GreeTHiS, a stepping stone for the development of the Black Sea Basin
The GreeTHiS project which started in 2018 and will end in December 2021, derives from the shared idea within the project consortium that the national historic and architectural heritage is extremely beneficial for the development of cultural tourism, yet, it’s a very sensitive part of the Black Sea countries’ social and economic life.
On the one side, the territory of each of the participating countries is exceptionally rich in historic and architectural heritage, represented not only by monuments but mostly of buildings and urban communities, protected by national and international legislation. On the other hand, protected buildings face solid barriers in their maintenance and exploitation as tourist, residential, or business objects, thus influencing negatively the environment. The complex balancing between legal and environmental requirements and business development of the historical buildings is identified as a common issue in the Black Sea countries and GreeTHiS project is ambitious to provide opportunities for innovative and unconventional solutions.
Two local authorities, two associations of local authorities, and two non-profit organisations from six Black Sea countries (Bulgaria – UBSSLA, Georgia – NALAG, Greece – Orestiada, Moldova – ACTIE, Romania – ACTEJ, and Ukraine – ECICC) united their efforts in implementing the number of activities, focused on boosting the development of the cultural tourism in the Black Sea countries.
The GreeTHiS project explored the opportunities for developing cross-border green cultural tourism in the project countries and beyond by providing a vast platform for experience and knowledge sharing between tourist market operators, local authorities, owners of protected buildings, and end-users. In a range of workshops, green tourist weekends, business breakfasts, and study visits GreeTHiS ensured active participation and involvement of all interested parties.
As a result, a joint Roadmap of the BSB heritage cultural tourism outlined the trend in development and united the common goals of the BSB countries; innovative technical solutions for Energy Efficiency in protected buildings were included in the electronic green technologies platform in favor of entrepreneurs in heritage protection.
Virtual reality guide
Furthermore, a virtual reality guide to historic Black Sea places results from context research of green cultural tourist market potential in the project countries as well as from feasibility studies performed within the project, thus promoting the tourist attractiveness of the explored areas. Finally, the City of Izmail (Ukraine), UBBSLA (Bulgaria), and the Municipality of Orestiada (Greece) demonstrated how a protected building could be transformed into an attractive cultural tourist site by a combination of contemporary climate adaptation measures and tourist facilities. The best possible territorial coverage of the project is an advantage for ensuring the potential replication of project achievements.
Within the project, the joint online catalog for green tourism was created. The catalog serves as a sustainable and tangible tool for all target groups – from the market operators and local authorities to the general public – to obtain information about the latest trends of technological development in energy efficiency and climate protection of the protected buildings, and for the tour operators in their aims at diversifying the tourist product.
The platform will comprise information from all project partner countries – offering detailed and comprehensive data from almost the entire Black Sea basin. The catalog will serve as a communication, information, and experience exchange platform for all entrepreneurs, searching for available solutions for rehabilitation and maintenance of protected objects; this will be a tool for tourist market operators to be updated the latest technological achievements and the newest green tourist developments.
The database will be a unique opportunity to connect entrepreneurs of various economical areas and different countries (not limited to Black Sea Cross border cooperation) to join their efforts and ideas with the aim of developing more sustainable and environmentally friendly cultural tourism.
The main language of the platform will be English, yet it will be available in another 5 languages – Bulgarian, Romanian, Georgian, Greek and Ukrainian.
For the introduction of investment measures in protected buildings, each project partner performed a feasibility study for 3 protected buildings with green tourist potential. Each feasibility study consists of an Energy Audit, preserving the value of the object, and a design project, demonstrating the future transformation of the building.
Within the project also was elaborated the Market research of innovative technologies for EE and climate protection in historic buildings and areas. the research includes the specificity and necessity of the respective area or historical building, the restrictions, the legal requirements and etc. which is necessary to know if we want to transform the cultural heritage into an energy-efficient facility.
A roadmap of the BSB historical tourism and its green aspects
The joint Roadmap of the BSB heritage cultural tourism was elaborated within the project and it will serve as an innovative tool for enhancing touristic communication and visits between countries in the Black Sea Region which enjoyed, once, from antiquity and up to the emergence of modern state-nations, close encounters on the demographic, economic and cultural level. The roadmap will include:
- estimations about cost-effectiveness and energy saved in the budget of BSB regions;
- mapping historic buildings in environmentally protected zones in order to set priorities for future investments in energy-efficient actions;
- an assessment of other risk factors in the historic buildings involved in the project;
- ways and suggestions to enhance interconnectivity between BSB regions, particularly those involved in the project;
- suggestions for improving accessibility by all visitors, including people with special needs and providing information to all;
- provisional management plans for a 5-years period for all involved buildings, in order to secure the sustainability of the project itself and continuation of its philosophy and actions.
Virtual guide to historic Black Sea Cross border places
The Virtual guide consists of an interactive tool for locating sites and assets on the map, discovering their history and other relevant information (such as managing authority, an administrative entity they belong to, etc), their energy footprint, relevant information about local stakeholders, etc. It will target both local societies and tourists, as it will function in a multilingual interface. You also can enjoy the tour via the link provided on the slide
Context research of the market potential for historical and cultural tourism in the Black Sea Basin
A detailed research was carried out in each participant region (BSB) regarding the market potential for Green and Historical/cultural tourism. The research followed a specific methodology, including:
- Research in Green and Historic/cultural tourism infrastructure particularly through internet sites of regions, municipalities, and associations but also through state and regional policies, even including interviews with people in charge of relevant authorities
- Research in Green and Historic/cultural tourism trends in the EU and beyond: this part of the research was based on scientific finds through academic publications.
- Hands-on approach to Green and Historic/cultural tourism as reflected in the programmes and touristic products reflected and advertised in tour operators’ brochures and internet sites.
- Limitations to Green and Historical/cultural tourism as set by national or regional regulations (for example copyrights about taking pictures or videos etc).
- A proper market research based on questionnaires making use of Survey Monkey or similar platform, addressing potential tourists of this kind of tourism and trying to investigate and identify their needs, desires, ideas, and expectations. The final results are summarized in a SWOT analysis for each region.
Pilot buildings for green historical tourism
This activity is dedicated to building Rehabilitation in three partner countries like Bulgaria, Greece, and Ukraine.
Three historic buildings were selected and rehabilitated to improve the conditions of keeping and displaying to the public the rich history of each building.
PLATFORMA partner association NALAG, as one of the partner countries to the project, prepared among other activities the individual virtual tours for its three target Municipalities: Poti, Lanchkhuti, and Kobuleti.