The project Vital Rural Area (INTERREG IVB, North Sea Region) focuses on new strategies, models, and “tools” for rural area, having Work Packages on innovation of SMEs, regional branding and (new) services. The project therefore goes beyond (sustainable) tourism, but has already delivered some examples that can be useful for rural areas focusing on tourism, ranging from the widespread use of broadband in remote areas, new concepts for branding a region based on its (tourist and other) assets, new service oriented business models and training courses, and education facilities and courses or modules, that focus especially on retaining youth to find an education and internship close to their home.
The project involves 13 local, regional and educational partners from 6 countries around the North Sea (Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany, Denmark, and Norway).
Some practical examples, linked to sustainable tourism are a culinary cycling route and horse/equestrian related event in the municipality of Langenhagen (Germany), cycling and health related tourism in Meetjesland (Belgium), fishing, cycling and canoeing in Vejen Kommun (Denmark), sports and health related activities in Finnoy Kommun/Rogaland (Norway).
One of the key deliverables of the project will be a toolbox, the Rural Power Pack, containing best practices, pilots, and models either developed by the partnership itself or from (previous) projects elsewhere in Europe. This Rural Power Pack will be disseminated to regions in all of EU27 in 2013. A mobile team will then visit all interested regions to discuss best practices and/or models suitable for the area.
If you’re interested to have your region included in the “Vital Rural Area” dissemination network being developed, you can contact the project manager, Mr Wietse W. Hermanns (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mr. Peter Laan, coordinator for the Rural Power Pack, email@example.com.