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Innovative Concept of Eco-accommodation approach in rural Regions: Public support policies for eco-investors (ICER)
Date du début: 31 déc. 2009, Date de fin: 30 déc. 2012 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Rising markets, as well as investors, often neglect rural areas because of their lack of attractiveness and competitiveness. In order to develop their economy and employment level, rural regions have to innovate and attract investors. Tourism remains one of the most effective drivers for increased dynamism and job creation as part of economic diversification of these territories.The ICER project brings together 7 partners from 7 EU Member States. The partnership considers INTERREG IVC as an opportunity to exchange on good practices and to find new solutions. Problems to be addressed are:How to improve economic dynamism in rural territories? How to drive changes into the tourist development model in rural areas? How to attract more private investors to such territories?How to stimulate sustainable projects? The overall objective is to create more effective economic attractiveness policies in rural areas in the tourist sector.The project addresses a territorial policy issue of shared relevance for all partner regions and seeks to provide tangible results which will ensure its durability beyond 2011. Even if the economic dimension is the key issue of the project, there are clear side-effects on the environment through the selection of Eco-friendly investors intending to create accommodation SMEs which deal with values such as environment protection and valorisation, high services quality. The core activities of the project follow a 4-step approach: 1. GLOBAL ENGINEERING OF THE PROJECT: This project is based on an exchange of experience and good practices identification in particular through study visits in each region.2. LOCAL WORK WITH TOURIST ACTORS AND PUBLIC POLICY MAKERS Each partner organizes workshops with tourist SMEs to collect their needs regarding public policies.3.PROPOSAL OF A PUBLIC POLICIES RECOMMANDATION BOOK based on the compilation of study visits results (good practices exchange) and workshops results. Seminars will be organized in each partner region to present it to public policy makers and record their opinions and suggestions.4.IMPROVEMENT OF NEW PUBLIC POLICIES PACKAGES IN EVERY PARTNER REGION AND/OR COUNTRY based on the final version of the recommendations book. In the medium-long run, the ICER project will lead to increased awareness among the relevant decision-makers for innovative tourist concepts of public policies aiming at strengthening the attractiveness and competitiveness of their rural areas. Achievements: The ICER project, approved in November 2009, concretely began in 2010, with the organisation on the 16th and 17th of February of the Opening Conference of the project in Auvergne (France) and the first Steering Committee meeting. Partners first prepared the communication and dissemination tools of the project: graphic identity, website, brochure and newsletter layout. The presentation brochure of the project was produced, as well as 6 electronic newsletters. ICER project was also presented in Valladolid (Spain), Pécs (Hungary), Podčetrtek (Slovenia), Ennis (Ireland), Gozo (Malta) and Lahti (Finland) during the 6 interregional events organised by the partners on the 15th of June 2010, 19th of October 2010, 5th of April 2011, 5th of October 2011, 7th of February 2012 and 6th of June 2012. 549 people, including public authorities, tourist professionals and accommodation owners, attended these conferences. It was great opportunities not only to present the project or Interreg programme, but also to share interesting experiences and learn from local and regional public policies. The process of good practices exchange began with the creation of a questionnaire, basis of the analysis the partners produced regarding their public policies in the field of investors attraction and the tourist accommodation economy. The first study visit was organised in Valladolid in June 2010, just after the conference, to work on good practices identification and understanding. Then partners organised study visits in Gozo (Malta) in September 2010, South Transdanubian region (Hungary) in October 2010, Lahti region (Finland) in December 2010, Ireland in February 2011, Slovenia in April 2011 and France in June 2011. The phase of identification of good practices in now over. 30 good practices were identified, and the partners are working on these good examples to prepare a potential transfer. These policies or instruments tackle various issues, as for example the carbon footprint calculation of accommodation, tax incentives, strategies to attract investors, innovative tools, business networking and clusters, sustainable management initiatives or specific marketing strategies. The partnership disseminated the first results of the project through 146 press articles, radio or TV appearances. The partnership prepared the English draft of a recommendations book, targeting tourism stakeholders and policy makers. In the next semesters, partners will translate this document into their national languages, and publish a paper version.



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