Nature tourism experts from across the Baltic and Nordic regions discuss the emergence and development of nature-based holidays and how experiential travel is now such an important and often-requested option for our customers today. We see and hear of the latest products to emerge in the sector and expected developments in the future, all part of the journey towards sustainable travel.
Asnate Ziemele, President, Baltic Nature Tourism, Latvia & Estonia
Matijs Babris, President, Latvian Nature Tourism Association
Sylvia Adams, Founder, Amazing Nature Scandinavia, Sweden
Åsmund Bakke, Owner, Folgefonni Glacier Team
Andrew Fairburn – Nordic Tourism Collective, Moderator
Paul Wagner – Nordic Tourism Collective, Moderator
Video recording is available – https://youtu.be/bVzdUyxrgpo?si=gkA2_XIlOWsacHeA
In a recent collaborative effort to boost the export of Latvian and Estonian nature tourism products to Great Britain, our project managers and representatives from the nature tourism community gathered at Latvia’s Radio. Asnāte Ziemele, president of the “Lauku Ceļotājs – Baltic Country Holidays” association, Vents Strautmanis, Andra Marta Babre, and Zaiga Kaire, all from the Latvian Nature Tourism Association, lent their insights to this inspiring project.
The heart of this initiative lies in categorizing these enriching experiences into seven captivating themes: wildlife watching, active tourism, soulful journeys, gastronomic adventures and foraging, nature education, immersive nature photography, and extreme sports activities. Whether you seek the tranquility of yoga by the seashore or the thrill of observing bears from a secluded hide, there’s something for every nature enthusiast.
Dive into these immersive nature tours led by seasoned guides and active tourism instructors, or opt for a more personalized adventure, tracing meticulously planned routes at your own pace. Moreover, relishing nature in a serene manner is an option too, be it through tranquil SPA procedures or meditative practices.
Designed specifically for the British market, the Nat-Tour-Expo project ensures that all information is conveniently available in English. The excitement builds as the first group of tour operators from Great Britain prepares to embark on their Latvian adventure. Foreseeing immense interest from local travelers in Latvia and Estonia, as well as nature enthusiasts worldwide, the stage is set for an exciting journey.
A groundbreaking element of this endeavor is the creation of the Baltic Nature Tourism web platform—the first and only website in the Baltics that seamlessly consolidates nature tourism offerings from Latvia and Estonia. With over 100 diverse and captivating nature tourism services listed on the platform, exploring the natural wonders of the Baltic region has never been more accessible and enticing.
Andra Marta Babre, Vents Strautmanis, Zaiga Kaire, Asnāte Ziemele and Elvis Jansons at Latvijas Radio
Anyone whose company or status meets the developed criteria is invited to participate in the project (ej.uz/bntcriteria). Individuals can also participate in the project, for example by providing the services of a guide or a rental point. Currently, 58 small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as self-employed persons from Latvia and 28 from Estonia, are participating in the project.
During the project, SMEs will be provided with training, for example, on designing a website or social networks, building and selling unique products on websites, creating high-quality photos, videos and texts, as well as other activities to promote product export. Experience exchange trips are regularly organized, and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to participate in tour operators’ exhibitions, marketing, and sales events.
In October 5th we had our 3rd Project partner meeting to share the progress on the joint Latvian-Estonian nature tourism product – https://balticnaturetourism.com/en
Thank you all the partners for the work and effort put in: Lauku Ceļotājs – Baltic Country Holidays, MTÜ Eesti Maaturismi liikmed – Estonian Rural Tourism, Eesti Loodusturismi Ühing – Estonian Nature Tourism Association, Latvijas Dabas Tūrisma Asociācija – Latvian Nature Tourism Association.
So far we have gathered almost 100 nature tourism products from 27 SMEs from Estonia and 61 SMEs from Latvia
Stay tuned for further updates from the NAT-TOUR-EXPO project. We are dedicated to sharing our achievements as we continue this journey. Follow us on Facebook for more updates and insights into Baltic Nature Tourism.
The Latvian and Estonian nature tourism project NAT-TOUR-EXPO started in January this year with the aim of developing a joint Latvian-Estonian Nature Tourism Product adapted to the UK market. The nature tourism product will be based on individual SME nature tourism products, professionally packaged and accessible from an innovative specialized nature tourism web platform linking directly product providers with the market – free independent travellers, specialized interest groups, and tour operator companies specialized in Baltic countries. The nature tourism product will include wildlife and birding holidays, nature photography, soft adventure: hiking, walking, cycling, boating, and also touring programs to include elements and values of nature, e.g., botanical, wildlife spotting, wellness/Spa, food and foraging. This concept meets the current demand in the UK market where nature tourism, escape to nature, rural holidays, outdoors wildlife are on-trend words.
The project will last 36 months and as a result approximately 25 SMEs in Latvia and 25 SMEs in Estonia will be supported with training and sales expertise to develop nature tourism products and services adapted to the UK market. The project will raise the quality of nature tourism products in Latvia and Estonia so that they approach the Scandinavian level and potentially promote the development of the Central Baltic region as a common nature tourism destination for further markets.
Already in the first period, activities involving various suppliers of nature tourism products took place. On May 10 and 11, the Latvian Nature Tourism Association went to Prangli Island in Estonia to meet with project partners, as well as Latvian and Estonian SMEs who provide nature tourism products, and British nature tourism experts (Andy Fairburn, Paul Wagner). The meeting of the project partners was complemented by a bicycle tour and a guided tour of Prangli Island, rich in natural scenery, as well as a trip with sea kayaks to get to know the 1.03 km² small but unique Estonian island of Rammu.
Project budget information: The total budget of the Project is 1 112 592,03 EUR, of which the ERDF Interreg Central Baltic Programme contribution is 890 073,62 EUR.