The Bakony-Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark in Hungary had the chance to welcome the Danube GeoTour project partners from 8 countries. The subtitle shows the goal and the challenge which the partners have been facing over the last three years: »Valorisation of geo-heritage for sustainable and innovative tourism development of Danube Geoparks« The project is co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA).
During the press conference of the final event the partners showed their achievements and outputs during the last three years. After the welcome greetings of Mister Puskás Zoltán (director of the Bakony-Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark), the Lead Partner from Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark (Slovenia) had the chance to present the overall project and their achievements. They thanked every project partner and also the associated strategic partners for their work and cooperation. The audience heard also a big acknowledgement from the European Geoparks Network Coordinator Kristin Ranges from GeaNorvegica UNESCO Global Geopark. She stated that the Danube GeoTour is a best practice example for cooperation and networking between European Geoparks. The outputs are very interesting and useful for the European and even Global Geoparks Network.
The development of the various GeoInterpretation sites and GeoProducts in each partner Geopark have been the main tasks within the project. The partner Geoparks from Papuk (Croatia), Styrian Eisenwurzen (Austria), Iron Mountains (Czech Republic), Karawanken/Karavanke (Austria/Slovenia), Hateg (Romania), Djerdap (Serbia) and Bakony-Balaton itself presented their topics. New visitor centres in Hungary or Slovenia, new thematic trails, GeoBiking, GeoRafting or GeoWine or just a few innovative outcomes of the Danbue GeoTour. Martina Stupar from the Institute of Nature Conservation in Slovenia highlighted the research and importance of natural and geological protection within Geoparks. The conference showed also the Danube GeoTour promotional campaign including an interactive webpage, a high-quality image film and image brochure. The project team just would add many thanks to the organizers from Bakony-Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark including all their involved helpers and partners.
The main project result was a joint Danube GeoTour designed to strengthen cooperation between the Geoparks regions and act as an innovative tourism product to accelerate visibility and tourist visits in the geoparks. Sharing experiences, testing pilot Geotourism products and new interpretative approaches should increase local inhabitants' engagement, Geopark management capacities and lower the quality gap between Danube and other EU Geoparks. Future collaboration and projects between the Danube Geoparks are foreseen. The project team expresses again many thanks to the lead partner Idrija UGGp for their work and the good cooperation between every partner and every involved stakeholder.
Copyright Pictures Barnabás Korbély