Applicable to the Strand 2 – Measure 2.1 "Town-Twinning”
The project involved 300 citizens, notably 20 participants from the city of Budapest XVIII. borough (Hungary), 20 participants from the city of Orosháza (Hungary), 20 participants from the city of Harkány (Hungary),20 participants from the city of Bicske (Hungary), 20 participants from the city of Jászkarajeno (Hungary), 20 participants from the city of Tesedikovo (Slovakia), 180 participants from the city of Bãile Tușnad (Roumanie)
The event took place in Bãile Tusnad, Roumanie, from 05/02/2015 to 08/02/2015.
On February 5th 2015 at 5 p. m. the meeting on touristic issues in Baile Tusnad started with the festive opening. Beside the representatives of the partner localities, the meeting was honoured by the consul of Hungary in Miercurea Ciuc, the president of the Harghita County Council and one of our MPs, which all welcomed this initiative within a European program, as a means to bring together European citizens.
After the welcoming speech of the Mayor of Baile Tusnad, the vice mayor presented the contents of the meeting, the general and concrete targets of the Europe for Citizens program. The representatives of the participating localities made a brief presentation of the own community and got acquainted with each other. The common dinner was preceded by a cultural event with participation of local performers and of the partner communities.
On Friday, February 6th 2015, the project went on at 10 o’clock with a walk around. The past and present of Baile Tusnad, its touristic highlights were presented by a well-trained guide with a few anecdotes on the side. The walk started at the touristic information office of the town, continuing along the mineral water road, passing by a few mineral springs and recently refurbished hotels. The presentation was supplemented with histories of old residences, legends of the surrounding mountains and forests. The next visited was the local ski slope, it was the mayor who offered information to those interested. Finally it was the wellness centre where they met the management and obtained information on the everyday business practice. The management emphasised the importance of this well-going touristic enterprise in the economic balance of the community.
At 3 p. m. begun the presentation of the touristic characteristics of each partner community. It was quite a long series of presentations where leaders and/or specialists working in tourism presented the actual situation and offer in tourism, the achievements, plans and problems to be solved. In a good working atmosphere the participants changed experience, looked together for solutions and made first proposals for a future collaborating in tourism. The conference was moderated by a tourism specialist from the area, who offered information and solution proposals and put questions which made the talks even more interesting.
After a coffee break it was the turn of the civic organisations to take the word. The issue of the discussions was ”The role of civic initiative in the touristic development of communities”. Representatives of Baile Tusnad and of the guest communities presented the activity of the civil society which may be of great importance in a community’s life. They presented the way civic organisations bring their contribution to the development of their community and to the solving of problems. All participants agreed that the civil society has to be involved in some way in the decision making on local level. The local authorities and the civil society should collaborate in order to achieve a greater development of the community.
The cultural program of the evening consisted of the local folkloric group presenting traditional winter-ending ceremony, which is called “winter burial”. Although there was heavy snowfall, the program started in open air at 7 p. m. Music, dances, jokes and fun made everyone to forget about the cold. Doughnuts, lard bread, oven baked potatoes with cheese are the typical menu of this carnival period. The puppet symbolizing the winter darkness was burned among standing ovation and the party went on till midnight.
On Saturday, February 7th 2015 the day was dedicated to the gastronomic show. Hobby-cooks and professional chefs from all participating communities started early to prepare for the evening. The local boarding houses gave place to the cooking teams. In the mean time, the representatives of the partner communities followed de 20th Meeting of the Church Choirs in the Lower Csik Region. Before the gastronomic show begun, there was time for a round table about community marketing and image, talks between representatives of the local administrations, civil society and entrepreneurs. Issues like developing community image and brand, which means are available and how to use them with maximum efficiency were discussed in a specialist-led round talk. The audience could express their ideas and questions, too. At the end of the panel the representatives of the guest communities presented their suggestions to the local administration on how to build up one’s touristic image and shared their experience on how to manage problems. The gastronomic show started at 5:30 p. m. with a lot of tastefully presented delicacies. There was the perfect ambience for small circle talks about different issues involving accommodation and catering of tourists as well as leisure offer. They remembered the gastronomic programs held a few years ago in Baile Tusnad, where some of the actual partners were already present. After tasting the gastronomic specialities the participants assessed and evaluated them. The closing of the day was an intercultural evening; the participating communities presented each a program with their traditional folk dances and songs.
On Sunday February 8th 2015 the participants shared a common breakfast followed by a round talk about present and future of the European Union, with special emphasis on the results of the last EP elections and their impact on the future of local communities.
A special importance was given to the possibilities of cooperating of the partner communities in the tourism business. They all agreed that links have to be tightened, deficiencies to be eliminated and the whole activity must involve larger extent of citizens and enterprises. The contacts between communities in different EU countries should be built on all levels, including the civil society, enterprises, cultural and educational organisations, churches, each sharing experiences with others thus contributing to the upswing of tourism. It is, as before, of great importance to jointly participate in tenders. Some of the participating communities are already preparing common projects within the program Europe for Citizens.
The leaders of the partnering communities made a short summary of the meeting, which was video recorded and will be included in the video report of the program. More photos and videos about the event you can find on the event’s website www.tusnadfurdo.info/eu, or on the facebook social network: https://www.facebook.com/europajovoje.