European Destinations of Excellence

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European Destinations of ExcelleNce, also known by the acronym EDEN, is an initiative launched by the European Commission promoting sustainable tourism development models across Europe. The project is based on national competitions which take place every year since 2006 and results in the selection of a “destination of excellence” for each participating country. Through the awarding of destinations, EDEN effectively achieves the goal of drawing attention to the values, diversity and common features of European touristic destinations. The winners are emerging, lesser known destinations located in the 27 EU Member States, the Candidate Countries and the EFTA/EEA countries.

The objectives of EDEN[edit]

Tourism is a strategic economic activity in the European Union, whose importance is likely to continue to increase in the coming years. It has a great potential as regards contributing to the achievement of several major EU objectives, such as sustainable development, economic growth, employment as well as economic and social cohesion. For achieving these goals the European Commission has launched the EDEN project. Its aims and thus the long-term objectives of the EU could be summarized as follows:

  • to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European touristic destinations
  • to enhance the visibility of the emerging European tourist destinations of excellence
  • to create a platform for sharing good practices across Europe
  • to award and encourage sustainable forms of tourism
  • to turn the less known places in Europe into all-year-round venues and help decongest over-visited tourist destinations
  • to promote all European countries and regions, and
  • to promote networking between awarded destinations for the purpose of other destinations to adopt sustainable tourism

development models.

Selection process of the EDEN destinations[edit]

Every year, the European Commission publishes one call for proposals to offer its support to the national public administrations in charge of tourism in the Member States (as a rule the National Ministries or other public bodies having the same tasks) to take part in the project and organize a national selection procedure. Candidate Countries and EFTA/EEA are admitted as well and will benefit from the same promotional activities as all the EU Member States. Each participating country manages its own selection process during the first half of the year, organising a communication campaign to inform all possible candidates about the competition. Destinations taking part have to show that economically viable tourism has been developed based on each year’s EDEN theme. The winning destinations are those that best reflect the yearly theme and that offer a unique tourism experience, in line with sustainable patterns. In the middle of the year, a winning destination per country is selected on the basis of a set of award criteria established at both European and national level. The names of the winners are then communicated to the European Commission, who is in charge of organising a European Award Ceremony.

The EDEN editions[edit]

Each EDEN edition is developed around an annual theme, chosen by the Commission together with the relevant national tourism bodies. This theme functions as a leitmotif: so far, rural tourism (2007), local intangible heritage (2008), protected areas (2009), aquatic tourism (2010) and regeneration of physical sites (2011) have been the main EDEN themes.

Each of the chosen theme serves to highlight different aspects of European regions’ assets and is related to sustainable development in one way or another, whether from a cultural, economic, local involvement or environmental point of view. EDEN topics provide an opportunity for demonstrating the wealth of diversity Europe can offer, including its natural resources, historical heritage, traditional celebrations, local gastronomy, and so on.

List of EDEN winner destinations[edit]

2011 - Tourism and Regeneration of Physical sites[edit]

  • City of Gmünd / Carinthia ( Austria)
  • Marche-en-Famenne ( Belgium)
  • Pustara Višnjica ( Croatia)
  • Kalopanayiotis ( Cyprus)
  • Slovácko ( Czech Republic)
  • Lahemaa National Park Manors ( Estonia)
  • Roubaix ( France)
  • Municipality of Delphi ( Greece)
  • Mecsek ( Hungary)
  • Stykkishólmur Municipality ( Iceland)
  • The Great Western Greenway, Co Mayo ( Ireland)
  • Montevecchio, Municipality of Guspini ( Italy)
  • Ligatne Village ( Latvia)
  • Rokiškis Manor ( Lithuania)
  • Għarb ( Malta)
  • Veenhuizen ( The Netherlands)
  • Żyrardów ( Poland)
  • Faial Nature Park ( Portugal)
  • Idrija ( Slovenia)
  • Trasmiera Ecopark ( Spain)
  • Hamamönü-Altındağ Ankara ( Turkey)

2010 – Aquatic Tourism[edit]

