By providing differentiated, targeted packages to seniors at a reduced price including relaxing and curing treatments, considering their special characteristics and accommodation needs, the number of senior tourist visits could be increased in the low season. It has also been coupled with urban development measures to build public fountains, benches and a meeting place for seniors in the town. The challenge is to get seniors to shift their travelling from high to low season, but also to increase their stay and spending in the less frequented tourism period. The cooperation behind this work and the tourism packages offered to seniors are the core elements of this practice. The lesson learnt from this good practice shows that senior tourists are not an age group, but rather a special market niche. Bearing this in mind, TDMO created a new tourism product type with its own senior tourism packages. Objectives: • To provide for a shift from high to low season senior tourist visits. • To contribute to an increase in the stay and spending of senior tourists in the low season period. Results: As a result of the utilisation of senior tourism packages for the benefit of longer low season visits and increased spending, the practice has already shown a modest, but in the longer run, promising results.

Tourism information centre of Harkányi Tourism association



Federation of Social Organisations – FOSa (Warmia-Mazury, Poland) The FOSa Federation of Social Organisations of the Warmia-Mazury region aims at creating complete solutions facilitating a better standard of living of senior communities. Working together with a coalition of more than 100 organisations and partners, including the Warmian-Masurian Regional Government, NGOs, as well as public administration and private companies, the Federation implemented the Regional Programme for Seniors 2009-2013. It also took a leading role in the preparation of the new edition of the Programme for 2014-2020, which included senior tourism as one of its key areas of intervention. The most visible and comprehensive actions of FOSa include, among other things: establishment of the office of a Regional Ombudsman for Seniors, establishment of the Warmian-Masurian Network for Seniors, organisation of Regional Meetings of Senior Communities, organisation of the School of Social Organisers working in senior communities, establishment of the Warmian-Masurian Academy of the Third Age. FOSa develops and promotes senior tourism through the Generation periodical, international voluntary work and study visits for seniors. Since 2013 FOSa has been actively engaged in a new initiative promoting senior tourism entitled Silver Sharing which, through a series of exchanges between hosting and visiting senior organisations, combines social tourism with education and the self-improvement of seniors. Objectives: • Providing seniors with broader access to information. • Supporting seniors in solving their problems by mobilisation, integration and education of the senior community in the Warmian-Masurian region. • Exchange of experiences regarding active living and social activity. • Social and cultural mobilisation of seniors. • Promotion of showcase experiences and solutions on senior activeness and a better standard of living. • Developing durable cooperation with and for the senior community. Results: Thanks to its many actions and the project, the FOSa Federation succeeded in highlighting the problems of senior communities in the region of Warmia-Mazury. FOSa continues to work in many fields for the development of better policies benefiting seniors and other social groups with special needs. Concerning senior tourism, FOSa has developed a very innovative project promoting the cooperation of senior organisations in the area of tourism. The Silver Sharing initiative is intended not only as an attractive form of tourism; it will also allow seniors to become more active, socially engaged and knowledgeable.

Federation of Social Organisations of Warmia-Mazury Region



TDM activities of Hajdúszoboszló (Hajdú-Bihar County, Hungary)

Mazsalaca Senior Initiative (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia)

Hajdúszoboszló is the most well-known bath-city of the Hungarian Great Plain (Hajdúszoboszló is the 3rd most visited spa in Hungary, the average number of spa visitors annually is more than 1 million, one third of them are foreigners). Its main attraction is the bathing complex with its famous spa, open-air bath, Aquapark and Aqua-Palace. The conditions for active and passive recreation are available in Hajdúszoboszló thanks to the features and services of the city. The catering units, hotels and the city of Hajdúszoboszló offer a wide variety of programmes in addition to bathing. The well maintained and landscaped resort city is perfectly suitable for the recreation of families and those who wish to recuperate and refresh themselves. The complex service provision for elderly people visiting Hajdúszoboszló Spa is the most important activity of Hajdúszoboszló TDM. In offering services for other age groups as well, one of the main target groups of the TDM is to serve domestic and foreign senior tourists.

Mazsalaca is one of the small towns having lost great numbers of population due to emigration and the limited local labour market. Therefore the older generation comprises a great proportion of the local population. The senior organisation “Atbalss” was established in 2010 and it is one of the best and most well recognised senior organisations in the region, being a very good example for others. The organisation is aimed at promoting an active lifestyle by doing lots of physical activities, continuing to socialise with other seniors and exchanging experiences through travelling. Cooperation with the local municipality is very strong and it helps to organise common activities with other seniors organisations at a local, regional and international level.



Objectives: • Thermal water utilisation for tourism purposes. • Offering medical services for seniors. • Complete service provision for tourists. • Provide information on tourism services Hajdúszoboszló. Results: • Successfully operating TDM organisation. • High number of senior visitors.

