The Working Group on Sustainable Tourism agrees on the first part of political recommendations and discusses more focused priorities at its 2nd meeting in Helsinki.
On 20th and 21st March the Working Group on Sustainable Tourism gathered for the second time. After the inaugural meeting in Rostock, 11 members of Parliaments from all around the Baltic Sea region met under this meeting’s thematic focus on best practices on Sustainable Tourism.
Beginning on Sunday evening Petteri Takkula (Development Manager, the Governing Body of Suomenlinna) gave an expert presentation about “UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Baltic Sea Region, Case Study: Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Suomenlinna”. According to Petteri Takkula the highest challenge is to preserve the cultural heritage on the one hand and to present and market it on the other hand. The only way to meet both requirements is a respectful use of the resources to achieve a successful asset management. His core conclusion is that the protection, preservation and presentation of the intrinsic value produces sustainable extrinsic value for the destination.
On Monday morning the meeting continued at the Port of Helsinki with an expert presentation of Kari Noroviita (Director, Passenger Harbours, Port of Helsinki) and Antti Pulkkinen (Harbour Master) about the “Cruise Ship Waste Water treatment in the Baltic Sea Regions – Best Practices of the Port of Helsinki”. The representatives from the Port of Helsinki explained the expansion of the port, especially the waste water facilities. The background of the necessity to renew the port reception facilities in the entire Baltic Sea region is an international agreement between all Baltic Sea rim states with the aim to achieve the status as a so-called “special area” via the International Maritime Organization. The Baltic Sea states committed themselves to implement the requirements of the international agreement (IMO MARPOL Resolution und Annex IV, MEPC.200 (62)) within the next years.
Afterwards, the meeting was provided two presentations about the “Finnish Strategies and Experiences on Sustainable Tourism” by Nina Vesterinen (Senior Specialist, Ministry of Employment and Economy) and the second about “Cycling Tourism in Europe, case Iron Curtain Trail” by Raija Ruusunen (Project Manager, Karelia University of Applied Sciences) in the Finnish Parliament.
Both presentations offered good and very practical examples and approaches that can be transferred to other regions.
Following the presentations, the members of the meeting discussed under the chair of Sylvia Bretschneider the issues of the Working Group Mandate, including a strategic prioritization, and the Working Programm as well as a first draft of the Mid-way Report as outcome of the Working Group. The meeting also agreed on the first part of political recommendations which will be forwarded to the annual Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference in Riga, 28 – 30 August 2016.
The next Working Group meeting will be held in Petrosawodsk in June. Until this upcoming meeting, the members of the Working Group decided on comprehensive “homeworks” for themselves and Baltic Sea member’s governments.
The following parliamentarians participated at the 2nd Working Group meeting: Sylvia Bretschneider (Parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Sara Kemetter (Parliament of Åland), Andre Sepp (Parliament of Estonia), Riitta Myller (Parliament of Finland), Dorothee Martin (Parliament of Hamburg), Veiko Spol?tis (Parliament of Latvia), Linas Balsys (Parliament of Lithuania), Jacek Protas (Parliament Poland), Valentina Pivnenko (Parliament of Russia), Pyry Niemi (Parliament Sweden) und Bernd Voß (Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein).