Baltic Sea regional workshop Lithuania 2014
Time: 23 October 2014
Place: Panevezys, Lithuania
CITYWATER participated in the workshop “The Baltic Sea – Protecting our Economic Future Connecting the Tourism Industry & the Baltic Sea” that took place in Panevezys, Lithuania and that was organized by the Baltic Sea Challenge partner Race for the Baltic. Among the participants were representatives from different sectors: municipality, business, national park, NGO and waste water treatment. The seminar provided a day with interesting presentations and new contacts from different parts of Lithuania, and provided a very good opportunity to market the Baltic Sea Challenge (BSC) network to a Lithuanian audience.
During the seminar, the Baltic Sea Challenge was brought up as a tool for taking concrete action for the Baltic Sea. The CITYWATER project expert and the Baltic Sea Challenge coordinator had brief talks, where the Baltic Sea Challenge network and the EU Life+ financed CITYWATER project were presented, and participants were welcomed to join the network.
The theme was sustainable tourism and the seminar brought up topics such as waste water treatment in the Panevezys region, sustainable tourism in a nutshell; economic and societal benefits of responsible tourism and tourism facts for Lithuania.
Dr Aida Macerinskiene (picture to the left) from Vilnius University told about tourism in Lithuania. There are 2,1 million foreign tourists visiting Lithuania every year, most of them are from Russia, Belarus and Latvia. For tourists, Lithuania offers for example cultural heritage and health tourism. However, a challenge related to sustainable tourism is that most of the tourists do not care about sustainability. Who then should take the initiative for sustainable tourism? Macerinskiene suggested that business should start.
In the presentation about waste water treatment in Panevezys region, it was brought up that Panevezys was regarded as a hotspot by HELCOM until 2009. Hence improvements in the WWTP owned by Panevezys city and Panevezys district had shown results. A series of modernizations had taken place, among them a modernization of sludge drying facilities in 2001.
Two Swedish speakers, Jeppe Klockareson from Fair Travel and Camilla Zedendahl, Destination Sigtuna talked about sustainable and responsible tourism. Klockareson brought up the fact that currently, the tourism industry creates 9,5% of global gdp, and that it is growing. Hence, it is crucial to make it as sustainable as possible. Zedendahl talked about the need for “co-opetition” between tourism businesses – to not only compete, but to cooperate where it gains all involved partners.
The seminar day was concluded by small group discussions (picture to the left) around the questions what is sustainable tourism in your country; what benefits could it bring; what is needed to enable more sustainable tourism practices; and what are the constraints that are hindering sustainable practices from being implemented.
The event was organized by Race for the Baltic in collaboration with Panevezys City, the Lithuanian castles and manors association, and CITYWATER/The Baltic Sea Challenge.