Cross-Border Framework for Sustainable Heritage Tourism
The South Baltic Region is an area where coastal cultural World Heritage sites, without exaggeration, are unique on the World scale.
The history of the South Baltic Area featuring the playground of Northern European superpowers (including the Hanseatic League) in the Middle Ages and modernity is also unique.
However, the clustering potential of the World Heritage attractions should be better utilized by theming the South Baltic World Heritage sites into routes, ways, or trails aimed to provide a themed experience related to the title:
- the South Baltic heritage port cities and castles
- the South Baltic coastal landscapes (including Ancient and Primeval Beech forests on Rügen Island and Stevns Klint).
The South Baltic World Heritage routes should not be confined to the EU South Baltic Cross-border Cooperation Area, but encompass coastal WH sites in a broader South Baltic Region including Lübeck, Riga and Visby, to mention a few.
The priority is to build joint efforts in focusing on cruise tourism offering a joint South Baltic World Heritage theme, as well as a comprehensive menu of itineraries and experiences.
There exists a good ro-pax ferry connection enabling to develop a South Baltic motorized tourism circuit for tourists interested in the unique South Baltic coastal World Heritage. If there were a yet another ro-pax ferry line linking Gdansk with Klaipeda established, it would be even better.
Shoulder seasons might be particularly attractive as they extend the tourism season from three months to almost half a year. Especially in fall, coastal and island destinations enjoy warmer temperatures than inland ones due to a moderating effect of the maritime climate.
ICT applications of enhanced or augmented reality will play an ever-important role in enhancing visitors' experiences at the South Baltic coastal cultural World Heritage sites.
A key measure of augmented reality systems applied at the World Heritage sites is how accurately in scientific terms they recreate authentic original features of the Outstanding Universal Value and how aptly they integrate augmentations with the real world.
The cutting-edge technologies for digital 3D rendering of the heritage sites are able to deliver accurate virtual reconstruction and a fully representative augmented reality experience to enhance visitor's perception of the heritage property.
On the other hand, Virtual Reality (VR) applications might be useful for experiencing the sites of the South Baltic World Heritage destinations that are closed for visiting like some areas in the Naval Port of Karlskrona or a cruiseshipyard in Wismar.
As a long-term result, the South Baltic seaside heritage-experiential tourism cluster will get stronger and more distinctive comprising seaside resorts, nature areas, coastal cities, World Heritage sites, creative sector outlets, as well as hospitality and tourism service providers sharing a common vision.
There is a very clear added value in coastal and hinterland World Heritage sites since these are the most valuable assets for sustainable tourism development in the South Baltic Region that should be cherished and nurtured ever more.