The tourism development ministry announced it would take part in the European Commissions’ “European Destinations of Excellence” (EDEN) pilot project for a second-year-running.
Launched in 2006, the aims of the project are to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where the economic growth objective is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.
The theme of excellence is “tourism and local intangible heritage”and destinations which have developed a new tourism offer based on the appreciation of their specific local intangible heritage -local cuisine or gastronomy, local arts, handicrafts, local theatrical traditions, village and rural life- can apply for 2007 destination of excellence. Winning destinations are to be selected in June 2008. Organizations of local authority and prefectures in cooperation with local bodies for the promotion of cultural heritage or development may apply. For a destination to be chosen it must not be a traditional settlement or already developed, it must regularly (annually) organize events related to its local intangible heritage and must effectively manage its tourism offer.
The chosen destination would be promoted at a national level through the tourism development ministry and at a Europe-wide level through promotion by the European Commission. Selected destinations from each member-country would also be promoted at the European Tourism Forum 2008 to be held in Bordeaux, France, on 18-19 September. According to the European Commision, “The Eden project has the potential to enhance the visibility of several non traditional European destinations, create awareness of Europe’s tourist diversity and quality, besides promoting all European countries and regions and Europe as the foremost tourism destination in the world.”