International Rural Tourism Workshop in Riga

The workshop will bring together European professionals in rural tourism – associations, tour operators, tourist boards, service providers and others – to summarise and evaluate the changes in the sector and highlight innovative, constructive and successful approaches to win the challenges presented to rural tourism by the economic situation in Europe.
The workshop programme is structured in three theme panels, each theme introduced by a keynote speech given by the top level rural tourism professionals of European countries and followed by country presentations and panel discussion. The speakers and panellists represent the leading rural tourism organisations: Eurogites, Gites de France, Austrian Farm Holidays, Farmstay UK and other practitioners. The workshop is combined with the annual conference of Latvian rural tourism providers. The workshop language is English with translation to Latvian.
Why come?

The workshop is the first wide international gathering of rural tourism professionals since the congress in Hungary 2007 to discuss the hottest issues in the sector and generate professional inspiration.

The list of the panellists speaks for itself – we were able to join the best of the best practicing experts in rural tourism, and the organisers are proud to have all of them in one event. This "star team" is a guarantee for high quality and value presentations and discussions.

Rural tourism has reached a certain milestone in its development. What changes are required, how to go about them to stay in the market and turn threats into benefits? The experience exchange with colleagues from other countries will give support and added value to individual efforts of rural tourism stakeholders.

  • The workshop is the first wide international gathering of rural tourism professionals since the congress in Hungary 2007 to discuss the hottest issues in the sector and generate professional inspiration.
  • The list of the panellists speaks for itself – we were able to join the best of the best practicing experts in rural tourism, and the organisers are proud to have all of them in one event. This "star team" is a guarantee for high quality and value presentations and discussions.
  • Rural tourism has reached a certain milestone in its development. What changes are required, how to go about them to stay in the market and turn threats into benefits? The experience exchange with colleagues from other countries will give support and added value to individual efforts of rural tourism stakeholders.
  • And finally – after the workshop, a summer evening in Latvia is an excellent occasion to socialise with your foreign colleagues and friends while enjoying Latvian national values like good beer, food, and the white nights when it is light even by midnight.

June 9, 2010


8:30

Registration and coffee

9:00

Press conference

9:30

Opening of the workshop

Marketing of tourism in Latvia - the concept, strategy, implementation. Project "European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN)".
Armands Slokenbergs, Latvian Tourism Development Agency

Panel 1: Rural tourism in Europe - state of art and quo vadis?

The panel discusses changes and trends in rural tourism product and market under present economic conditions in Europe. The presetations offer comparative overview of the situation by countries, effects of the crisis on travelling habits, rural tourism sector reaction to changes and ways of successful adaption.

9:50

Rural tourism in Europe 1980 - 2010 - a change of paradigm?
Klaus Ehrlich, President of European Federation of Farm and Village Tourism "EuroGites"

10:10

Country presentations on the current trends and panel discussions:

  • Greece - Peggy Balitsari,Guest Inn, The Greek Network of Rural Accommodation
  • Spain - Francois Derbaix, Toprural

11:30

Coffee break

Panel 2: Innovations in rural tourism - beyond the traditional concepts

The panellists will talk about capacities of rural tourism to diversify its traditional concepts, services and forms adapting to the market needs, while maintaining product recognition. The panel discusses innovative approaches to product development, marketing and promotion.

12:00

Innovations in rural tourism products and marketing
Hans Embacher, Austrian Farm holidays

12:30

Panel discussion and country examples

  • United Kingdom - Andy Woodward, Farmstay UK
  • Bulgaria - Kiril Kaloyanov, Bulgarian Association for Alternative tourism
  • Latvia - Asnāte Ziemele, Latvian country holidays

14:00

Lunch

Panel 3: Regional and specialised tourism products - how to improve the local value chain

The panel discusses best practices in developing regional specialised products achieving involvement and dedication of local stakeholders - rural tourism providers, local municipalities and others.

15:00

Developing nature based products, motivating and involving local community. Case study: the Slitere National Park, Latvia
Juris Smaļinskis, Latvia country holidays "Lauku ceļotājs". Project POLPROP-NATURA, (LIFE07/ENV/LV/000981)

15:30

Panel discussion and country examples

  • Slovenia - Vesna Čuček, Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia, Agriculture and Forestry Institute Celje
  • Lithuania - Linas Žabaliūnas, Lithuanian rural tourism association
  • Germany - Cornelia Hass, Landurlaub Mecklenburg- Vorpmmern

17:00

Coffee break

18:30

Meet in the lobby of the Islande Hotel for a tour of Rīga

19:00

Boat trip on the river Daugava and Riga canal to enjoy the sights of Riga ( Riga Central Market, NationalOpera House, the President's Castle and the panoramma of Old Town)

20:00

Dinner at the riverside restaurantOstas Skati

22:00

Departure of the first bus to the hotel Islande. Should you wish to walk back to the hotel, please be aware that it will be an approximately 20 minutes walk.

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