1.1 Promotion of local culture and history
Płaska Commune (Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland)
Sapockin Rural Executive Commitee (Hrodna Oblast, Belarus)
The project activities stretch along the Augustów Canal – a unique hydraulic engineering work from the 19th century. It connects the Vistula River (PL) with the Neman River (BY) and is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. The main problem of this area is low competitiveness and the basic nature of local tourism services, the lack of “crossing-border” tourism products and the short average duration of tourist trips.
The CanalCluster project concept is the result of cross-border cooperation within the previously implemented project from the 2007-2013 perspective. Using the results achieved and the experience gained, the project partners agreed to develop cross-border cooperation in the promotion of heritage tourism along the Augustów Canal. They intend to reach their goals by organizing a common kayak study trip, elaborating a product development strategy and establishing a cluster responsible for the future management and promotion of the created tourist product – the first visa-free tourist route across the Polish-Belarusian border, the Augustów Canal Waterway. Kayaking trip along the Augustów Canal is dedicated to the representatives of the tourist sector and will last for four days – two days in Poland and two days in Belarus. The project activities will be accompanied by a promotional campaign including a photo album, a guidebook, four video spots and a set of kayaking gadgets. It is also planned to organize a closing conference “Cross-border Heritage Tourism Cluster - Augustów Canal”. The ceremony of signing the Cross-border Tourism Cluster Agreement by all members of the initiative will be a vital stage of this event and will formally launch the Cluster's activity.
In this way, the CanalCluster project creates a stable platform for cross-border cooperation - a network of borderland institutions related to sustainable tourism, which strengthens economic relations in the region. Therefore, in the long-term, the cluster’s activities combined with its members' efforts will enhance the capacities of the authorities and tourism service providers and will increase the attractiveness of the Augustów Canal on both sides of the border.
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