Today we share our 3rd UMBRELLA Interreg South Baltic Success Story on Biking South Baltic project.
My name is Piotr Książek. I work as an inspector in the Tourism Department of the Marshal’s Office of the Pomorskie Region. I am a member of the team involved in the Biking South Baltic project. The project focuses on promotional and innovative activities supporting the development of the EuroVelo 10 – Velo Baltica cycling route. Our team members are Mrs Marta Chełkowska – the Director of Tourism Department, Bożena Murańska and Tomasz Legutko.
Cycling tourism is at the centre of my professional life for many years now and is my everyday passion too. I am sure that cycling related projects financed from the EU funds will have a significant impact on the development of an economy based on active tourism in the nearest future. Pomorskie Region is currently one of the leading regions in this field, the more I am delighted to take an active part in the Biking South Baltic project.
From the point of view of a novice
This is my first international partnership project and my first experience with projects financed by the EU funds. Thanks to participation in the project, apart from entering into fruitful relationships with foreign partners, I had the opportunity to gain experience in the international certification of infrastructure dedicated to cycling tourism supervised by the European Cyclists Federation. Also, during working meetings, we also exchange experiences and insights regarding tourism in partner regions. Our meetings and relations with partners are often not only professional but also we establish private relationships.
Discovering other nationalities
Biking South Baltic! Project is an entirely new venture. At the beginning of the cooperation we were making new acquaintance, and there were misunderstandings between the partners resulting mainly from, for example, cultural differences. We can now say that participation in the project has taught us how to understand each other better and to compromise. We continue to learn from each other and during meetings we are more and more willing to share personal opinions. We know for sure that despite the end of the project this year, our cooperation will continue and not only because of the need to maintain the durability of the project, but also for the benefit of the solutions we have developed and the established relationships.
Benefits for my organisation
The participation of the Self-Government of the Pomorskie Region in the project brings not only financial benefits. These are also intangible assets resulting from the experiences of people engaged in the project, which will inevitably result in further participation in future partner enterprises. Thanks to the involvement in the project, we have made the first and already a massive step towards obtaining the international certification of the EuroVelo cycling routes for currently built R10 and R9 / Vistula Cycling Route (WTR) routes. Also, the project also included investment and pilot activities as well as a research component. As part of the investment in Poddąbie (Commune of Ustka), an innovative service shed will be built for bicycle repairs if they are needed during trips and for recharging batteries in electric bicycles. Another element affecting the monitoring of bicycle traffic on the EuroVelo 10 route is the installation of sensors measuring the number of cyclists on the route. Four such sensors have been installed on the trail in Pomorskie Region. An essential element that showed us cyclists preferences were surveyed, which allowed us to analyse the project’s target groups.
Impact on the region
The effect of the project on the area might seem unnoticeable. The project activities are in the final stage, and we expect to see the results after completion of the investments related to Biking South Baltic project, which are a part of the Pomeranian Bicycle Routes initiative. In any case, in the coming period, we expect a significant increase in tourist cycling traffic on the EuroVelo 10 route sections in Pomorskie Regions. This is the assumed effect of the planned promotion and partner activities resulting from the implemented project. We are currently building awareness of potential users by organising study visits, presenting the region during trade fairs and encouraging tour operators to prepare tourist offers related to EuroVelo 10 routes.
As part of the project activities, a leading document setting out the strategy for the promotion and development of the bicycle route by the year 2030 was prepared. This document consists of a set of activities and recommendations to ensure a uniform, coherent message within the project partnerships and is a signpost for what partner activities should be continued to develop a tourism product that will be created.
Encouragement for newcomers
The EU Funds create an excellent opportunity to build or modernise infrastructure, offering cyclists a new quality and at the same time allowing building partnerships and alliances. New contacts enable the exchange of experiences and the use of already tested solutions functioning in other countries. International cooperation facilitates the preparation of an offer that may be addressed to various age groups and multiple regions of Europe.
Read basic information on the Biking South Baltic project here: Success story – Biking South Baltic- project description