Dissemination activities after the SPOT project’s completion

Following the completion of the project SPOT – Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations – we have allocated our savings towards conducting dissemination activities. Consequently, we have showcased our accomplishments at various conferences, including the Congress of Polish Geography, the AESOP 2023 Annual Congress: Integrated Planning in a World of Turbulence, and the 6th International Conference on Events ICE2023: Making Waves in Events. Additionally, we have published and contributed to the following papers and reports:

The SPOT project contributed to another European initiative, CREDinGREEN – Responding to Tourism Market Changes Caused by Covid-19 and the EU Green Deal through Micro-Credential-Certified Upskilling of SME Tourism Managers. Our aim was to explore how sustainable tourism planning and development can support the objectives of the European Green Deal. Within the SPOT project community, we believe that education and learning are pivotal in driving the green transition of Europe, with a particular focus on European tourism destinations. Therefore, the primary objective of our educational activities was to raise awareness among students, educators, and practitioners about the challenges associated with the spatial planning of tourism destinations and to prioritise sustainable development goals.

Colleagues from Mersin University, namely Yasemin Sarıkaya Levent, Ezgi Şahin, and Tolga Levent, recently published a paper titled “The Role of Tourism Planning in Land-Use/Land-Cover Changes in the Kızkalesi Tourism Destination.” Dissemination of the Turkish case within the SPOT project has been targeted by this publication. The goal of this article was to investigate the role of tourism planning processes in the spatial development of tourism destinations. The study conducted in Kızkalesi highlights deficiencies in policy, strategy, and spatial planning frameworks in directing and controlling Land-Use/Land-Cover changes. These deficiencies are not exclusive to Kızkalesi but may be relevant to other rapidly expanding small-scale tourism destinations.

On February 1, 2024, the European Commission unveiled the publication “Building hope: Europe’s solidarity with Ukraine.” Dissemination of 15 impactful Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps projects committed to aiding those affected by the war in Ukraine was the goal. We are proud that the SPOT project has been recognised as an exemplary practice. In response to the influx of refugees from Ukraine, the SPOT project, in collaboration with partners Faculty of Geographical Sciences at the University of Lodz, OpenStreetMap Poland, Polish Geographical Society, SoftwareMill, and Lodz.Travel, organised the MapoFaktura 2022 event. The objective was to evaluate the Lodz region’s capacity to temporarily host migrants using tourism facilities. The project empowered future tourism professionals with spatial data analysis and crisis management skills. It tackled geopolitical and socio-economic challenges, taking into account local needs and infrastructure accessibility. The territorial capacity to host migrants in the region of Lodz was thoroughly examined, considering the needs of local populations and the communication accessibility of discussed infrastructure. These remarkable achievements were recently showcased during the GeoNight international initiative.

Module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations on the BUP course platform

The module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations has already been published on the course platform of the Baltic University Programme. Enjoy open lectures and supplementary materials for students and teachers. For more, visit also our Repository. The module was prepared by Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała (ULODZ).

The open module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations was designed to achieve learning outcomes in the field of spatial planning of tourism destinations. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about various issues of spatial planning in tourism destinations, e.g., seasonality, overtourism, gentrification, tourist ghettos, tourism hypertrophy. Basic knowledge of spatial planning, sustainable development and tourism would be an advantage of the students. However, for those of participants who are out of mentioned fields, the sources of requested initial knowledge will be recommended.

Lectures of the module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations

The module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations consists of the following lectures accompanied by quizzes:

  • The first lecture starts with the introducing most crucial notions, including: sustainable development, sustainable tourism, and sustainable spatial planning.
  • The challenges of sustainable spatial planning in tourism destinations are the focus of the second lecture. Tourism is a spatial phenomenon. It both uses and shapes the landscape, as well as utilizes and affects social, economic, cultural, and political relations embedded in places visited by tourists. What is important, spatial impacts of tourism might be challenging for tourism destinations, or even have a negative consequences.
  • During the third lecture both policy and decision support tools which can be used in sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations are presented.
  • During the fourth lecture the results of Polish case study of the project SPOT are presented. The results of another project conducted by Tomasz Napierała and Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and their seminar students are also discussed. This is to understand real challenges we meet when trying to apply sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations.

