The Lodzkie Horse Trail is a tourist (amateur or pro) horse trail covering the area of the Lodzkie Voivodeship, linking urban and rural areas
In the assumption of its creators, this project, while promoting the newly created horse trail in connection with the existing routes in the region (cycling, pedestrians, water) should contribute to the formation of the so-called „belt of active tourism”, addressed to various segments of tourists.
The Lodzkie Horse Trail is a tourist (amateur or pro) horse trail covering the area of the Lodzkie Voivodeship. The length of 1817 km makes it the longest route of this kind in Europe.
The biggest investment of the Lodzkie Horse Trail is the complex on in Łagiewniki Forrest near Łódź. In addition to the function of a parking space, its buildings on a plot of 3.76 hectares house the Management Center of the Trail.
The key factor in promotion of the project was the website wsiodle.lodzkie.pl and mobile apps, which allow a shooth and undistrubed usage of the trail.
Moreover, the trail is equipped with Tourist Information and Monitoring Sites - self-service points where every tourist can plan his or hers horse journey. In the region there are 30 TIMS, equipped with a wireless access point, VoIP telephone, multifunction device, monitoring camera, color printer, chargers set, popular portable devices, GPS information and navigation devices acting as e-guides and GPS monitoring devices for the tourist and horse
The project was funded by the ERDF Funds 2007-13 within the OP Innovative Economy Poland. Tutal value of the project: 7.93 M EUR, total value of ERFR funding: 3.85 M EUR.
The project required a dedicated team of 2-3 persons to run but with a different engagement level
Evidence of success
• The number of local businesses engaged in the project
• increase in the importance and recognition of the "Lodzkie" brand thanks to the creation of the first in Europe horseback tourism trail with such a large geographical and infrastructural range,
• raising the level of competitiveness of tourist infrastructure through a holistic approach to a tourist product, created at a high level of uniqueness, creating business and social environment that is friendly to local entrepreneurs
• Construction of new roads in the region which caused the need to change the course of the trail and passages safe for horses
• Difficulties with the implementation of the IT system
• Quick changes in technology, which resulted in the need to adapt the project to these changes
Potential for learning or transfer
The involvement of the local actors seems to be the key innovation of the project, thought which a social innovation in the rural areas is being achieved.
Also, a technological innovation has been put in place. Traveling on the Łódź horse trail, it is easy to find one of 21 parking spaces that will ensure a comfortable rest and relaxation. They constitute the main element of the new infrastructure of the route and are located on its various sections. They were equipped with everything necessary during stoppages and rest, including equines, pens, places of bait for horses and sheds and gazebos.
Other potentially interesting factors:
1. it forces interactions between the public and the private as a key success factor,
2. it spreads popularity of a pretty niche sport among wider public
3. in introduces use of modern technologies into amateur sport and tourism
4. the project creates a unique tourist product, that is outstanding on the European scale
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