The event in Austria, hosted on the 24th and 25th of May 2019 in the mall Shopping City Süd (SCS), welcomed interested visitors with a promotion area of more than 90m2. In line with the motto "take a break", the visitors of the mall were invited to get to know the Baltic Sea region with its tourist treasures while pausing from the shopping day in wicker beach chairs and enjoying culinary samples from the BSTC partner countries. Interested guests received detailed information on the Baltic Sea region through tourism representatives from the BSTC team. Impressions of the regions were shown on an 18m2 multimedia screen and a photo booth provided souvenirs of the day. Visitors had the chance to win 4 nights in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which had been sponsored by the product group from Stralsund, the island of Rügen and Hiddensee.
The second promotion campaign took place in the Westfield Mall London on Saturday, the 15th of June 2019. The BSTC team chose one of the biggest malls in Europe to get in contact with potential visitors in the UK and raise the awareness of the touristic potential within the BSR. Approximately 1000 visitors experienced the promotional area of 35 m2. The event impressed the audience with Virtual Reality glasses, giving an idea on how the Baltic Sea Coast in Lithuania, Poland, Denmark and Germany looks like. Through a touch-screen, the guests were able to learn more about the regions and the tourism products that have been developed in the past year. Sunbeds invited for a longer stay at the stand and BSTC representatives gave information on traveling to and through the BSR countries as well as their must-see attractions.
The BSTC partners Association Klaipeda Region, Pomorskie Tourist Board, Danish Tourism Innovation and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Tourist Board used the street promotion activities to increase the number of international visitors to the BSR. In addition, the events were used to disseminate the tourism products that have been developed within the project – a number of tourism service providers that took part in the product development workshops in the previous months were actively presenting their region and offers.
The decision to promote the BSR in the markets Austria and UK arose from the outcome of the previous Interreg South Baltic project “Enjoy South Baltic”. Especially the partner countries Lithuania and Poland have noticed an increase in the number of British guests throughout the previous years. Several flights from London to Gdansk (Pomorskie Region) as well as Klaipeda (Klaipeda Region) make the two countries on the Baltic Sea Coast attractive for visitors from the United Kingdom. The same has been identified for the Copenhagen Countryside as well as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Austrian market. The flight connections from Vienna to Copenhagen (DK), Rostock Laage (D) and in summer time to Heringsdorf, on the island of Usedom (D) allow a comfortable travel experience for the Austrian guest and thus increases the number of international visits to the Baltic Sea coast. Around 27,259 Austrian guests (+9.2%) arrived in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2018 and spent around 84,593 overnight stays (+9.4%) in the region.
The street promotion events are just one part of the BSTC Smart Destination Campaign, addressing potential visitors as well as tour operators. After having a workshop with Tour operators in October 2018 in Gdansk, which was organised in order to present and discuss the BSTC products and further dissemination together with international Buyers, the BSTC partners hosted two Tour Operator Summits in the main source markets Austria and UK this year.
On 24 January 2019, the first BSTC Tour Operator Summit took place in Vienna/Austria. 50 key Austrian multipliers, such as tour operators and media representatives, visited the B2B event at the Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront Hotel. The workshops and presentations aimed at marketing the BSTC tourism products, their service providers and the BSR as an attractive travel destination. The service providers from Denmark, Lithuania, Poland and Germany showed immense interest in improving cooperation and collaboration between the regions and were actively involved in the presentations at the summit.
Additionally, the BSTC team attended this year’s CITY Fair in London on the 17th of June 2019. Organised by the ETOA (European Tour Operator Association), it gave European destination suppliers from more than 25 EU countries the opportunity to meet selected tour operators, online intermediaries, wholesalers and MICE specialists. The BSTC used the B2B event to talk to tour operators at pre-arranged one-to-one meetings.
Furthermore, did the Lead Partner present the BSTC at the Germany Travel Mart (GTM) in Wiesbaden. From 12-14 May 2019, more than 500 experts and decision-makers from the international travel industry as well as journalists took part in the event.
Also in May, the BSTC partners from Poland and Germany, together with regional SMEs, welcomed two British travel bloggers. While Vicky Flip Flop explored the German Riviera along the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Travel Dave visited Gdansk and the Kashubian region.
In the upcoming months, the project partners are implementing study visits to the partner regions and their products, addressing tour operators and media representatives. The trips lead along the Baltic Sea coast through the countries of Lithuania, Poland, Denmark and Germany. They highlight how varied this contiguous region can be and what it has to offer especially for British and Austrian travellers.
For more information on the products developed in the framework of the BSTC project, look up www.balticsea.travel