Craftsmanship as Tourism Product without Borders (LLI-539 Tour de Crafts)

Latgale Planning Region as a Lead Partner, together with 5 project partners – Preili County Council (LV), Balvi County Council (LV), Dobele Adult Education and Business Support Centre (LV), Anykščiai Art Incubator – Art Studio (LT) and Panevėžys District Municipality Administration (LT) – is implementing project of the Interreg V-A Latvia – Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020, which directly contributes to the Programme Priority 1: Sustainable and clean environment through cooperation, and its Specific Objective 1.1. To increase number of visitors to the Programme area through improving and developing cultural and natural heritage objects, services and products.

The overall project objective: stimulate sustainable use of traditional skills in craftsmanship by preserving and promoting it as a common feature and joint tourism product of the cultural and historical heritage of the Latvia-Lithuania cross-border area that could attract the interest of tourists.

Project implementation period: July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022.

Total projects size is 816 946,72 EUR. Out of them co-funding of European Regional Development Fund is 694 404,70 EUR. (LP – 143 660,00 EUR, PP2 – 230 396,00 EUR, PP3 – 166 126,00 EUR, PP4 – 93 780,00 EUR, PP5 – 81 797,76 EUR, PP6 – 101 186,96 EUR).

Project will be targeted at the sector of craftsmanship and local craftsmen and artists as preservers and promoters of local cultural heritage and traditions of Latgale and Zemgale regions in Latvia and Utena and Panevežys counties in Lithuania. Project is designed to tackle two main challenges faced by the sectors of craftsmanship and tourism on both sides of the Latvian-Lithuanian border – (1) development of a competitive product and service in craftsmanship that could attract an interest of potential tourists, and (2) remoteness and fragmentation of local services offered in the sector of craftsmanship thus leaving their tourism potential unattended. Therefore, project will encourage existing and potential local craftsmen and artists to use traditional skills, eco-innovative initiatives and local resources in developing products and services that are creative and modern and could attract the interest of visitors and will link local craftsmanship offers in one joint tourism product Tour de Crafts offering potential visitors a wider range of activities and joint marketing for their attraction. This will be done through 2 intertwined blocks of activities:

  1. Capacity building in craftsmanship for local craftsmen including (1) theoretical trainings on latest tendencies in tourism, branding and being visible and recognized online and digital solutions for attracting audience, (2) creative workshops for creating products that are unique for this cross-border area, modern and developed using traditional skills, local resources and eco-innovative initiatives, and (3) art fairs for presentation of the results of creative workshops, exchange of experience and networking.
  2. Development of Tour de Crafts including (1) development of the concept and branding for a new cross-border tourism product in craftsmanship, (2) development of digital exhibitions promoting craftsmanship at 2 partner sites, (3) improvement of equipment for organisation of creative workshops and public masterclasses in craftsmanship indoors and outdoors, as well as for displaying crafts products and organisation of art fairs for 4 project partners, (4) improvement of infrastructure at 3 existing sites of cultural and historical heritage – Preili Manor complex, Balvi Manor and Upytė Craft Centre in Panevežys County – that as an object will serve as a point of attraction for tourists and will host creative workshops, craft exhibitions and digital activities, (5) organisation of creative workshops for wider public targeted at specific groups of local inhabitants and tourists such as children, youth, families, seniors and persons with disabilities, etc.

These activities will be supported by series of communication activities including promotion of the developed Tour de Crafts in the form of visual stories and short videos through the communication channels of the project partners and through media advertising, as well as will promote Tour de Crafts with the help of printed information and marketing materials and small souvenirs distributed during project events – trainings creative workshops and art fairs.

The Interreg V-A Latvia – Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme 2014-2020 aims to contribute to the sustainable and cohesive socio-economic development of the Programme regions by helping to make them competitive and attractive for living, working and visiting. The webpage of the Programme: www.latlit.eu. Official EU webpage: www.europa.eu.

This project is funded by the European Union. This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Latgale Planning Region and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.