The course on sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region

The module about sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations is an element of the course on sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region. The course aims to provide a basic but comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the origins, applications, analyses and examples of sustainable tourism with a specific regional focus on the Baltic Sea. The course has both an interdisciplinary and interregional focus and is designed to give the learner a broad but still focused introduction to the topic with socio-political, economic and environmental viewpoints. The topics that will be covered in this course include the introduction of sustainable tourism, its stakeholders, challenges and theories. Numerous examples will be given, including cases and specific aspects of the topic. The course is a regional cooperation between many researchers across the Baltic Sea Region, including those from Sweden, Finland, Ukraine and Poland. The course consists of four modules:

  • An introduction to sustainable tourism
  • Aspects of sustainable tourism
  • Sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations
  • Examples from the field

Education for events – events for education: Educational events within the SPOT project’s framework

Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała (both from University of Lodz) had an opportunity to present findings from the project SPOT during 6th International Conference on Events ICE2023 “Making waves in Poland | Transformational events”. The goal of the SPOT presentation was to evaluate how educational events might stimulate development of sustainable tourism. Understanding of local communities (their cultures, traditions, heritage, and environment, but also recent issues), is substantial when prioritising sustainable development goals. Thus, education becomes a focal point of future tourism.

Educational tourism beyond sustainable tourism priorities

Type of tourismEducating locals about…Educating visitors about…Priorities
Mass tourismQuality of hosting touristsMain tourist attractionsProfit of tourism industry
Sustainable tourismRediscovery own identityLocal natural and cultural heritageJoint understanding; Protection of local heritage
Educational tourismEngagement of tourists into local actionsContribution to local developmentJoint contribution to development of local culture, society, nature and economy
Source: own elaboration.

Educational tourism might contribute to development of destinations even more than sustainable tourism in a common sense. Learning places by educational events enables not only understanding localities by visitors, linking cultures of hosts and guests, but also contributing to local development, including cultural, social, environmental and economic contexts. However, organisation of the educational events targeting local context successfully requires a lot of efforts of organisers, locals and visitors.

The case of educational events within the SPOT project’s framework

The case used in this research were three events: study visits organised within the framework of the SPOT project and granted by Erasmus+ Programme. The study visits were organised in three different locations and dates: 1) Mersin (Turkey) – December 6-10, 2021, 2) Peniche (Portugal) – May 9-13, 2022, and 3) Turin (Italy) – September 19-23, 2022. The goal of each study visit was to work with students and cooperate with local actors towards solving spatial planning issues of selected local tourism destinations. Students representing five different universities participated in the study visits: University of Lodz (Poland, leader of the SPOT project), Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway), Mersin University (Turkey), Politécnico de Leiria (Portugal), and Politecnico di Torino (Italy). Scientific support was offered by the researchers from Institute of Geography and Spatial Organisation of Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland). The method applied to address research questions and evaluate study visits were focus group interviews conducted by the researchers with all students who participated in study visits.

Some students said during group interviews:

Meeting with locals was impressive. (…) we had a lot of information from them. The meeting was the best part of the trip. It was very useful for our further studies. However, the program was intense, so the meeting duration was limited.

Other group emphasized:

Meeting with local actors was one of favourite parts of a study visit. We found it very useful and learned a lot about stakeholders from it. Although the mayor hardly expressed his opinion.

Successful educational events

Successful educational events contributing to sustainable development of tourism destinations must directly relate to the issues of tourism development. Participants of those events are eager to learn about the places visited, to meet with locals (we might call it ‘responsible consumption of visited places’) and are ready to propose and discuss solutions for any issues diagnosed in visited places (this should be recognised as a real involvement and contribution of visitors). To achieve the goal of joint contribution of locals and tourists to local development, participants of those educational events must be prepared in advance. Thus, it is easier to approach demanded goals when including those events into educational programmes. But, during investigated educational events, the focus on local context is a must for participants. This confirms the efficiency of place-based learning, or geographically embedded problem-based or project-based learning. This means that #GeographyMatters.

