1st project Inter-regional meeting in Argalasti
The inaugural meeting of CHARTS project was held in Argalasti, South Pelion, Greece on 22-23 March 2012, as the 1st meeting of the Steering Committee.
The Mayor of South Pelion, Mr.Nikolaos Fortounas welcomed the project partners and presented the cultural and heritage assets of South Pelion. Introduction of participants, project partners` representatives, followed.
The Project Coordinator, M.Vougioukas presented the overall CHARTS project background, aims, activities, expected outputs and results.
The 3 previous EU co-funded projects that formed the basis of CHARTS project development were then presented viz:
- the ECTN INTERREG IIIC Project and lessons learned were presented by Nigel Adams (formerly Welsh Government Officer)
- the CHIRON INTERREG IIIB Project results were presented by Mr.Dimitris Apostolou, Social and Cultural Council (EKPOL) of Magnesia Prefecture (of Thessalia Region since January 2011)
- the CultMark INTERREG IIIC Project outputs were presented by Dr.Nikolos Bogiazides, University of Thessaly, Department of Planning and Regional Development
Each project partner presented its organisation, including the cultural assets and tourism in its area. The presentations by the project partners showed that great and impressive cultural and heritage assets exist in the partner regions which need to be developed and promoted for cultural and sustainable tourism.
The following Good Practices, included in original Application Form, were presented in outline by the responsible partners (shown in brackets):
- Cultural tourism destinations and climate change/Risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation, inc. 'Greening' of visitor experience (CADW, Wales Government, UK)
- Improving intellectual and physical accessibility to the heritage (Midland Region, IE)
- Building effective partnerships at the destination level between cultural and tourism sectors (USERLA, BG)
- Engaging with host communities, fostering civic pride, awareness and welcome and developing a resource within the community, also in the frame of 'Responsible Tourism' (NIRDT, RO)
- Development of quality criteria for cultural and heritage tourism destinations to measure performance in terms of tourism sustainability (Vastra Gotaland Region, SE) – not done
- Enhanced Information to Visitors, through Visitor Info Centres, InfoKiosks, including ICT applications, DVDs, Multimedia, New Media Tools, VR, 3D animation, Social networking, etc (Vidzeme Tourism Association, LV)
- Place Marketing Strategies based on Cultural Heritage and Local Distinctiveness/Identity (Pafos Regional Board of Tourism, CY)
- Cultural Routes – according to CoE/EICR good practices and EC initiatives (Mallorca Council / Ibertur – University of Barcelona, ES)
Additional Good practice topics (4 No.) were proposed as follows:
9. Railway Heritage Preservation and Promotion for cultural tourism (South Pelion)
10. Traditional Skills (Nigel Adams, Welsh Government)
11. Mobilising Volunteers (Nigel Adams, Welsh Government)
12. Cycling in cultural tourism destinations for sustainable mobility of visitors (VTA).
NB: Topic No 11 was changed after the meeting to: ‘Promotion of Local Products and Gastronomy’
By the end of the project, 8 Good Practices should be transferred between partners out of the 12 above (not necessarily the 8 originally identified).
A press conference was held by the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of South Pelion, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the Union of Regional Authorities of Greece, Mr Apostolos Papatolias.
Tours of South Pelion
The Lead Partner organised two tours of South Pelion:
On 22 March 2012, Thursday evening to Milies village (cultural capital of the Municipality of South Pelion), with guided visits to the historic library, local museum, 16th century church and display of folk dancing, followed by traditional local dinner of Mount Pelion at the Municipal restaurant.
On 23 March 2012, Friday afternoon and evening to Trikeri village, with cultural visits to the old community centre, historic cathedral church, tower mansion (the last habitable tower mansion in Greece), followed by display of traditional dances and seafood dinner at the port of Agia Kyriaki.