Hajdúszoboszlói Turisztikai Nonprofit Kft. (Hajdúszoboszló TDM Office)


Objectives: • To promote socialisation and communication between local seniors. • To create links between different groups of society, minimising the gap between generations and strengthening cooperation with similar establishments both at a regional and international level. • To participate in actively building up the local community, participating in a wide range of events and offering own ideas. • To represent the needs of seniors in local municipalities getting support and engaging in new projects. Results: Improvement of senior participation in lots of local events; stressing healthy and active ageing; new skills and knowledge of seniors, e.g. computer skills, using internet browsers to search for information, handicrafts. Travelling and exchanging experience, developing a network of senior organisations locally and across the border. With strong guidance and offering creative ideas, an important player cooperating with the local municipality and other organisations implementing successful projects.

Senior organization „Atbalss”



Mecsek Ökocsali (South Transdanubia, Hungary) Mecsek Ökocsali’s good practice offers special tourism and leisure programmes for seniors in the rural areas of the Mecsek hills. Vörösdombi Guesthouse is an Ökocsali location in a village called Cserkút, with the settlement being part of the conurbation of the South Transdanubian regional capital city of Pécs. Mecsek Ökocsali could be translated into English as an appetiser, whetting the appetite for ecotourism in the Mecsek hills. The idea behind the practice is to target seniors, middle aged, young people and children, the main target group being 65+ men and women showing an interest in rural/village ecotourism and socialising with others their age as a part of this. Mecsek Ökocsali offers services of active leisure in eco-tourism which enables families with seniors to leave the older people at the guesthouse where the hosts take care of them, involving the older people in traditional rural activities while the family is away from them. Also, seniors can spend time at the guesthouse with the grandchildren, where they may play the almost forgotten games of old times, or learn together with their grandchildren about plants, trees in the forest, traditional rural raw-material production, food processing and making. The common element of Mecsek Ökocsali services is ecotourism in a rural environment with senior involvement. The range of services implies rubbing shoulders with the village people; baking, cooking, learning traditional recipes (soups, jams, the use of different grasses and herbs); storytelling, learning from each other; hiking, walking, “forest tasting”; driving in jeeps, treasure hunting, geo-catching. In a wider context, Mecsek Ökocsali is a truly bottom-up initiative, building on the offers of various guesthouses, accommodation at different service providers in Cserkút, who cultivate the historical ethno, cuisine and leisure activities of the rural area targeted by this good practice. Last but not least, seniors can be not only tourists, but also offer the above mentioned eco-tourism services as guesthouse owners or senior entrepreneurs. Objectives: • To increase the number of seniors in ecotourism, both as tourists and as service provider entrepreneurs. • To promote rural values in an ecotourism context, in the geographical proximity of the regional central city or settlement. Results: As a result of the operation of Mecsek Ökocsali, the number of seniors actively participating in rural and ecotourism has increased and this special niche of tourism has been strengthened in South Transdanubia.

Mecsek Ökocsali



Senior initiative - international Exchange voluntary work (Vidzeme Planning Region, Latvia)

Pensioners’ Clubs (Bourgas region, Bulgaria)



The exchange programme of international voluntary work for seniors is based on a project activity called “International work” and was implemented from December 2010 till December 2012. Gulbene region seniors from Latvia and Cornwall seniors from England participated. The project was supported by Gulbene Municipality and “Point Europe” England. The target group of these activities are seniors (aged 55+) as well as youth who help to communicate better with English. Seniors did voluntary work in the grounds of a cemetery. Objectives: • Socialisation, a possibility to improve foreign language skills, physical activities together with voluntary work. • To develop awareness of active ageing and the importance of socialisation while interacting with society. • To involve the municipality, senior organisations and other activists in the process of learning new skills and organising voluntary work. Results: This good practice is a good example of cooperation joining both seniors locally and internationally, offering a variety of experiences during the project and the possibility for long-term relationships in the future. The valuation of the project has been very positive from the organisers, participants and municipalities involved. Success factors are socialisation and inter– generational communication.

Gulbene district Senior organization

Pensioners’ Clubs started to be implemented in Bulgaria in the middle of the 20th century. The activities of Pensioners’ Clubs are funded by the budget of each municipality. Each year the Municipal Council approves and votes the annual budget for their activities. Retired people have plenty of spare time. Some of them are alone. They want to communicate with people their age, be involved in social, cultural and sports events. In order to coordinate their activities each housing area can establish Pensioners‘ Club. Usually the municipality or state provides the club with premises. The equipment of the club is usually donated. There is a small coffee shop that is managed by a member of the club. It sells coffee, tea, soft drinks, beer, etc. to those people who visit the club. Every month people from the club organise different events – folk evenings, excursions, meetings, lectures, etc. Members of Pensioners’ clubs travel in order to meet people from other clubs in other towns either in Bulgaria or in nearby countries. Objectives: • To keep retired people busy and involved in group initiatives. • Communication among people of the same age. • Travel to different areas – knowledge and experience. • To provide social and health care services for retired people in each municipality. Results: The Pensioners’ Clubs provide social, cultural, sport, educational, tourism and health care services for retired people from the area, partly funded by the municipality. Over 10 000 retired people in the Burgas region are involved in activities all the year round.

