Transformation of a single point-of-interest site (romantic castle) into a modern area focused on active leisure activities for both tourists and local people
Hluboká nad Vltavou houses one of the most visited castles in the country. However, it was a single point-of-interest site, tourists coming just to see the castle. It was supported by the proximity of the regional capital (České Budějovice is just 10 km to the south). During the early 2000s, the situation started to change, with the aim to create a modern, balanced, and sustainable area for a wide range of visitors that would make people stay longer and enjoy a wider scope of attractions than just a castle guided tours.
Over the past 20 years, many initiatives took place, creating a snowball effect when one incentive inspires others to develop further activities. So after the complete renovation of the castle and the town centre, new initiatives started to appear, wisely incorporating government and regional development strategies. The Vltava river had to be adapted for tourism boat services. As a side-effect, a new marina was opened. And the effort has accelerated until today. Nowadays, Hluboká hosts a golf course, a swimming pool, several active leisure time areas, a museum, ZOO. Moreover, it is connected to regional cycling tracks and the South Bohemian lake system. It results in greatly changed visitor composition - from coach-visits to diverse visitor base, comprising families, active seniors, cyclists, hikers... and, most importantly, Hluboká ceased to be just a half-day stop on the way from Prague to Český Krumlov (UNESCO site) but the destination of its own.
The described good practise is long term success rather than a result of a single initiative. Thus the resources are impossible to assess since they combine public and private funding, spread over many years of implementation.
Evidence of success
The success is not easily measurable since the wide range of activities available in the area makes the measurements difficult. However, the visitor rate even of the castle itself has risen (to around 300K visitors every year) but the success can be seen easily - where you found ruined houses 20 years ago, now you find prospering small restaurant for cyclists, the overgrown weed was replaced with mini-golf and frisbee pitch and the bike stands are where the former coach parking was located.
The local community did not always like the changes, for example, building a golf course caused disgruntlement at the beginning but eventually, even the local residents realized that diversification of the tourism into more attractions (thus less crowded) is more favourable than coach mass-tourism.
Potential for learning or transfer
Even though Hluboká presents a unique combination of factors (proximity of the regional hub, river, castle, relatively well-preserved town centre, the fact of just being in the South Bohemia etc.) the principle of diversification can be applied anywhere. Making use of synergies is an important factor - once something is achieved successfully and people see it works, they might start their own initiatives. That is why it's difficult to assess the funding, many of the activities listed are private venues. For example, the leisure parks appeared as a result of building a cycle path, suitable for children, bikers, skaters... easily reachable by citizens of 10km-away České Budějovice, 100K inhabitants regional capital. Thus, the public investment in the cycle path triggered private investments, today many folds larger than initial public funding.