Promotion of cross-border tourism by the Middle and Lower Danube

Project description

Title: Regional project to promote cross-border tourism in the Middle and Lower Danube region through the Danube Competence Center (DCC)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of the Republic of Serbia
Overall term: 2015 to 2018

Context

The Middle and Lower Danube region brings together EU Member States, including Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, the EU candidate country Serbia, and countries that are less closely tied to the European Union, namely Ukraine and Moldova. To this day, the consequences of the war in the former Yugoslavia and the difficult processes of democratisation, with many political changes, continue to undermine the region’s economic stability.

Tourism policies operate mainly at the national rather than regional level. This challenge to the development of cross-border tourism prompted the creation of the Danube Competence Center (DCC), a platform for cooperation to promote the achievement of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). This strategy is intended to help the Danube countries grow together as a macro region, creating a ‘Danube’ brand, improving the conditions for the tourism sector and generating new jobs.

Objective

Conditions have improved for the development of cross-border tourism in the Middle and Lower Danube region.

Approach

Within the framework of the EUSDR, the programme supports cooperation between the riparian states of the Middle and Lower Danube region. The DCC was created as a regional association to promote business and tourism for public and private-sector stakeholders in the tourism industry. The Center offers cross-border tourism services to support companies active in the sector. In particular, it is intended to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is supporting the efforts of the DCC as a regional cooperation and marketing platform to foster sustainable tourism in the Danube region. 

The Center acts as a partner for the riparian states, as well as for the EU and other relevant institutions in the region. Its tasks include developing and promoting regional tourism products, and making these available in all the relevant countries. It is working to devise and introduce new quality standards for tourism services in the Danube region, which will contribute to the development of sustainable tourism and the umbrella ‘Danube’ brand.

Results

The DCC is the only tourism association operating at the regional level. It constitutes a network of public and private sector partners, and non-governmental organisations from all ten countries through which the Danube flows. It counts more than 70 member organisations from across the Danube countries. Members benefit from various services, including advice and capacity building enabling them to expand their operations at the regional level. New cross-border tourism measures developed together with the members are now being used within the context of the EUSDR to foster regional economic development.

A wide range of activities are carried out to promote the Middle and Lower Danube region as a tourist destination. These include the provision of information through the website danube.travel, the collective participation of the riparian states at trade fairs, the production of advertising materials and the attendance at conferences.

Since 2011, the Serbian Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and other interest groups have been working together with the DCC to develop the regional cultural route, the ‘Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route’, as well as a number of cycling routes.

As the leading partner in several consortia with ministries and other important stakeholders, the DCC takes part in tender processes for EU-funded projects and services in the Danube region. The Center is also involved in an advisory capacity in two EUSDR working groups, where its task is to generate interest in Danube tourism at institutional level.