Burgas District



Council оf veterans from the Petro–Chemical Refinary (Bourgas Region, Bulgaria) The aim of the initiative was to create an organisation of retired people from the biggest company in the Burgas region “LUKOIL NEFTOCHIM BOURGAS”. This was done by a group of veterans from the petrochemical plant and with the assistance of the Management Board of the company “LUKOIL NEFTOCHIM BOURGAS”. The organisation was called the Council of the veterans–petrochemists and was established in May 2003. The Council of the veterans-petrochemists is a voluntary, free and self-governing association that carries out activities in favour of its members - veterans-petrochemists. One of the priorities of the company in the social policy is care for petrochemist pensioners. The organisation is unique in the country with regard to its conception, with regard to the Company attitude to its former workers and its strength – 4251 members. Objectives: • To provide social and health care for veterans – the most important activity of the Council. • To organise tourism activities for its members - The Council organises dedications to historical dates and events, production holidays, jubilees and cultural activities, excursions to different places in Bulgaria and abroad for its members. • All veterans have the right to visit once a year for 14 days and use all kinds of rehabilitation procedures and to receive 150 levs / approximately 76.70 euros from the budget of the Council as a subsidy when they go for rehabilitation procedures. • To make a transfer of know-how between generations – regular meetings of the Council of veterans and the Council of young specialists and Management Board of “LUKOIL”. It is a tradition to organise “Generation meetings” between the Council of veterans-petrochemists and the Council of young specialists. Results: The Соuncil оf veterans provides social, cultural, sport, educational, tourism and health care services for retired people from the company, partly funded by the company “LUKOIL NEFTOCHIM BOURGAS”. The organisation actively participates in the social life of the town. The company provides funding on an annual basis for the implementation of the programme of activities of the Соuncil оf veterans.

Lukoil Neftohim Burgas



Women’s Cooperative of Kokkinogeia (Region of East Macedonia and Thrace, Greece)

Old Travellers Club (Podkarpackie Region, Poland)



The Cooperative was established in a rural area of the Regional Unit of Drama in 1997, by 21 women - first generation refugees from Pontos (Asia Minor). These women transferred and conserved the knowledge and skills of their ancestors’ recipes from the East. When they first started, they only bought some pieces of equipment, but as they progressed they managed to buy more through European Community funding and house their own facilities. Gradually, they developed unique and diverse food products, which were distributed beyond the local market. Today, the Cooperative is a highly profitable activity that meets many imitators. Its establishment is next to the cave of Aggitis, providing a further attraction to senior tourists. Objectives: • Development of rural tourism. • Promotion of quality products. • Self-employment of women. • Development of an extrovert social economy enterprise. Results: The Women’s Cooperative produces foods with traditional recipes originating from the East and not produced by any other enterprise. Its operation provides working opportunities for women and diversifies the local economy both for food production and rural tourism.

Women Cooperative of Kokkinogeia

The main objective for the Old Travellers Club is an offer dedicated to elderly people who require a special approach and expect proposals regarding all the restrictions caused by their advanced age. The strong educational component allows them to keep mentally active. The Club helps to build new interpersonal ties in the elderly group of local society. The aim of the activities is the intellectual improvement of the participants, mainly retired people (over 65). Members of the Club are often experienced members of the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society (PTTK) – the Club is part of the structure of PTTK Rzeszów branch. Objectives: • Activation of senior citizens. • To help enrich the knowledge of the region. • To support the development of interpersonal skills. Results: The Old Travellers Club meets once a week. Lectures, presentations and workshops are organised. 14-15 times a year travels are organised for the participants, which include sightseeing and strong educational elements.

