The Working Group on Sustainable Tourism streamlines its strategic priorities and agrees on political recommendations for the 25th annual conference in Riga.
On 20th and 21st June the Working Group on Sustainable Tourism held its 3rd meeting in Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia. Among the regular Working Group members, the President of the BSPC, Prof. Dr. Jānis Vucāns, and Franz Thönnes, Head of the German Delegation to the BSPC, followed the invitation to the Working Group meeting in Russia.
At the beginning of the two days, the Working Group was provided a visit to Kizhi Island, the largest open air museum of Russia. Since 1990 the Kizhi Architectural Ensemble is included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. Therefore, the first presentation contained “The use of local expertise for the development of sustainable tourism in the object of Culture Heritage of UNESCO” which was held by Ms. Elena Bogdanova, Director, Federal State Budgetary Institution of Culture “State Historic-Architectural and Ethnographic Museum-Reserve “Kizhi”. For Kizhi Island it is a great challenge to preserve the cultural ethnic heritage and the wooden architecture on the one hand and to increase the number of tourists on the other hand. The presentation continued the expert presentation about “UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Baltic Sea Region, Case Study: Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Suomenlinna” which was held in Helsinki by Petteri Takkula.
Within the actual Working Group meeting seven presentations concerning environmental issues in the Karelian region and impacts on the Baltic Sea as well as concerning objects of sustainable tourism development of the Republic of Karelia and concerning tourism development in Kalevala national municipal region were provided.
Following the presentations, the meeting decided under the chair of Andre Sepp, Vice-Chair of the Working Group, on a new version of its strategic focus within its Working Programme. As consequence, the 13 former priorities were limited to 9 priorities so that the scope of work will now be more streamlined and focussed. Furthermore, the members of the Working Group agreed on political recommendations that will be forwarded to the upcoming 25th Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference which will take place in Riga, 28 – 30 August 2016.
The next Working Group meeting will be held in Pärnu, 18 – 20 October 2016, back-to-back to the 9th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum (BSTF). The forum will focus on three thematic priority areas such as seasonality (and tourism financing), sustainability and cooperation. Therefore, the Working Group will be incorporated in the program of the BSTF.
The following parliamentarians participated at the 3rd Working Group meeting: Andre Sepp (Parliament of Estonia), Riitta Myller (Parliament of Finland), Franz Thönnes (Parliament of Germany), Dorothee Martin (Parliament of Hamburg), Jānis Vucāns and Veiko Spolitis (Parliament of Latvia), Grzegorz Matusiak (Parliament Poland), Valentina Pivnenko (Parliament of Russia), und Bernd Voß (Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein).