International Conference ″REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILD AND YOUTH EDUCATIONAL TOURISM“

conferenceThe regional project for the development of child and youth tourism, realized within the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative presented in Belgrade, organized the international conference named “Regional Cooperation in the Development of Child and Youth Educational Tourism ″from 20 to22 February 2013, in the conference hall of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia..

This three-day conference gathered the experts in the domain of tourism, education and economy and the representatives of the non-governmental institutions, and identified the current trends and flows in the field of child and youth educational tourism. The Conference was attended by some 150 participants and guests.

At the Conference, the speakers presented the experiences and examples of good practice in four countries as far as this tourist product is concerned, they exchanged knowledge and information and defined recommendations for the improvement of the existing and development of new models of cooperation and further activities on establishing transnational tourist routes in the domain of child and youth educational tourism.

The Conference participants agreed that tourism is one of the key drivers for diminishing the regional differences, which supports the diversification of rural economy, i.e. implementation of the modalities of inter-sectorial cooperation, networking of all key stakeholders on the geographic area concerned, creation of thematic units.

The conference program is implemented by the following programs:

15:00 Child and youth tourism, including school tourism, Danijela Vicentijevic, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Serbia

15:20 Farm school (Fattorie didattiche) concept and system, Italy, Elena Schiavon, Veneto Region, Italy

15:40 CŠOD (Centres of School-in-Nature Activities) and school in nature in Slovene school system, Irena Kokalj, CŠOD, Slovenia

16:30 Policy measures in child and youth tourism sector, Goran Beus Richembergh, Croatian National Parliament, National Committee for Tourism, Croatia

16:50 Education tourism: an opportunity for to confirm identity and support development in rural areas, Daniele Toniolo, Bassa Padovana GAL (Local Action Group), Italy

17:10 Child and youth tourism in the Danube region, Danko Ćosić, DCC (Danube Competence Centre), Serbia

The speakers provided a broad and detailed insight into the legislative frameworks for the development of educational tourism in their respective countries and the current standards and models, and informed the present about the measures that had been taken or were planned to be taken to this end.

At the end of the first day of the Conference, the organizers presented for the first time a promotional, special-purpose movie titled ″REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILD AND YOUTH EDUCATIONAL TOURISM“, which is available at portal   www.obrazovniturizam.rs

arrowOTThuersday, 21st February 2013
Second day of the conferencefocus wasplaced onexchange of experiences and presentation of the best practices.Developed modelswerepresented by:

10:00 Il Filo d’Erba Farm School, Maria Della Francesca, Italy

10:20 Education for sustainable living through child and youth tourism in the Alps: Solčavsko-Logarska Valley, Marko Slapnik, Rinka Centre, Slovenia

10:40 Child and youth tourism in Croatia, experiences from rural areas, Jurica Glavina, Eklata Tourism Agency, Croatia

11:30 Educational tourism for children and youth in Slovenia, creating new offer through linking best practices, Kompas Novo Mesto, Matjaz Pavlin, Slovenia

11:55 Tourism attraction basis and rural tourism offer as a motivation for young visitors, Dijana Katica, Croatian Farmer Eco Ethno Group, Croatia

12:15 Establishing a child and youth educational tourism system in Serbia, Educational Tourism Cluster, Serbia, Gorica Stanojević, Čačak Regional Centre for Professional Development of Teachers, and Marijana Negovanović Obradović, Ljig Sava Kerković Elementary School – cluster members of Educational Tourism Cluster Serbia, Serbia

3:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m.

In the panel discussion moderated by Branislav Miletić from Horwath Consulting and the members of the project team, wherein the speakers and guests of the Conference took part, the following conclusions and recommendations for further activities were given:

It was concluded that the countries involved in the project are in rather different stages of development as far as educational tourism is concerned:

• Serbia has been facing great challenges with respect to the lack of / unfavorable regulatory framework. The gap between the actual state and potential performances of the child and youth educational tourism as a product, in the context of the current regulations, can be overcome only with the understanding and efforts not only of national institutions, but all actors in this field. The concept and frame of development must be defined on an adequate level– through the line ministries of the Serbian Government. Such concept of development would have to define clear principles and the method of external evaluation (a kind of program accreditation), and precise instructions for the development of this type of tourist offer;

• Slovenia went through a five-year process facing the challenge of how to define an adequate framework for the development of the child and youth tourism with educational component. The initiative requesting that child and youth educational tourism be adequately regulated (by the Law) was actively supported by the cluster composed of the service providers, faculties, the Institute for Promotion of Education, etc. As a result of this action, in 2000, the realization of the outdoor school concept was defined through setting a network of the educational centers;

• The experiences from Italy point to the fact that innovation in defining and offering the programs in child and youth educational tourism is certainly getting ahead of regulations, which are still lagging behind practice. In Italy, there is an extremely important link between the programs offered in the child and youth educational tourism in rural areas and the agricultural producers themselves, i.e. agricultural economies and households. As far as financing is concerned, the majority of such programs are implemented with rather limited financial support, mostly relying on own resources.

• Apart from great potential and dedication to tourism development, youth tourism still mostly comes down to youth hostel tourism forms because of the existence of the dominant product – sun and sea. There are specialized agencies and tour operators dealing exclusively in child and youth tourism, which implies that that a critical mass of demand, which enables a sustainable business model for innovative programs and accommodation capacities for this market segment, has been reached.

At the end of the conference and the panel discussion, the following recommendations were formulated:

• To clearly define and profile an initiative for the child and youth tourism, best through a network of service providers and other stakeholders;

• To accede to membership in the European and world networks that support the development of child and youth educational tourism;

• To clearly define the model of public–private partnership in creating a very specific product, such as child and youth educational tourism;

• To exchange experiences between the countries involved in the project. One of the options is to create a regional “super cluster” which would be tasked with enabling the exchange of knowledge and experiences of the members and providing support in eliminating the barriers in implementing the development concept. The initial cooperation can be established in the domain of youth tourism through creating exchange programs;

• In the forthcoming period, it is necessary to prepare a SWOT analysis and clearly define the needs for development programs in the member countries / by implementing the experience exchange programs;

• In the program period from 2014 to 2020, account should be taken of the following aspects of the project development, as well based on the bottom-up approach which is, in any case, of key importance:

1. Clearly define the issue related to project co-financing;

2. Elaborate the aspects of sustainability of the initiatives / projects;

3. Consider the possibility of cooperation within the existing programs and instruments of the EU;

4. Define possibilities for the development of a joint product and promotion;

arrowOTFriday, 22nd February 2013
11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Within the 35th International Tourism Fair held at the Belgrade Fair, the Stool of the Tourism Organization of Serbia, an interactive presentation of the tourist product intended for the children and the young was staged by means of demonstration of some of the activities on the selected examples of good practice in Serbia intended for the children and youth.

The presentation involved the representatives of the Educational Tourism of Serbia Cluster, 20 children from the Belgrade primary schools and their teachers, and it was attended by the conference participants from the region, representatives of the associations of parents, employees in education and other non-governmental organization operating in Serbia. Also, the visitors of the Fair had the opportunity to participate in the workshops.

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About the project

The purpose of the regional project for the development of sustainable child and youth tourism in the Region includes the interconnection of four countries (Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia) in the area of child and youth tourism, exchange of knowledge and practices among the partners and service providers selected by the partners, and compilation of the data necessary for a publication that will be issued and used as a guidebook and information resource in these four countries.

The project includes organizing the international conference which is aimed at both promoting this topic and exchanging the knowledge and information, designing a publication about child and youth educational tourism and organizing a press conferences, all with the purpose of raising awareness of the project activities and the expected results, and promoting the concept of transnational cooperation in the sphere of child and youth educational tourism.

This kind of tourism offer will make it possible for the children and youth to expand their knowledge, develop personal skills, particularly social and cultural skills, acquire and broaden their experience, establish contacts with peers, and thus greatly contribute to the economic development of the visited destinations

The lead partner of the regional project for the development of child and youth educational tourism is the National Tourism Organization of Serbia with the partners “HF Eko Etno Grupa” of Croatia, “Kompas Novo Mesto“ of Slovenia, “GAL Bassa-Padovana“ of Italy, the Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

The project associate partners are “Prijatelji dece Srbije”, the Educational Tourism of Serbia Cluster, the Danube Competence Center, and the donors of the project are the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and BMZ.

Implementation other project started in January of this year, and the project will last for 10 months.

For more information and photos, please see www.obrazovniturizam.rs

 

 

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Lead organization:

- National Tourism Organisation of Serbia 

in partnership with:

- “HF Eko Etno Grupa”, Croatia

 “Kompas Novo Mesto”, Slovenia

 “GAL Bassa-Padovana”, Italy

 Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Serbia 

 Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the 

Republic of Serbia

Associated partners:

 “Prijatelji dece Srbije”, Serbia

 Cluster of Educational Tourism, Serbia

 Danube Competence Center

Donators:

 Adriatic-Ionian Initiative

 BMZ – German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

FACT SHEET-sustainable child and_youth tourism