Date: 8-9 July 2016
Place: Bratislava, Eurovea, Nám. R. Štefánika
DG REGIO biannually organizes the European Summit of Regions and Cities. The 7th event of this series was held in Bratislava in July 2016 in cooperation with the Slovakian National Coordination of EUSDR. It was one of the opening events of the Slovakian rotating Presidency of the European Union attended by several EU countries from different levels of regional policy and public administration. The both professional and political conference discussed the possibilities of regional co-operations and was accompanied by the programme entitled „DANUBE UP”. Here, close to the Danube riverbank stands of the 14 Danube countries – together with the Slovakian regions and innovators – were waiting for the broad public. Parallel podium presentations welcomed the audience focusing on water related issues, including the topics of water management, water protection, aquatic tourism, innovations and start-ups.
Hungary was represented by the professionals of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Danube Museum of Esztergom and the Budapest Waterworks with the coordination of the EUSDR Hungarian National Coordinator and PA3, PA4 and PA5 priority areas. The audience was mostly interested in tourism presentations thanks to the rich supply of Hungarian aquatic tourism like thermal baths, lakes, tourism offers alongside the Danube and Tisza rivers together with active and ecotourism relations. The podium also secured place for the tourism presentations of the Danube countries. Spectators were invited to Hungary with the help of the official image film of the Hungarian Tourism Agency and by the commented photo slide show of a colleague from the Slovakian Tourism Office of the Hungarian Embassy. By the Hungarian stand not only the tourism brochures and EUSDR leaflets, but also the scale-model of a boat-mill and interactive games of the Danube Museum were waiting for the attendants and met with a great success. All ages of the visitors were highly interested in the aquatic tourism products and mostly in all Hungarian regions. The Hungarian tourism offer was well known thanks to the adjacent situation and visitors were turned for our delegation with requests for detailed information. The communication of actualities, novelties and developments is always crucial at the tourism destination market (eg. many Slovakian tourists visited already Esztergom, but only some of them were get familiarized with Danube Museum).
The Hungarian stand had been honoured by the Slovakian Ambassador of Hungary and by the Presidency of Bratislava Self-Governing Region and its Hungarian partner counties. Many other experts and visitors of the event from Slovakia, Hungary and other Danubian countries inquired also about Hungarian water related innovations from the representative of Budapest Waterworks.
The location of the venue and its positioning beside the Danube riverbank was well conceived, the main focus of the event secured perfect opportunities for diverse national introductions. The joint representation of professional (water related innovations) and more popular issues (like tourism) was a well elaborated idea. Accordingly, the visitors had the possibility to get acquainted with innovations and at the same time water management experts could visit the stands in a more informal way. The Summit also showed the force of cooperation between the regions and priority areas (namely PA3, PA4 and PA5) of EUSDR and contributed to the visibility of the Strategy.
Hereby we acknowledge the participation and active contribution of the Hungarian colleagues Ildikó Illés Gróhné (Danube Museum), Gábor Till (Budapest Waterworks), Szilvia Renács (Hungarian Tourism Agency) and also the organization and support of the Slovakian EUSDR national coordination and PA4 co-coordinators.