INTRODUCTION

The Polders of Kruibeke in Belgium, The Broads in England and The Biesbosch in The Netherlands cooperate in the development of sustainable tourism in their areas. This collaboration project is called STEP: Sustainable Tourism in Estuary Parks.

The STEPproject is in its final phase and the results of a great deal of hard work have become visible in the 3 STEP-areas. In this newsletter an overview of the actions of the past 6 months is presented. If you are involved in the next STEPs in the project, have a look at the calendar on the STEP website.

FINAL CONFERENCE STEP, JUNE 6, 2013

On June 6, 2013 the final conference of the STEP project will be held in the Biesbosch. Besides presentations on the results of the project, there will be speakers and workshops around the theme of promoting innovative entrepreneurship. There will be more information about the final conference on the STEP website shortly.

SAVING POLDER STORIES

The Polders of Kruibeke are home to hundreds of stories, which won't be forgotten! Over the last couple of years, we have dedicated time to researching and recording testimonials which help to record the history of the Polders. 
Stories such as Quackery near the Creek or the British World War plane wreck share secrets about the local history and the people inhabiting the polder. Read more!

 

LOVE THE BROADS VISITOR GIVING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED

Businesses are showing their love for the Broads with a scheme that encourages visitors to raise funds for special projects that will benefit Britain's magical waterland.  The last STEP newsletter reported that the Love the Broads campaign was being planned and Wednesday 5th September saw the launch event take place.

The idea is that people who’ve enjoyed a visit can show their appreciation by voluntarily giving a donation to raise money for conservation, education and sustainable tourism projects in the Broads. Visitors will find they have the option to give a very small extra sum on the cost of hiring a boat or cycle, a meal or a cup of tea - or just drop a donation in a collection box. The campaign’s logo – a large heart in a circle – appears on badges that can also be bought to boost funds. Read more.

 

CHARTER FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM FOR THE BIESBOSCH

The Biesbosch National Park has been awarded the prestigious European Charter for Sustainable Tourism. With about 25 stakeholders present in Genk, Belgium, chairman of the Board Harry Wagemakers was given the certificate.

The main strengths listed in the verification report were the principle of zones, electric boating, the large amount of excursions, excellent communication tools, promoting of sustainable behaviour and the innovative aspirations of the Board. Things to work on for the Board in the years to come are a formal representation of entrepreneurs on the Board and developing the limited small scale overnight stay possibilities. 
 

GATEWAY TO THE POLDERS OF KRUIBEKE ON THE DRAWING TABLE

The Agency for Nature and Forests launched a design contest in order to shape one of the four gateways to the Polders of Kruibeke. The assignment includes the creation of an integrated landscape design for the Scheldelei site, the development of outdoor attractions and the drafting of a design for a reception building. 'Water and nature' is the connecting thread throughout the design. It should also come under the headings of 'sustainability' and 'integrated into the wider environment'. From several candidates, three design teams were selected who can elaborate their ideas on paper.  The project will run from 12 November until late February 2013.  The winner will be announced in the spring. Read more.

 

SHARING GOOD PRACTICE VISIT TO THE LAKE DISTRICT NATIONAL PARK

A joint initiative between Wim Van Hooff of NL RNT, Nurture Lakeland and the Broads Authority, approved by the Interreg Authorities as a STEP action, enabled 25 people, to learn more about the Lake District’s Visitor Giving scheme. The participants, many of whom were entrepreneurs from the Biesbosch National Park, the Polders of Kruibeke and the

Broads, visited the Lakes for three days in September. The work excursion included presentations on the scheme and visits to businesses involved in raising money.  Participants also visited projects that had received money from the visitor giving scheme including a community woodland, footpath restoration work and an easy access footpath route.

Feedback from the visit was really positive, the visitors went back inspired and determined to put something similar into practise back at home. The Business Plan that has been prepared for the Love the Broads Visitor Giving Initiative (see earlier in this newsletter) will hopefully be very helpful for our Dutch and Belgian partners.

DESIGN CHOSEN FOR VISIBILITY OF BIESBOSCH GATEWAYS


Stefan Schöng Studio’s design for a better visibility of the Biesbosch gateways was chosen as best design. It consists of cone shaped elements, inspired by the gnawed beaver trees and the buoys found in water. The strength of the design is that elements can be used in all kinds of combinations, from information panels to benches. The elements can also be used in existing situations. This way they can gradually be introduced in the Biesbosch.

Coming winter, signs and information panels will be placed at the 3 gateways. The ambassadors of the Biesbosch will be getting a plague on their wall in the new house style as well. Smit Visser Dekker was asked to take care of the graphics in the new house style. For each main gateway they created a colour palette that matches the colours of the national parks in the Netherlands and they will design icons that can be used everywhere in the Biesbosch.

 

www.step-projects.eu

More information is available at www.step-projects.eu

Disclaimer: This text reflects the author's views. The INTERREG IVA 2 Seas Programme Authorities are not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

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