The border area, where two cultures meet, is attractive for visitors. However, the foreign market on the doorstep is a real challenge for touristic SMEs.
The project has supported these SMEs in acquiring and expanding know-how on the foreign market Germany or the Netherlands respectively, in order to develop touristic offers of better quality for their foreign guests. This implies contacting touristic stakeholders on both sides of the border personally in a targeted way, offering them a platform for networking in the framework of exchange of experiences or excursions as well as promoting a cross-border knowledge-transfer by means of tailor made training. Thematic factsheets and e-training courses were developed specifically for tourism players from both sides of the border. More than 1,000 participants took part in over 33 face-to-face events. Individual investments of SMEs in the neighbouring market were stimulated and almost 200 smaller quality improvements for guests from the neighbouring country were implemented by the companies themselves.
Furthermore, the project played a coordinating role in linking tourist players in the border region in performance and service chains. In these thematic clusters, new cooperations emerged, for example between holiday parks or city marketing organisations.
In order to reach the potential guest, a bundling in communication is necessary. The project offered appropriate platforms for this purpose. The Euregio-wide umbrella brands for the respective neighbouring market (“Geheim over de grens” and “Das Andere Holland”) were further developed as part of new online strategies, with a focus on storytelling and social media. The number of website users more than doubled as a result of the various activities.
The project thus makes an effective contribution to increase (on a long term) the number of guests from the neighbouring country, their overnight stays and expenditure in the border area, above all through a stronger focus and more investments by tourism SMEs and organisations in the neighbouring market. A closer look at the final measurement shows that not only overnight stays from the neighbouring country have developed positively during the project period, but that the participating companies and organisations have also become much more active on the neighbouring market.