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Prešov region (Slovakia) attracts seniors to improve their health offering different products and services


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In November 2013 TOURage meet each other in Prešov region Slovakia where good practices suitable for senior tourism were presented by the partners from Regional Development Agency of the Prešov Self-governing Region.

The study visit started with the presentation of tourism products developed by local communities in Spissky Hrhov. The mayor presented the local products (different wooden local products, candle production, small bakery). A cross-border project was launched in PL-SK cross-border programme to develop cultural tourism. The good practice is already transferred on international level by this project - it was transferred to Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Special tourism packages are created for holiday and full-day programme. Until the visit of TOURage, 6000 tourists paid already for these activities. Swimming pool is also available at the municipality, but the most attractive for tourists was bread making activity in which tourists bake the traditional local bread. It was told that 10 people are employed through local production. Village itself owns the company coordinating these production activities. Awards were gained from the European Commission and the Open Society Fund. The main two target groups are children and retired people and usually organised groups are using the services. Website of the village is providing information needed as well as travel agencies are also involved in the organisation so the programmes can be bought through the travel agencies. At the end of the visit TOURage team visited the workshop. Further information on the municipality: http://www.spisskyhrhov.sk/en/home.php

In Stará Ľubovňa the Ľubovňa Castle and Museum and its services for disabled was presented by the director of the museum. The Castle has an intriguing architecture and rich history of more than seven centuries. Andrew III, King of Hungary, had it built in the 13th century. From 1412 to 1772 it was impawned to the kings of Poland, and administered by Polish starostas.  Annually 140.000 visitors arrive to the museum. The Museum includes also the castle and the open-air museum. There is special service provided for groups of disabled people (blind and visually impaired people). QR codes are provided for deaf people (Youtube videos are available through them). Open-air museum presents cultural values of ethnically mixed region in northern Spis and north-western Saris. With its character museum presents unique variety of life in this area. There are 25 buildings on exhibition from different parts of the region. The most unique building is a wooden greek-catholic church from Matysová village. The destination is popular among seniors and its accessibility infrastructure is been developed further. Further information on Ľubovňa Museum: http://www.muzeumsl.sk/en/

Hniezdne is a picturesque village located only 5 km to the west of Stará Ľubovňa. This village was first mentioned in writing in 1286, and in the past, it was the smallest royal town of the contemporary Hungary and it was granted an off-license. In Hniezdne the exhibition of Nestville Park is a unique project reviving the tourist industry of the northern Spiš region. Its aim is to depict and show visitors the history, traditional crafts, exceptional skillfulness of people living in this territory as well as tools used in individual time periods. These eras and artifacts are gradually displayed in separate parts of the exhibition.

Nestville Park is an exhibition which bears and revives history and traditions. It represents an unusual and interesting historical cross-section of spirits production and crafts related to processing and storing spirits up to modern times. It cooperates with SOREA hotels and day trips to the Nestville Parks are organized for the seniors who attend to the hotel’s senior programmes.Further information: http://www.nestvillepark.sk/en

SOREA Hotels is operating hotel in Ľubovňa Spas. Through this example the subsidised tourism for seniors was presented for study visit participants. Director, Michal Brejcak presented the Lubovna Hotel which is part of the hotel chain of SOREA. Until 1999 it was used to be trade union hotel, but now operates as business hotel. At the moment Hotel Lubovna is a 2 stars hotel (lowest quality). The quality of food in the restaurant is on high level, friendly price offered for visitors (50 euros for a senior for one week, half board for 20-22 euros for adults). Nevertheless, the number of visitors changes by season and different categories of guests are coming to the hotel:  children, families with children, seniors. It was said that around 5% of their activities are focusing on seniors. Senior stays are co-financed by Slovak government issuing around 10000 vouchers for stays for retired people. One voucher is provided each year, 1/3 of the full cost is covered by the state, the retired people co-finance with 100 euros. It was told that there is 20% discount on price for seniors who want to spend their vouchers in Lubovna Hotel. Huge demands are for Christmas stay of seniors (350 stays already booked for this year). During the stay special activities (e.g. dancing evenings) are also offered for seniors. They also organise events for companies and families. The hotel offers wellness facilities (swimming pool, Finnish sauna, Jacuzzi, special massages) as well as organised trips in surrounding areas. Further information on SOREA Hotels: http://www.sorea.sk   (available only in Slovak language)

Ales Solar, representing local tourism board Northern Spis Pieniny, presented the surrounding Spis tourism area. Ministry of Transport is supporting the creation of local tourism boards and the support is for creating a tourism organisation, financing marketing, and creating strategy. To be clear, this is not a mass tourism region, it is rather based on health. Many mineral springs (over 80 mineral springs), 2 spas, herbs, natural resources (cycling routes are marked in last years – over 200 kms of cycling paths were marked), and religious tourism characterizes the region. Seniors here are perceived as a one important target group. Further information on Spis tourism area: http://www.visitspis.sk, http://www.visitpieniny.sk

A presentation was hold on the preservation and promotion of international wooden path as an example of religious tourism in Slovak-Polish cross-border area. Two topics were presented:  wooden churches on the territory of Presov Region and Maria Pilgrimage places. As wooden churches are reconstructed by the help of EU finances, it is not allowed to purchase any entering fee and this do not allow to register amount of visitors although a special travel agency for the promotion of this wooden churches was created by the arcbishopsy. This agency offer special offers of 1-2-3 days trips, catering and accommodation facilities, meanwhile investing to develop all these facilities. The 3D presentation is available and it is linked to audioguide systems to inform tourists.

During the study visit Carpathian Sky good practice was presented where about the possibilities of amateur astronomy, astro-tourism and sky watching in Eastern parts of Slovak-Polish cross border area were told. Astrotourism was created and introduced to the public. The Carpathian mountains on the Slovak-Polish borders is the place where you can see the Carpathian Sky in silence, peace, darkness. Two books were published on astrobusiness and on the organisation of astrotourism. Astrotourism can help to have longer tourist season, it is cheap, more sustainable tourists can attracted, and observatories can serve not only students but also wider public. The observatory itself is placed in Humenne. They offer special project for seniors: lectures on astronomy which were organised for the local senior club. There is a close cooperation with retired clubs in Humenne and Sena, once a year they visit the observatory. The interest from the side of seniors is growing up, yearly from 6000 visitors around 2200 are seniors. Further information: http://www.astrokarpaty.net

About: TOURAGE is the new project financed by the European Regional Development Fund and made possible by INTERREG IVC programme and it was one of the 82 approved applications among the 355 proposall of the 4th call. It collaborates 12 partners from Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Spain. The Lead partner for the project is Regional Council of North Karelia (Finland).

 

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