Former industry sites top sustainable tourism destinations

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Twenty-one destinations from across Europe received the 2011 EDEN Award for exemplary regeneration and promotion of their declining physical sites, at a gala Award ceremony, an exhibition of awarded destinations and an EDEN network meeting. From abandoned mines and disused factories to derelict railways and overgrown farmsteads, these neglected sites once played a key role in European history. Through well-considered sustainable regeneration people can rediscover the past and learn about traditional ways of life. As announced in May this year, Gharb was the winning destination in Malta and Gozo

All destinations have played a key role in reviving their region, bringing new life to run-down cultural, historical and nature sites, and acting as a catalyst for wider local regeneration. The fifth annual celebration of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) initiative under the theme: ‘Tourism and Regeneration of Physical Sites’ is taking place in Brussels on 27 and 28 September. These events are closely linked to the European Tourism Day, which took place on 27 September in Brussels and focused on European Industrial Heritage.

Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship said, “This year’s theme has seen some particularly outstanding examples of imaginative and unusual tourism concepts. In this fast-changing world economy, EDEN continues to highlight the best of Europe’s ingenuity and creativity in tourism. I am pleased with the excellent performance of the tourism industry in 2010 and 2011. To proceed further down this path we need to continue boosting innovation and quality. EDEN is a successful example.”

For further information on the EDEN project and previous recipients of the awards please see

The twenty-one winning destinations in 2011 are

City of Gmund/Carinthia (Austria), Marche-en-Famenne (Belgium), Pustara Višnjica (Croatia), Kalopanayiotis (Cyprus), Slovacko (Czech Republic), Lahemaa National Park Manors (Estonia), Roubaix (France), Municipality of Delphi (Greece), Mecsek (Hungary), Stykkisholmur Municipality (Iceland), The Great Western Greenway, Co Mayo (Ireland), Montevecchio, Municipality of Guspini (Italy), Ligatne Village (Latvia), Rokiškis Manor (Lithuania), Gharb (Malta), Veenhuizen (Netherlands), Zyrardow (Poland), Faial Nature Park (Portugal), Idrija (Slovenia), Trasmiera Ecopark (Spain), Hamamonu-Altindag Ankara (Turkey).

The twenty-six participating countries to date are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey.

Since the launch of the awards in 2007, 98 EDEN winning destinations in 26 participating countries have become a significant presence in Europe’s highly competitive tourism sector. EDEN seeks to promote sustainable tourism development models, giving visibility to emerging locations committed to protecting the environment and supporting local communities as well as preserving and promoting their unique cultural and historical heritage. EDEN also creates a platform for sharing best practice in tourism via the EDEN network.

The EDEN network aims to connect EDEN destinations with national governments and agencies (such as National Tourism Organisations), universities, and similar international networks and promote and share best practice in sustainable tourism. The network aims to become in 2011 an international not-for-profit association with a three-tier management structure: General Assembly, Steering Committee and Working Groups.

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