Tourism flow can sometimes cause harm to heritage objects, rare species and natural habitats. Therefore, to contribute to the balance between heritage protection and sustainable development, tourism flow should be well-considered and organised.

Project’s SIG group in the Vidzeme region (Latvia) met for the second time in the 7th December. This time the meeting was held in the Nature Education Centre “Vecupītes”. The venue is in the Gauja National Park and offers visitors educational activities about the diversity in the protected areas.

The meeting started by the presentation of Vidzeme Planning Region (VPR) – one of the project partners. Specialists of the VPR presented the State of Arts document, what shows the social and economic characteristics of regions’ heritage. One of the main conclusions is that heritage is an important source of the development of the whole region. The inland waterways are suitable for active tourism and have appropriate infrastructure. At the same time region lacks a tourism strategy with an all-around view on unified development of natural and cultural heritage. Moreover, inland waterways lack strong cooperation and unified management authority, what would coordinate the development of inland waterways.

During the analysis VPR selected examples of good practice regarding sustainable development of heritage. All three examples – ferry crossing over the Gauja river in Līgatne, Gauja Raftsmen Festival in Strenči and Interreg Estonia-Latvia Programme project “Riverways” – show good cooperation between different stakeholders to promote both sustainable development and heritage protection.

Participants of the SIG group also discussed practical solutions to improve the management of heritage objects. It is essential that tourism flow to these objects is well-considered and organised, so there is no harm to the heritage and it could be more sustainable. The tourism flow can be organised by building appropriate infrastructure. If it is carefully structured and sustained, the infrastructure both develops tourism objects and helps to preserve significant heritage sites.