GastroMap of Lodz – SPOT celebrates 600th birthday of the city

GastroMap of Lodz – we’ve got it! On July 29, 2023 we are celebrating 600th anniversary of granting city rights to the city of Lodz. GastroMap of Lodz is the gift of the Polish community of the SPOT project to the city of Lodz: its inhabitants and visitors.

GastroMap of Lodz is the result of 4th edition of MapoFaktura event held on April 14, 2023. This year, the participants of the event updated OpenStreetMap with the information about gastronomy services in the city of Lodz. MapoFaktura was also part of the GeoNight international initiative. Participants had the opportunity to take part in interesting workshops with the experts: editors of OpenStreetMap, GIS scientists, and spatial data analysts. MapoFaktura was organised and supported by the Faculty of Geographical Sciences of the University of Lodz, the SPOT project, the Tourism Geography Commission of the Polish Geographical Society, the OpenStreetMap Poland, Lodz Tourist Organization and TomTom company.

GastroMap of Lodz and the MapoFaktura event were contributed mostly by students of the tourism and recreation master programme at the University of Lodz. As the goal of the MapoFaktura was to create GastroMap of Lodz, students had to engage in work long before the event. Data on gastronomy in Lodz had to be collected, updated, validated and delivered to all participants of MapoFaktura event. The event itself had to be organised and promoted.

GastroMap of Lodz

The conclusions drawn from the analysis of GastroMap of Lodz are extremely interesting. First of all, the high concentration of the gastronomic services in the city centre (mainly on Piotrkowska Street) was confirmed. But a significant number of those entities were evidenced also in the so-called sub-centres of the city – clusters of various functions, including gastronomic services, which have developed in the areas of large housing estates: Retkinia, Widzew Wschód, or in the Górna district.

Along with the discussion about sustainable development, we see the increase of awareness of the importance of what and how we eat. In this context, vegetarian and vegan cuisine are starting to play an important role. It is already confirmed that reducing meat consumption contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, from the perspective of sustainable development of Lodz, the availability of vegan and vegetarian offerings in the gastronomy services is important. Now, look at GastroMap of Lodz. Restaurants offering meat-free dishes are located mainly in the centre of Lodz. However, vegan and vegetarian cuisine is also available outside the central district, mainly along the primary communication routes.

Restaurants offering local, regional or Polish dishes have been operating in Lodz for a long time. They do not constitute the majority, but they guarantee residents and tourists access to dishes typical of the city, region or country. Importantly, this access is quite common outside the city centre. At GastroMap of Lodz we can find small gastronomy entities offering home cooking dishes prepared from products supplied by local food producers. This is very important in the context of the European “farm to fork” strategy. Its aim is not only to increase organic production. It is also important to reduce the environmental and economic costs associated with food transport. Consumers’ interest in local culture and identity, of which cuisine is a very significant part, is also important.

Intensive study programmes – the future of geographical, tourism, and spatial planning education

On Friday, June 2, 2023, Tomasz Napierała presented educational achievements and experiences of the project SPOT – Sustainable Spatial Planning of Tourism Destinations, during the educational session of the Congress of Polish Geography. The goal of the presentation was to assess the potentials of intensive study programmes for the future development of geographical, tourism, and spatial planning education. The presentation was prepared by Tomasz Napierała and Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (both affiliated to the University of Lodz).