Old Travellers Club



Active Retirement Ireland (West Region, Ireland) Active Retirement Ireland (ARI) is a national network of over 500 local Active Retirement Associations with over 23,000 members. ARI combats ageism through the reality and everyday work of the self-organised local associations and the regional councils. ARI has a large voluntary base with local, regional and national voluntary committees. ARI ‘s principle aim is to help retired men and women, usually over the age of 50, to lead a full, happy and healthy retirement by offering organised opportunities for a wide range of activities including holidays, outings and socials, creative and learning programmes, indoor and outdoor sports and community work. The ARI was founded in 1978 and continues to grow year-on-year. There are currently 74 Active Retirement Associations in the West Region of Ireland. Objectives: • To encourage retired men and women to maintain their independence and to participate through the active retirement movement by social contacts and self-help activities of a cultural, educational and sporting nature aimed at enhancing their quality of life. • To promote a more positive attitude towards ageing and the retirement process. • To enable retired people to enjoy a full and active life and advocate for them. • To be a recognised voice for retired people on social, health, learning and economic issues in collaboration with other organisations. Results: Active Retirement Ireland has succeeded in improving the quality of life and further maintaining independence for its members by regularly organising trips to domestic and international locations. These trips include partaking in activities relating to local history, culture, archaeology, art, etc. The local AR groups have become more selfsufficient by booking trips independently and researching locations that would be suitable to visit for older adults. Also, the AR members are more aware of discounts and/or incentives that are available to older adults when they travel domestically and abroad, e.g. accommodation, food and day excursions.

Active Retirement Ireland


JOINT Policy recommendations

46 Joint Policy Recommendations

for developing senior tourism in remote regions 1. TARGETING SENIORS IN TOURISM

• Increasing the knowledge on possibilities of senior tourism among public and private sector such as national and regional tourism organizations, ministries, regional authorities and municipalities, journalists, active seniors groups and individuals. Campaigns for the possibilities of senior tourism for the regional economy and senior wellbeing. • Enhancing knowledge and know-how (capacity building) of tourism service providers and entrepreneurs on how to work with senior groups and customers. • Acknowledging different senior groups in Europe for example healthy and wealthy seniors, seniors who need financial support, seniors who prefer group travel, travelling in smaller groups or individually and those who have health problems.


• Improving cooperation between senior organizations within Europe for example establishing senior exchange programmes and drawing up partnership agreements between senior citizen organizations for exchange visits. • Utilising existing voluntary networks (senior clubs, association of seniors) for creating affordable and comprehensive tourist offers. • Developing a Quality Senior Tourism Charter. • Promoting entrepreneurial partnerships focusing on creation of integrated senior friendly tourist services, involving representatives of senior communities in the process of drafting such services and offers. • Mobilization of public-private initiatives.


• Product development should take into account senior needs and interest. Seniors should be involved in the product development process for example as test groups. • Involving wide range of actors from senior organizations to tourism service providers to develop diverse supply and targeted marketing. • Adaptation of the existing tourist infrastructure and products to the needs and interests of seniors, tailoring tourism offer to all generations developing intergenerational and inclusive offer such as intergenerational shared sites. Creating senior friendly products based on the existing offer. • Thematic product development based on the demand for example health, nature and active tourism, religion, gastronomy, culture and history. Development of products and offers for low and off-season as well as for silent days in high season in order to reduce seasonality and stimulate economic growth and jobs in the regions. • Providing affordable tourist products for seniors with average or below- average income.

• Direct marketing for seniors and senior organizations. • Organising European, national,regional and local events promoting active lifestyle among seniors. Special offers by tour-operators and travel agencies for seniors. • Easy access to information.


• Visa freedom to develop cross border tourism products and to increase senior tourism flows. • Transportation and accessibility of tourism infrastructure and products tailored to the needs of seniors with disabilities.


• EU funds: European Structural and Investment Funds (especially European Territorial Cooperation), Rural Development Fund, COSME etc. • International funds: Visegrad Fund, Open Society Institute etc. • Private funds and private sector: FDI, local private investors. • Health and social insurance funds.

JOINT Policy recommendations



In the context of the INTERREG IVC programme, a good practice is defined as an initiative (e.g. methodologies, projects, processes, techniques) undertaken in one of the programmes thematic priorities which has already proved successful and which has the potential to be transferred to a different geographic area. Proved successful is where the good practice has already provided tangible and measurable results in achieving a specific objective.

“Photo credits: front cover (STOCK.XCHNG), Iida Heinonen (p. 8/Sports and wellbeing holidays for seniors), Eija Hiltunen (p. 9/Fond of the Forest), Keijo Penttinen (p. 32/Accessible Nature Tourism), Mika Määttänen (p. 33/Koli Shuttle Taxi), Iida Heinonen (back cover photo).


PROJECT PARTNERSHIP Regional Council of North Karelia, FINLAND Lead Partner Web:

Association of Polish Communes of Euroregion Baltic, POLAND Web:

Vidzeme Planning Region, LATVIA Web:

Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County Regional Development and Environmental Management Agency, HUNGARY Web:

Lake Balaton Development Coordination Agency, HUNGARY Web:

Region of East Macedonia & Thrace, GREECE Web:

Regional Development Agency of the Prešov Self-Governing Region, SLOVAKIA Web:

Bourgas Regional Tourist Association, BULGARIA Web:

Podkarpackie Region, POLAND Web:

West Regional Authority, IRELAND Web:

County Council of Granada, SPAIN Web:

Tourage - Good practice brochure  
Tourage - Good practice brochure