Strengthening capacities of IMWG for tourism for empowering local participants in tourism

7_morgWithin SDC project “Bicycle tourism toward rural and regional development Srem”, which is realized by RDA Srem with its partners, the fourth meeting of IMWG for tourism has been organized, followed by VII training intended for members of IMWG for tourism, in order to find measures for strengthening local producers / service providers in tourism on the territory of Srem and placement of domestic products on the domestic tourist market.

Considering the fact that the realization of the second phase of project is ongoing and that the project’s final result is the foundation of DMO Srem, project manager RDA Srem, Bojana Lanc presented project idea „StRengthEn DMO – Strengthening of DMO capacities through empowering local producers / service providers in tourism on the territory of Srem”. The project idea came from the experience of study visit to Austria, which enabled members of IMWG for tourism to realize problems of tourist service providers in Srem and ways of functioning of public – private partnership. They agreed that the problem was the lack of a unified tourist offer and inability of tourist organizations to organize and gather as a single body their local producers and service providers.

Thus, the proposed main activities of the proposed project are mapping of local capacities and potentials in tourism of Srem and defining of a set of standards which service providers / local producers must meet in order to place for obtaining a certificate of Srem region. In accordance with the above mentioned, prof. Kristina Košić from the Faculty of Science, Novi Sad, Department for Geography, Tourism and Hotel Management presented results of the project “Research of attitudes of agricultural producers in Srem District about the possibilities of placement of domestic products on the domestic tourist market”, which was realized in partnership with RDA Srem. Food was singled out as the basis for tourist experience in numerous segments, among which the following stand out: production of specific, authentic gastronomical products; intercultural connection; hedonistic experience of consuming new tastes; development of infrastructure for production and consumption of food and drinks; development of local environment (especially inclusion of agricultural producers and women in the countryside) and diversification of rural economy.

According to Prof. Košić, „There are numerous problems in the placement of food, but also other tourist products on the tourist market: initial investment costs can be high; ways to the market should be researched; it is necessary to have lots of knowledge (to understand the market, marketing, hygiene of food and to own various skills and qualifications which traditional agriculture does not require – chain of supply, logistics…); lack of communication between a supplier and a buyer; periodic business due to seasonality. On the other hand, there are numerous advantages of placement of local agricultural products in the tourist sector. This is an opportunity for producers to acquire good reputation; possibilities of diversification; employment, profit; staying in the countryside; engagement of different groups (women, youth, disabled…). As far as consumers are concerned, the following has been noticed: knowledge about the origin of food; better quality of food (their diet); ability to contribute to the local economy. As for retail, the following stands out: creation of a unique sale value – contemporary concept of offer, fresh groceries, high quality of products; procurement on the local level in some cases reduces the overall costs”.

Taking into account the complexity of the problem which was recognized during the meeting and interactive workshop with prof. Košić ,members of IMWG for tourism proposed topics which would be interesting for the following set of trainings intended for agricultural households and service providers in tourism.  It was agreed that the trainings should be designed in a way which would provide service providers in tourism with necessary information and knowledge through efficient cooperation of public and private sector, with the goal of placing their products on the ever more demanding tourist market.

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