Västra Götaland Region made good progress during Phase 2 in the implementation and monitoring of the Cult-RInG Action Plan,
regarding upgrading actions for St Olav Ways Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in west Sweden
Extended membership in ACSOW (Association of Cultural Route of St Olav Ways) for 2019-2020.
The Region of Västra Götaland is a member of ACSOW and paid the membership fee of 5 000 EUR for the year of 2019. - The Region of Västra Götaland is a member of the ACSOW steering board and meetings were arranged in Trondheim, Gothenburg, Copenhagen during 2019. Action 2 - Continuous co-operation with Cultural Route Manager of St Olav Ways. There is a missing link of the European Cultural Route of St Olav Ways, to connect Norway and Denmark. One possible route is the route in the Region of Västra Götaland and Region of Värmland. To make this possible, effort has been put into finding the most pragmatic and strategically best suited route. Co-operation with partners from Norway and the Region of Värmland has started successfully. - Stakeholder meeting with route managers of routes in Norway and the Region of Värmland, May 20th 2019. - Meeting with Route Manager in Gothenburg, September 2nd 2019.
The Saint Olav Way as a part of strategic documents
During the implementation phase of the Cult-RinG project, the work to fulfill the action to involve the Saint Olav Way as a part of strategic documents, has been prioritized. The timing for this work was right during 2019, since the process to bring forth the Regional Cultural Plan 2020-2023 (the St Olav Ways co-ordination and development is a mission from the Regional Cultural Board) and the The Regional Development Strategy 2021-2030 is on-going.
Meetings with regional politicians, participation in several workshops and focusgroups in the Region Västra Götaland, being a referral body for the two policy documents, lobbying by showing success factors and effects of route development in municipalities and so forth, are examples of how the Cult-RinG project has influenced the regional policies.
But more important, to be successful in the work with developing a sustainable St Olav Way, is to anchor politically the route in strategies in the municipalities along the route, since it is locally the work must be done, financed, organized and municipal administrations must be involved and engaged. Therefor, a significant part of the project time during 2019, has been to invole, inform, meet local actors and municipalities. The indicator for partner 3 in Cult-RinG is number of municipal development plans where the importance of tourism is seen in connection to Cultural Routes.
Develop a new framework for a sustainable regional (and municipal) organisation and financing model
One spin-off effect of the Cult-RinG project is that the Region Västra Götaland started to prioritize and discuss nature tourism and specifically the importance of sustainable and attractive hiking routes for visitors and citizens. This resulted in a pilot project to have regional hiking routes and a regional management organization for these routes, where the St Olav Ways are one route. Effort is put into this, since it is very important to have all affected regional administrations (Environmental Board, Cultural Board, Regional Development Board, Public Transport Board) to support the routes and its organization.
Several meetings with the different boards, its piloticians and adminstrations, have been actions fulfilled 2019 and will go on 2020, to inform and with the aim to affect the policy documents.
A film clip and presentation material were produced within the Cult-RInG project, to inform and convince stakholders about how and why sustainable routes, such as the St Olav Ways, are importand for local groth and development.
In the summer 2019 Region Västra Götaland had a visit from Jose Luis Maestro Castiñeiras, Director de Competitividade, Turismo de Galicia, Xunta de Galicia, to present their monitoring report of their pilgrim route and share experiences about development and management.