Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The first Eden

Sustainable Tourism Spotlight on European Destinations of Excellence Network: Themed as  Best Emerging European Rural Destinations of Excellence.

Nadur (Malta)

Cactus and Maltese landscape © Nadur

Malta is a country boasting high integration of urban and rural landscapes. Among the competing destinations, Nadur was the only locality in the area that successfully met the required qualities and standards of sustainability, holistic management and improvement, and was the first to implement and offer visitors a purely agro-tourism experience. The project succeeded in attracting a diverse range of tourists, from those interested in culture to those interested in rural activities. It is a typical example of an initiative that enshrines the principles of economic, social, environmental and cultural sustainability.

Nadur is situated on the easternmost hill of the island of Gozo, Malta's sister-island. Fresh fruit such as apples, peaches, pears, plums, oranges, lemons and melons from the fields of Nadur are distributed around Malta and Gozo. Nadur also has a plenty of cultural heritage. In fact, several towers such as the Ta' Sopu Tower and Ta" Kenuna Tower are located here. The feast of Nadur, the "Mnarja", celebrated on the 29 June, is considered as festival rooted in Maltese seasonal rituals and customs. Nadur also offers a number of areas of scenic beauty which are unique and rather rare.

The tourism development strategy adopted by the Nadur Local Council comprises activities and projects referring to:

  • Quality of Life;
  • Conservation and enhancing of environmental heritage;
  • Recovery of hidden treasures and cultural spaces;
  • Spurring tourism demand and;
  • Arranging international activities aimed at increasing the know-how on European Policy and in promoting the island.

With a small population of just around 4,700 people and with a great percentage of its territory falling outside the permitted development zone, Nadur succeeded in using its rural area as one of its main assets and thereby creating the first, and possibly only, form of agro-tourism not only in Gozo but in the whole of the Maltese Islands.

Read more at: EDEN WEBSITE
Nadur Website: www.nadur.gov.mt/
Video: WATCH

Kuldiga (Latvia)

Traditional dancers © Kuldiga

Kuldiga, a town in the Kurzeme region (formerly Courland) with its historical part and Valley of the River Venta is known as "The Latvian Venice". Indeed the river flows along the walls of many of the town"s houses.

The vision of the local authorities is to make the old town of Kuldiga an important international tourism destination, with the potential to attract domestic and foreign tourists and contribute to the sustainable development of the town.

The tourism resources of Kuldiga town are based on its historical and cultural heritage and the Venta River which is one of the largest and most picturesque rivers of Latvia. "Ventas Rumba" is the widest waterfall in Europe (240m). Many legends and historical events are connected with it. In ancient times, due to Duke Jacob"s invented devices for catching fish on the Venta waterfall, Kuldiga was considered the place "where salmon were caught in the air". Flying fish shows (jumping salmons over the Venta Waterfall) attract, in springtime, visitors to the town.

The Medieval Historical Centre of Kuldiga on the banks of the River Alekšup-~«te is a unique area. Originally built as the suburb of Kuldiga castle, it is the only ensemble of buildings of this type, on the River Alekšup-~«te, which has remained in the Baltics, from the 17th-18th centuries.

Kuldiga Town Council is aiming to establish a functioning complex of "live museum" in the historical centre of the town, providing:
  • restoration and enhancement of the cultural heritage and encouraging tourists to participate in it, with harmonization of cultural and natural tourism resources;
  • quality tourism services;
  • initiatives on including the town in the UNESCO world heritage list;
  •  environmental and landscape protection and usage to the educational work.

Several projects co-financed by the EU are running in Kuldiga, such as the "Development of the ecotourism infrastructure in the Venta Valley" (NATURA 2000), the development of the cycling infrastructure in the Kurzeme region, including GPS system. In this context, an old red brick bridge over the Venta River will be renovated and pedestrian roads to the Venta Rapids and the town centre will be established.

Read more at: EDEN WEBSITE
Kuldiga Website: www.kuldiga.lv/index.php

Video WATCH:

Specchia (Italy)

Underground mill © Specchia

Specchia is located in Southern Italy (Province of Lecce, Puglia Region), in the heart of the Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca, - the border point separating the Ionian Sea from the Adriatic Sea. It is a site of great natural and cultural value and an important centre for the rural economy in the region.
The local administration has restored and recovered historical and architectural heritage of great value, such as various underground oil mills (caves were once used to produce olive oil) and an old tobacco store in the village of Cardigliano (as Specchia was once a centre for the working of tobacco).

Within Protonobilissimo castle old merges with new, as it now houses a new local multimedia library and a Multifunctional film archive for the European Mediterranean. These projects were realised with the aid of the International Council of Cinema, television and audiovisual Communication of UNESCO (CICT-UNESCO).

Traditional farm activities have been converted into the new officinal herbs sector, maintaining an important historical part of Specchia"s economy. This industry has flourished in Specchia, where it produces and processes the officinal herbs then distributes them into specialized shops.

The quality of life in Specchia is a high level one, thanks to both the interest and activity aimed at preserving the historical, architectural and natural heritage (such as woods and important plants), and the interest and activity of improving its standards in terms of sustainability:

An example of the sustainability effort is the new tourist centre that functions as an ecovillage, as it uses green sources of energy such as an Aeolian set and a photovoltaic field.

Gastronomy is also very important here. Specchia has recovered many of the old recipes and typical products belonging to the rural gastronomic inheritance of the territory, which are highly appreciated by the visitors. At the table, the area of Leuca, including Specchia, is synonymous with Mediterranean diet.

The base products of the gastronomy of this area are similar to the ones of the other Mediterranean basin countries: olive oil, tomatoes, pasta, herbs and vegetables. The differences amongst the cuisines are the way these products are used, the supplementary value that each population attributes to the food and the dishes that are cooked and prepared every day for the joy and delight of the inhabitants and tourists.

Read more at: EDEN WEBSITE

Specchia Website: www.specchia.info/

Video WATCH:

Valere Tjolle

Valere Tjolle is the editor of the Sustainable Tourism Report Suite latest special offer HERE

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