An area of the Gauja river shore in Valmiera city that has been turned into an active tourism attraction in the framework of public-private partnership.
Park of Senses is located in the territory of Valmiera city. The city needed a tourism attraction that can keep visitors busy for at least one full day. The owner of territory is Municipality of Valmiera city and in 2012 it gave the lease rights to Ltd. “Vidzeme Olympic Centre” for five years to create the Park of Senses. In 2013 Park of Senses was opened as a 2,7 km barefoot trail. In 2015 “Vidzeme Olympic Centre” invested 40 293 EUR more to create new attractions and now it consists of a barefoot trail, trail in the trees, zip-lines over the Gauja river, running tracks, spa centre, a hotel and a beach. The active recreation objects take up the total area of 35 000 m2. Visitor numbers are growing each year, reaching 30 000 visitors in 2017.
The tourism attractions are supplemented by several events each year, the most popular (5000 visitors) being “The Magical Night of Senses”, which takes place in the whole territory of the Park with performances by several musicians, chef demonstrations, creative workshops, art exhibitions, theatre and many other artist performances. The Park of Senses is an active member of the regional tourism cluster “Enter Gauja” benefiting from its marketing activities in foreign markets, thus attracting foreign visitors. It is also a member of “Valmiera+” cooperation network operating in the whole destination. The Park of Senses has become one of the most popular active tourism attractions of Valmiera city, developed with support of local government
The main impact for territory development was given from municipality that granted the land for the use of Park.
Total financial investment for the creation and development of the park - EUR 260 000. During the active season 18 people are employed, while in the low-season - 6 employees.
Evidence of success
In 2013 there were 7500 visitors, but in 2015, when new attractions were introduced, the visitor number grew to 25 000.
After five years of successful operations, in 2017 Park of Senses was attended by 30 000 visitors. 35% of the visitors were foreign tourists.
In January 2018, after evaluation of the Park of Senses results as a tourism attraction, Valmiera municipality extend the land lease to “Vidzeme Olympic Centre” for another 5 years.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice is interesting with its location – it is situated in the city. Thanks to the city’s initiative to lend out its territory for commercial use to develop new tourism products, the competitiveness of the destination has increased significantly, giving tourists a reason to stay in the city for a longer period of time. The fact that the Park of Senses is located in the city makes other services more easily accessible to visitors. Therefore, this also benefits other tourism companies in the city.
Tourism products in the Park of Senses are very varied, suitable for children, adults, foreigners, locals.
Using this object for other innovative activities, such as events with special performances, gives additional value to it and attracts more visitors.