The idea of intensive study programmes – study visits of the SPOT project

Three study visits were carried out during the SPOT project in three different locations and dates: 1) Mersin (Turkey) – December 6-10, 2021, 2) Peniche (Portugal) – May 9-13, 2022, and 3) Turin (Italy) – September 19-23, 2022. From the educational perspective, all of them should be considered as intensive study programmes. The study visits were attended by students representing five different universities: University of Lodz (Poland, leader of the SPOT project), Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway), Mersin University (Turkey), Politécnico de Leiria (Portugal), and Politecnico di Torino (Italy). The scientific partner of the project was the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The purpose of each study visit of the SPOT project was to involve students in delivering solutions for spatial planning issues identified in tourist destinations, and to increase the sustainability and resilience of the investigated areas. These study visits were based on the ideas of collaborative learning, problem-based learning, and project-based learning. The optimal programme of the study visit developed during the SPOT project consists of:

  • day 1 – reception of participants; lectures introducing and explaining the problem to be solved by students; task assignment and grouping of students and tutors;
  • day 2 – visit to the research area; focus group interview with stakeholders of the research area;
  • day 3 and 4 – workshops: stakeholder analysis (using GIS), participatory SWOT analysis, policy recommendations writing; teamwork of students to deliver an assignment;
  • day 5 and after the study visit – students’ presentations for the stakeholders of the research area; review, revision and publication of students’ reports.

Focus group interview was the method used to assess the educational effectiveness of intensive study programmes. Interviews were conducted with all students who participated in the study visits. The purpose of the interviews was not only to assess the educational effectiveness of the SPOT project’s study visits – intensive study programmes, but also to develop it. As a result, the learning outcomes increased from visit to visit.

What have the students learned during the SPOT project study visits?

They could increase the knowledge about the spatial planning system of the research area, but also about the geography of the study area. Students appreciated better understanding of the culture of the study area, but also of cultures of places where other students came from. After study visits they emphasized better understanding of the core concepts like sustainable development, sustainable tourism, and sustainable spatial planning. Young people appreciated the information about the role and importance of international institutions in the development of sustainable tourism or sustainable spatial planning (e.g., European Commission, UNESCO).

What skills and competencies have the students developed thanks to participation in the SPOT intensive study programmes?

They observed increase of their skills needed for efficient teamworking. Increase of both English language skills and intercultural competences were appreciated by the students. Teamworking in international group allowed students to understand how to better organize their working time as the team, and individually within the team. Also, students increased their ability to work under time pressure. The character of the study visits (‘locals talking’ sessions and local seminars) allowed students to better cooperate with stakeholders in the research area. The SPOT project’s focus on research excellence made students eager to integrate scientific approach with the practice of sustainable spatial planning, and to use an integrating, interdisciplinary approach based on methodological triangulation to solve assigned task.

What was the biggest challenge for students participating in the SPOT project’s study visits?

Students complained about differentiation of students’ opinions when making key group decisions. For some students it was quite frustrating when they identified different degree of commitment, skills (including language skills) and knowledge of students working in a group. They also complained about different degree of involvement and different styles of work of tutors. Limited free time and limited time for field work were quite challenging for the students. But, the biggest challenge resulted from the complexity of real spatial planning issues diagnosed in the selected tourism destinations.

What is the opinion of students on the teaching methods used during intensive study programmes?

Students underlined that teaching content, especially reports describing problem to be investigated and solved, must be available to students much before the intensive study programmes. Lectures make sense only when are used as an introduction. Lectures can be used to describe both theoretical fundamentals and empirical knowledge about the investigated problem. Finally, workshops make sense when used to directly support students in their work. Workshops must be arranged in a specific order, consistent with the process of problem solving.

What is expected role of tutors of students’ groups?

Intensive study programmes organised within the framework of the SPOT project allowed to better understand the efficient role of tutors in collaborative, problem-based, and place-based learning. The presence and support provided by tutors of student groups was crucial during study visits. Students expected support mostly when preparing for a meeting with the stakeholders of the research area, and when applying various methods to deliver assignment. The expected role of tutors is to support and stimulate students in their work, but without imposing their own ideas and criticizing students’ thinking.

Is involvement of stakeholders of the research area important?

Definitely yes, the involvement of stakeholders was very motivational for students. They realized that when solving an existing, real problem, the results of their work could contribute to local communities, and support particular people. The biggest challenge for students is to share negative opinions about the activities of particular stakeholders when presenting diagnosis and strategy for future actions.