  • Seelentium (Austria)
  • The Lakes of Eau d'heure (Belgium)
  • Regional Administration Silistra (Bulgaria)
  • Nin (Croatia)
  • Kato Pyrgos (Cyprus)
  • Bystřicko (Czech Republic)
  • Lake Võrtsjärv (Estonia)
  • Saimaa Holiday (Finland)
  • The Grand Site du Marais Poitevin (France)
  • Western Pomeranian River District (Germany)
  • Prefecture of Serres (Greece)
  • Lake Tisza (Hungary)
  • The Westfjords region (Iceland)
  • Loop Head Peninsula in Co. Clare – Kilkee (Ireland)
  • Municipality of Monte Isola (Italy)
  • Sea Resort Jūrmala (Latvia)
  • Zarasai Region – Heavenly Shore on Earth (Lithuania)
  • The Nature Park of the Upper Sûre (Luxembourg)
  • Isla (Senglea) (Malta)
  • WaterReijk Weerribben Wieden – Giethoorn & the wetlands (the Netherlands)
  • The Biebrza Valley and Wetlands – Wildlife Sanctuary (Poland)
  • Geoagiu Băi (Romania)
  • River Kolpa (Slovenia)
  • A Guarda (Spain)
  • Bitlis-Nemrut Crater Lake (Turkey)

2009 - Tourism and protected areas[edit]

  • Biosphere Park Grosses Walsertal (Austria)
  • Viroinval / Viroin-Hermeton Nature Park (Belgium)
  • Belitsa, Blagoevgrad region (Bulgaria)
  • Nacionalni park Sjeverni Velebit(Croatia)
  • Vouni Panagias (Cyprus)
  • Bohemian Switzerland (Czech Republic)
  • Soomaa National Park (Estonia)
  • Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park (France)
  • Petrified Forest of Lesvos (Greece)
  • Írottkő Nature Park (Hungary)
  • Sheep’s Head peninsula (Ireland)
  • Marine Protected
  • Area "Penisola del Sinis - Isola di Mal di Ventre" (Italy)
  • Tervete Nature park (Latvia)
  • Nemunas Delta Regional Park - Unique Terrain of Harmony of Nature, Culture and Tourism (Lithuania)
  • Recreation area and nature reserve "Haff Réimech" (Commune of Schengen) (Luxembourg)
  • Mellieħa and the Hamlet of Manikata (Malta)
  • Park Gravenrode (Netherlands)
  • The Birds Republic in the Warta Mouth (Poland)
  • Apuseni Nature Park (Romania)
  • Solčavsko (Slovenia)
  • The Ebro Delta (Spain)
  • Kars - Kuyucuk Lake Wild Life Reserve (Turkey)

2008 - Tourism and local intangible heritage[edit]

  • Steirisches Vulkanland (Austria)
  • Ath (Belgium)
  • Belogradchik (Bulgaria)
  • Đurđevac (Croatia)
  • Agros (Cyprus)
  • Viljandi (Estonia)
  • Wild Taiga (Finland)
  • Route des vins du Jura (France)
  • Grevena (Greece)
  • Hortobágy (Hungary)
  • Carlingford and the Cooley Peninsula (Ireland)
  • Corinaldo (Italy)
  • Rēzekne (Latvia)
  • Plateliai (Lithuania)
  • Echternach (Luxembourg)
  • Kercem (Malta)
  • Horezu Depression (Romania)
  • The Soča Valley (Slovenia)
  • Sierra de las Nieves (Spain)
  • Edirne (Turkey)

2007 - Best Emerging European Rural Destinations of Excellence[edit]

  • Pielachtal (Austria)
  • Durbuy (Belgium)
  • Sveti Martin na Muri (Croatia)
  • Troodos (Cyprus)
  • Florina (Greece)
  • Örség (Hungary)
  • Clonakilty District (Ireland)
  • Specchia (Italy)
  • Kuldiga (Latvia)
  • Nadur ( Malta)

EDEN 2012[edit]

In May 2011 a call for proposals was launched by the European Commission to support National Administrations in charge of tourism for the purpose of promoting the EDEN destinations awarded in 2007-2011 and for enhancing awareness of the EDEN rationale in trans-national partnerships. 18 countries participate in the project from November 2011 until August 2012: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, France, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Turkey.

External links[edit]