Closing EDEN conference in Vigadó

In 2017, the European Commission issued a call for proposal for the eleventh time in the subject of "European Destinations of Excellence" (EDEN).

The goal of the project to be implemented in the framework of the call is to draw attention to the values and diversity of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where the objective of economic growth is pursued in such a way as to ensure the sustainability of tourism.

An excellent travel destination is selected every year in each member country within the project, which receives various prizes. By implementing the project, among others, the European Commission wishes to help ease the effects of seasonality and geographic concentration, promote sustainable models of tourism development, while also encouraging the exchange of best practices and strengthening the professional ties between the award-winning destinations.

The topic of the call, issued and coordinated by the Hungarian Tourism Agency in 2016/2017, is cultural tourism, within which the best destination in Hungary is chosen under the title "In Search of a Muse from the Countryside - Monuments, Travel Destinations, Ingenious Attractions". The goal is to select and award tourist areas and tourism cooperation that welcome visitors by presenting their tourist attractions, associated with their local, tangible cultural offerings, to a high standard. The winning destination will be entitled to use the label "European Destination of Excellence – Hungary's most promising cultural travel destination."

The Hungarian Tourism Agency provides assistance to the development of the marketing tools of the award-winning Hungarian region. Furthermore, the winning region may participate in the 2017 European Tourism Forum, where – along with its European counterparts – it will be presented the "European Destination of Excellence" award. The promotion in international markets is also aided by the opportunity to appear on the joint European portal (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/eden/). As an initiative of the European Commission, the winner can also participate in the networking project assisting the professional cooperation of award-winning destinations in Europe. The winner will be introduced in a Hungarian and English language professional summary and also have the opportunity to feature on this site. According to the call, not just the winner, but runners-up and other participants can also win multi-level promotional contributions, as explained in the Guide for Applicants.

In each member state, the competent organisation responsible for the overall management of tourism or its delegated state-run tourism organisation may submit entries for the Commission's call for proposal. In Hungary the project has been organised since 2006 by Hungarian Tourism Ltd and its legal successor, the Hungarian Tourism Agency).

The implementation of the project

"Hungary's most promising cultural destination" is chosen in a competition.

Applicants were assisted in drafting their entries with detailed information, listing the qualification criteria and other conditions, information days held in the regions in May 2017 and the Help Desk service, operating until the deadline for the submission of proposals on 30 June 2017.

Professional criteria (detailed in the Guide for Applicants):

  • Product management (the quality/diversity/uniqueness of the tourism offerings based on local, tangible cultural values and services satisfying the special needs of various target groups have been developed as well (e.g. family-friendly, child-friendly, teenagers, seniors, the measurement of guest satisfaction, focus on social sustainability aspects).
  • Infrastructure (proper, uniform signs, tourism visitor centres, information services, accommodation supply, the neatness of the destination).
  • Organisational background, partnership (the inclusion of local residents, raising awareness on the importance of local, tangible cultural values among residents, the special development of traditional skills and the transfer of know-how with particular focus on young people, on-site visits).

Multi-stage professional evaluation

The evaluation of the proposals was conducted within the organisational framework of the Hungarian Tourism Agency in its capacity as beneficiary. The formal and multi-stage professional evaluation was performed by the Hungarian Tourism Agency (HTA), the Ministry of National Development, the  Deputy State Secretariat for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Prime Minister's Office and the evaluation team set up by the State Secretariat for Culture of the  Ministry of Human Capacities. Over the course of the evaluation, on-site visits of the applicant regions had also taken place.

Of the seventeen applicants, five are in the finals – the selection of the winning entry is on the home stretch

APPLICANT ORGANISATION

TITLE OF THE PROPOSAL

Gyulai Turisztikai Nonprofit Kft.

GYULA, the historical city of spas – the muse of the BÉKÉS (peaceful) countryside

Irány Pécs Nonprofit Kft.

KULTÚR(K)ALAND (Cultural Adventure)

Szabolcs Szatmár Bereg Megyei Területfejlesztési és Környezetgazdálkodási Ügynökség Nonprofit Kft.

The heritage of Tündérmező - Trail of Medieval Churches in the Upper-Tisza region

Székesfehérvári Turisztikai Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft.

Time travel through the millennia – 3 unique locations, 3 defining eras, 1 complex experience – GorsiumPákozdSzékesfehérvár: IN THE FOCAL POINT

Veszprémi Turisztikai Nonprofit Kft.

Veszprém muses: the four faces of the eternal woman – Muse-um adventures in the city of queens and in the Bakony-Balaton region

 

Applicants in the above table are not ranked in any particular order.

A panel of judges, consisting of tourism professionals and the representatives of professional tourism organisations, will make the final decision on 15 September 2017 at the closing professional conference held at the Pesti Vígadó. All applicant regions, representatives of the media, and representatives of the relevant professional organisations have been invited to the final conference. Here, the destinations with the top five scores awarded during the preliminary evaluation will have the opportunity to introduce themselves, after which the panel of judges will make the final decision in a closed session. When making the decision, the panel will take into consideration the applications of the regions, the evaluations drafted by the Evaluation Committee, the experience gained from the on-site visits and the presentations. The winner of this year's call will be announced at the closing conference.

Alongside the winner of the main award, the Hungarian Tourism Agency will provide multi-layer promotional cooperation for the runners-up and the participants, and a certificate of appreciation will be presented to all participants.