The times have changed, and we have turned over a new leaf. No longer do we travel to huge anonymous hotels to avoid having to talk to anyone. Now we travel to ‘people-places’, where we become richer, leaving with a wealth of memories, more encounters and even more friends in the end. CultTrips has given thought to this trend and has read the signs of the times. CultTrips is about seven rural regions in the European countries of Austria, Estonia, Finland, Italy and Luxembourg that have invented a different brand of tourism, one that is authentic and exciting and replete with stories waiting to be told.
This personal relationship is what engenders deep ties and a sense of identification with the region. Meanwhile, guests can take home a highly personal souvenir – namely something they have created themselves. CultTrips starts where conventional tasting trips and tours stop: precisely at the point where emotions come into play and visitors have the opportunity to submerge in the region’s private life.
We focus on people. Craftspeople, food producers, chefs, artists and farmers act as guides, showing to the guests hands-on what everyday life in the regions is all about. In this way, visitors receive a unique opportunity to be creative while becoming immersed in the special customs and culture of that particular area.
As part of pilot trips, “test-persons” were initially allowed to experience the tourism offerings, while testers’ feedback was then used to fine-tune the joint concept to make it suitable for later professional marketing.
It is planned to launch this marketing phase in a second project step within the framework of the 2014-2020 LEADER programme.
Contact with locals: give guests the chance to interact with locals.
Learning together: getting guests involved helps them familiarise themselves with local culture. Organising various activities such as workshops or cooking sessions enhances mutual exchange.
Authenticity: presenting themes originally or rooted from/in the region e.g. traditions, history or stories mediated by those who are deeply connected.
Storytelling: conveying insights via e.g. regional historical stories, myths or legends using dramaturgical elements.
Hidden treasures: showing places and actions with a certain uniqueness and not accessible to all visitors.
Social sustainability: respecting locals’ culture, expectations and assumptions and contributing to more intercultural understanding and tolerance.
Ecological sustainability: the trip is as environmental friendly as possible in all attainable matters e.g. transportation, accommodation, meals, activities.
Economic sustainability: the extra income of the CULTrips serves also rural development concerns of the locals and may create new jobs for locals.