Gauja NP Tourism Cluster with the brand name “Enter Gauja” is created to strengthen tourism destination and enhance its competitiveness in international markets
Gauja NP Tourism Cluster was created in 2012. Today cluster combines more than 50 entrepreneurs, dominantly tourism SMEs, 9 municipalities, Latvian Nature Conservation Agency, National and regional transport companies and Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. All sorts of tourism entrepreneurs are represented in the Cluster. At this moment it is the largest tourism Cluster in the Baltics. Cluster is managed by a Steering group of 12 representatives that is re-elected every 2 years. Cluster members share a common vision for the future - to become the most competitive tourist destination in Latvia outside of the capital city with high quality and specialized tourism precisely segmented for foreign and domestic market throughout the year, which is focused on recreation and activities in nature and historical cultural environment. Cluster members are required to pay member fees which provide initial resources and give a larger motivation to participate in the decision-making process of destination. Since 2012, several marketing activities have been carried out: uniting brand – Enter Gauja – was created with logo and a brand book; Marketing strategy 2013-2019 was developed; a web-page www.enetergauja.com created; photography and video portfolio for each member created; EnterGauja TV created; several new joint products developed, like “EnterManors” and Winter SKI pass; the cluster has participated in several international tourism fairs.
Formation of a cluster require the critical mass of enterprises who are ready for development and have ambitions to grow. The cluster received funding from ERDF Cluster Program. During the 2nd call 414 982,75 EUR. Annual membership fee varies from 190,00 to 350,00 EUR.
Evidence of success
Since 2012, the overnight stays at EnterGauja destination has grown by 30% both for local and foreign tourists. This increase was more rapid than the national average. Gauja National Park has become the second most visited tourist destination in Latvia after Riga, visited by more than 1,000,000 visitors a year.
In 2016, demonstrating the destination competitiveness and development potential, Gauja NP tourism cluster for the second time received support from the National Cluster program.
Several aspects, like social trust and willingness to co-operate, capacity and resources for development of SMEs even the ambitions for growth, capacity and smartness of cluster coordinator, long term-interest and activity, initiatives from majority of partners etc.
Potential for learning or transfer
Benefits of tourism cluster:
• common competitive advantages, unified, strong strategic positioning and branding proposal, destination marketing, image and reputation;
• strong cooperation - business, local government, tourism information centres, universities, non-governmental organizations: the exchange of information, market data;
• knowledge, learning, exchange of experience and know-how;
• joint tourism products;
• enhanced vertical and horizontal cooperation;
• socio-economic system - the business community with a common vision, values, objectives and cooperation giving contribution to the life quality of local communities;
• growth-promoting reciprocal competition;
• strengthened political position for lobbying on a national level or municipal level;
• increased market control - a common way forward in the broader markets;
• shared costs and risks (resources, expertise), including human resources.
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