Over the past three years, a cross-border network of gardens, historic parks and green spaces has been established with a mutual exchange of knowledge and experience. Common features and distinctive features of the natural and cultural heritage in the respective regions were recorded and presented in the form of stories.
The focus is on learning from each other
In Lower Austria, the association "Die Gärten Niederösterreichs", founded in 2007, deals with the environmentally conscious, healthy and sustainable development of visitor gardens in the province of Lower Austria. "Our two core objectives are the positioning of the province of Lower Austria in international garden tourism and the communication of ecological garden ideology," says Reinhard Kittenberger, chairman of "The Gardens of Lower Austria", who emphasises the sustainable benefits of the Interreg project GrünRaum: "This project gave us the opportunity to learn from each other, to set new impulses and to draw visitors' attention to what is on offer in the cross-border project region.
Christoph Madl, Managing Director of Niederösterreich Werbung, emphasises the excellent development of Lower Austria's tourism: "With cross-border projects, such as the Pop-Up Garden, we are trying to keep our garden offer attractive in the future as well and to take innovative paths". The Czech Republic has developed into one of the most important foreign markets for Lower Austria. Over the past 10 years, the number of overnight stays by Czech guests has more than doubled. "In 2018, we registered 136,000 overnight stays by tourists from the Czech Republic.
"Our long-term motivation is to exploit the growing interest in the natural and cultural wealth of historical gardens and parks and to use their great potential to develop sustainable cross-border tourism," says Pavla Pelánová, Managing Director of the South Moravia Tourism Centre.
A handbook for garden tourism
As a scientific project partner, the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems contributed its expertise and analysed profiles and requirements of different types of garden visitors. Based on the findings, a handbook containing quality criteria was developed, which serves as a basis for further product developments. "With this handbook we provide guidance on how the quality of experience of gardens and parks can be increased and garden tourism can be further developed as an economic factor", says Claudia Bauer-Krösbacher, Head of Tourism and Leisure Management at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems.
The GrünRaum project was funded within the framework of the EU programme "INTERREG V-A Austria-Czech Republic".