Further reading:

Lesson from Italian local seminar – Turin, September 23, 2022

See the summary of SPOT project’s contribution presented during Italian local seminar. On September 23, 2022, students participating in the SPOT project’s study visit to Italy had an outstanding opportunity to share their achievements with stakeholders of tourism development in the region we investigated – Langhe-Roero and Monferrato.

We agreed during Italian local seminar that the sustainable tourism is not a goal, it is a way we can achieve other goals like protection of environment, equity, economic development (not a growth), social inclusion, and diversity.

Students’ reports presented during Italian local seminar

Meet the locals involved in a discussion

Claudio Boasso is the President of Serralunga d’Alba Proloco. Proloco is municipal’s spin-off responsible for local development, including tourism. One of the recent concerns of this agent, especially in the recent years when the tourism fluxes have been increasing incrementally, is to make tourism development more sustainable.

Aldo Buzio is project manager of IdeAzione consultancy company, contribute to orient the development of tourism activities in the area by offering services for local spatial planning. The company is cooperating with LINKS Foundation. For now, the focus of the company is to deliver tourism strategies for both cities and regions.

Giulia Caffaro is co-founder and project manager of Dimora Design Farm finalized to enhance and regenerate boroughs and small realities through immersive spaces sustainable tourism experiences addressing local development, cultural sharing and social inclusion.

Giulia Cerrato is member of the Association Fuori Via that has the objective of promoting the culture of walking, slow travel in all facets, as well as sustainable tourism practices through study and research activities, cultural and artistic design and promotion.

Giulio Mondini is Chairman of the UNESCO Chair “New paradigms and instruments for bio-cultural landscape management” established at LINKS Foundation and the Scuola di Specializzazione Beni Architettonici e del Paesaggio of Politecnico di Torino. He is Full Professor of Economic Appraisal and Planning Evaluation at DIST Dipartment of Politecnico di Torino. He coordinates numerous researches on various topics such as city and territory, environment and landscape, innovation and development, architecture and heritage, infrastructure and transportation, integrated systems for security.

Sergio Moscone is Major of the Serralunga d’Alba.

Enrico Rivella is a specialist of the Institute of Agricultural Food Market Service for National Rural Network (ISMEA RRN) with expertise on the topic of sustainable tourism development in rural landscapes, with particular attention on landscape and environmental values.

Enrico Rivetto is a local owner of vineyard Rivetto, understanding his role through a rather innovative approach.

Silvia Soldano represents LINKS Foundation and was part of the technical advisory team preparing the application of the case study area to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Marco Valle is a project manager in LINKS Foundation responsible for cultural heritage and regional-urban development.

Report of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress

International Tourism Congress ITC2022 was organized by the Faculty of Geographical SciencesUniversity of Lodz (Poland) in cooperation with CiTUR Centre for Tourism Research, Development and Innovation. ITC2022 was also final event disseminating achievements of the SPOT project. The event was supported by the Lodz Tourism Organisation, the Baltic University Programme, and the Polish Geographical Society. We met both online and in person in Lodz on 16th to 19th of November, 2022.

Participants of ITC2022 were affiliated to institutions from all over the world, but mostly from Poland (the country where the congress was organised) and Portugal (the country of CiTUR – scientific centre owning the congress brand). Distance matters. Thus, Poles were eager to participate on-site rather than online, while people from other countries preferred to join ITC2022 online. 181 people participated in the congress in total, including 106 on-site participants, and 75 online.

Local organising committee, in cooperation with CiTUR ITC Board, decided to announce the call for sessions first, and then – call for abstracts. This allowed to select the most important topics to be discussed during ITC2022, and structure the discussion in consequence. Interestingly, some topics proposed by most influential researchers have not attracted the attention of a wider audience. On the one hand, broad discussion about sustainable development and tourism was identified as too general. On the other hand, deliberations on youth tourism and sustainability of air transportation were indicated as too narrow. Unfortunately, we were not able to discuss theoretical and methodological fundamentals of tourism research. Missing submissions related to this topic seem to be worrying. It must be emphasized that lack of discussion about the theoretical foundations of tourism research can lead to a significant deterioration its quality.

