BSTC Expert Groups aim to strengthen cooperation in the Baltic Sea region

In order to identify transnational challenges and develop joint solutions for the BSR, four Expert Groups will bring together partners in the areas of Tourism Policy, Market Research as well as Sustainable Tourism and Training Offerings.

It is the primary objective of the Baltic Sea Tourism Center (BSTC) to bring together key tourism players in the Baltic Sea region – to strengthen transnational cooperation, to pool and represent common interests towards third parties, and to promote sustainable and competitive tourism in the Baltic Sea region.

In an intensive working process, the core competences of the future BSTC have been determined. Intensifying international Partnerships, generating Insights and improving Skills will be the priority areas of the Center’s daily work.

In order to enhance the BSTC’s capacities, four strategic Expert Groups, constituted under the above-mentioned fields, are bringing together stakeholders from the Baltic Sea region on the topics of Tourism Policy (Partnerships), Market Research (Insights), and Sustainable Tourism and Training Offerings (Skills). The thematic Expert Groups will focus on identifying transnational challenges and develop joint solutions. The objectives and initial results of the working groups should demonstrate the benefits and the efficiency of the BSTC and motivate interested organisations to gradually and intensively support the idea of establishing the Baltic Sea Tourism Center.

Currently, the BSTC develops the respective manuals for each working group and determines the working group leaders. A planned workshop during the 11th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum 2018 from 14-15 November in Riga will provide more detailed information about the content alignment and how to become a member of the working groups.

To make the BSTC a success story, every conceivable support is welcome and we call interested partners and institutions to get in touch with the BSTC and attend this year’s 11th Baltic Sea Tourism Forum.

Background

To define the aims and objectives of the BSTC a comprehensive stakeholder process has been conducted during the recent month and years. In result, the establishment of the Baltic Sea Tourism Center as a permanent platform is supported by numerous institutions and is generally expected to refine the continuous collaboration in Baltic Sea Region-tourism.

The BSTC is supposed to constitute the central and competent contact point for tourism in the BSR having an overview on relevant issues such as projects, initiatives, actors, trends and data. However, it is more than a reactive platform but also actively addresses partners, stakeholders and relevant externals in order to bring forward a sustainable, balanced and international tourism development in the BSR. The BSTC should therefore not only be the responsive Center of Expertise, but also speak with and on behalf of the tourism sector, actively offering inspiration, data and general support. The vision of the BSTC is reinforcing and uniting the voice for sustainable tourism development in the Baltic Sea Region – providing Partnerships, Insights and Skills.

The jointly identified core competences form the main pillars of the future work of the BSTC. The activities defined under each pillar will be implemented gradually.

Core competences

The competence field Partnerships focuses on improving communication between actors within and outside the BSR. The policy area tourism of the EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region will be supported in implementing its action plan. Another important task is the further development of the Baltic Sea Tourism Forum as the most important exchange platform for transnational cooperation in the BSR. The aim is to establish the Center as a leading institution at macro-regional level in the tourism sector.

The competence field Insights focuses on providing stakeholders with an improved overview of tourism developments in the Baltic Sea region. For this purpose, the so-called BSTC Tourism Market Monitor® is collecting touristic data from all Baltic Sea countries, which will subsequently be published in an annual 'BSTC State of the Region Report' at the Baltic Sea Tourism Forum. In addition, trend reports will be prepared that - together with the quantitative data collected - can be utilized as the basis for political and strategic recommendations for action. An improved overview of projects and ongoing activities as well as a specialised database of key actors in the Baltic Sea region are additional priority areas.

In the competence field Skills, regular trainings and seminars in the domain of tourism product development are offered and enhanced. Paramount are topics such as internationalisation, seasonal extension and sustainability. In addition, this area supports further projects, promotes capacity-building measures and establishes a pool of experts on tourism-relevant topics. Further training courses will be developed which in the medium to long term will be transferred to an academy under the Baltic Sea Tourism Center.