The project partners met for their final steering committee meeting on 24th September in Santiago de Compostela. During this meeting and in the presence of the project adviser for the European Commission, Alan Vella, the partners went through all the project’s results and deliverables and discussed ways of keeping their collaboration going beyond the end of the project. A Long Term Management Agreement will be agreed between partners along the route to help maintain the actions developed in the frame of the project, particularly with regards to the promotion of the route at the national and transnational levels, as well as push for further improvements of those sections not yet fully developed.
For travellers above all else
Travellers are the ones who will benefit the most from the services developed in the frame of the project. The main outcomes of the project are:
- A smartphone app to plan trips along EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route, available on the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS. Geared towards the needs of cycling tourists, this app helps you plan your cycling trip along EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route. The main features of the app are a dedicated route overview with up-to-date information on the route development status, countries and thematic stages’ descriptions, points of interest (POIs guiding you to famous places, hidden gems, magnificent religious buildings and the 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites to discover by bike), interactive maps, a “rewards” section to track your progress by visiting the main POIs on the route and share them with your friends, and useful links to the partners’ websites.
- Bookable offer packages published on eurovelo.com.
- Detailed route information, available on eurovelo3.com and the project partners’ national websites.
In terms of signage, EuroVelo 3 signs have already been put up across the entire route in Belgium and parts of Denmark and France, but have yet to be implemented in Norway, Sweden, Germany and Spain.
To get an idea of what to expect from a cycling trip on EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route, watch the official EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route video! This video has been developed with the input of the project partners and illustrates some of the main assets of EuroVelo 3:
- The culture and history tied to the route: cycling along ancient pilgrims’ paths and paying a visit to various UNESCO World Heritage Sites and buildings of religious significance.
- Diverse and ever-changing landscapes.
- Unique gastronomy and nightlife in the main cities along the route.
But also for professionals
Thanks to the European COSME project, tourism professionals along the route in each country have been engaged. The aim? To put in place a positive framework for the development of cycle tourism along the route even beyond the end of the project! In Santiago de Compostela, more than 70 participants from 10 countries, including local decision makers, tour operators, members of NGOs and interested cyclists actively participated in the Final Conference which took place on 25-26 September 2019.
Another key subject of cycle tourism tackled by the project: UNESCO sites and cycling. The link is not always obvious. With the special support of the University of Central Lancashire, the partners created a manual (downloadable below) for the managers of UNESCO sites to guide them in their desire to welcome cycling travellers in the best way possible. First of all, the manual explains how to conduct a visitor survey with the aim to get a better understanding of their habits in terms of accessing the site, and to develop infrastructures to welcome them. The results of this survey will then provide a basis to propose solutions adapted to the particular needs of UNESCO sites. For example, reducing the number of parking spaces, developing cycle links with public transport, building quality cycle parks or setting up free drinking water points could be the measures put in place by managers of UNESCO sites.
As a result, this project made it possible to take a huge step in improving the EuroVelo 3 – Pilgrims Route in Europe!
This collaboration was carried out as part of a European project co-financed by the COSME programme for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Author(s): Maarten Van Hecke