Last week, from 4th to 6th July 2018 project partners attended the Kick-off event in Lienz, Austria.
The Amazon of Europe Bike Trail will be established as a flagship tourism product in the planned Amazon of Europe Transboundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which will combine thirteen protected areas along the Mura-Drava-Danube region in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. All the cooperating countries will jointly manage the shared river ecosystem in a sustainable manner, while boosting economic growth and development in the region through establishment of an internationally recognised and sustainable cycling tourism product.
Group photo of representatives of project partners on the terrace with the best view in Nußdorf
The meeting was launched on 4th July with presentations on project background and aims, followed by discussions and workshops on developing an actual, bookable cycling tourism product by the end of the project. In the afternoon, we focused on nature-oriented trail development, nature valorisation in tourism and first-hand experience from existing bike trails.
Getting to know each other by sticking our cycling photos on the map of the planed Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Mura Drava Danube
On 5th July, the focus was put on the project itself, its timeline and work plan, as well as accompanying presentation and discussion on external communication of the project. Our project officer Gusztav Csomor also visited us and spoke about the expectations for the project from the Interreg Danube programme. After all the presentations and discussions, we concluded the meeting with a plan for the first phase of the project for all the partners – before stepping onto a bus that drove us to the first part of our Study visit, the Trail Angels booking center in Obervellach. After a short presentation of the company and their tourism products, we embarked on a guided, rainy hike to Danielsberg, where we dined and met the owners of the Herkuleshof lodge, one of the most successful examples of good practice of accommodation for biking and hiking visitors on the Alpe-Adria Trail.
Time flies when you are having a good time; all of a sudden it was 6th July, the last day of the meeting and the second day of the study visit. We woke up really early, to catch the train to Innichen (Italy) and check out the biggest bike rental company in Europe – and of course, rent our bikes! The athletes of the group chose mountain bikes, while the rest of us amateurs chose e-bikes, to transfer our efforts into enjoying the scenery while riding effortlessly. Despite the weather forecast, the weather this time turned out alright and the 44 kilometres-long excursion on the Drava Bike Trail turned out to be an amazing experience.
We are thrilled that project partners are all very excited to officially start working on the project. The motivation and optimism was felt throughout the meetings, as well as during the physical activities, despite the not-so-perfect weather conditions. With this kind of attitude we have successfully kicked off the project and cannot wait to begin!
Project partners exploring the Drava Bike Trail