Discussions on recovering financial sustainability of tourism as well as experiential tourism were found as most popular. This confirms the strength of growth-oriented paradigm of tourism development. However, an increasing interest in environmental context of tourism (see discussion on climate challenges of tourism), as well as social one (see sessions devoted to the issues of accessible tourism and cultural tourism) is very promising. Thanks to the support of Baltic University Programme, the inspirational discussion on sustainable tourism in Baltic Sea Region was organised.

The special plenary session on sustainable spatial planning of tourism destinations was organised to disseminate the achievements of the Erasmus+ SPOT project. The research was conducted to investigate the spatial planning issues of tourism development in the following types of landscapes: vineyard, mountain, coastal, industrial, and rural. This allowed to identify spatial contexts of various factors deteriorating tourism sustainability, e.g. 1) seasonality of tourism, 2) dominance of supralocal structures over local ones, 3) dominance of neoliberal paradigm of growth in tourism destinations, and 4) leading role of tourism industry in tourism destinations over needs of local communities. Students were involved in the research process. And, as the result, the innovative method of “teaching by researching” was elaborated during the SPOT project, and discussed during ITC2022.

Photos of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress

ITC2022 Organisers:

ITC2022 Partners:

Programme of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress

See the programme of ITC2022. International Tourism Congress ‘Tourism – Going Back/Forward to Sustainability’. If needed, you can download the programme as a PDF file. Mind that all hours are in Central European Time (CET). If interested in details of the presentations proposed, see the book of abstracts.

International Tourism Congress 2022 is organized by the Faculty of Geographical Sciences, University of Lodz (Poland) in cooperation with CiTUR Centre for Tourism Research, Development and Innovation. ITC2022 is also final event disseminating achievements of the SPOT project. ITC2022 will be held on November, (16)17-19 2022 in Lodz, the city located in the very heart of Poland. Participants of ITC2022 will be hosted in the Training and Conference Center of the University of Lodz (Kopcinskiego 16/18 Street, Lodz), and the Faculty of Geographical Sciences, at University of Lodz (Kopcinskiego 31 Street, Lodz).

The programme of ITC2022 refers to sustainability of tourism in general. We are going to discuss geographical, social, environmental, economic, political, and managerial contexts of sustainable tourism. The notion of tourism sustainability will be related to the concepts like quality of life, ecosystem services and resilience of ecosystem functions, development and economic growth, social and spatial justice as well as territorial cohesion, and – last but not least – coopetition and tourist packaging.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, Day 0

Mind that all hours are in Central European Time (CET).

Liszewski Hall

Straszewicz Hall

N105 Room

Front room

Mirror Room

T&C Centre

Thursday, November 17, 2022, Day 1

Mind that all hours are in Central European Time (CET).

Friday, November 18, 2022, Day 2

Mind that all hours are in Central European Time (CET).

Saturday, November 19, 2022, Day 3

On-site participants of ITC2022 are invited to join the trip to the Polish case study area of the SPOT Project. We are going to discuss the following topic in the field: Evolutionary changes of tourism in industrial area in transition – Challenges of introducing European Green Deal in Bełchatów industrial district. On Thursday, November 17, 2022, you will have a chance to listen about the case in during the SPOT special session. On Saturday, November 19, 2022, you will be able to experience it for yourself. The trip is organised by the Polish team of SPOT project and REGIO. Enjoy!

09:00 – 10:30Łódź – BełchatówBus transfer: Bus arrives from T&C Centre
10:30 – 11:30BełchatówCity witnessing radical industrialization: sightseeing
11:30 – 12:00Bełchatów – RudziskoBus transfer
12:00 – 13:30RudziskoLooking for local identity: Meeting with members of Pilsian Tribe Association; Lunch
13:30 – 14:00Rudzisko – ŻłobnicaBus transfer
14:00 – 14:30ŻłobnicaBełchatów energy complex: from radical industrialization to just transition
14:30 – 15:00Żłobnica – Kleszczów (Solpark) – Kamieńska MountainBus transfer
15:00 – 15:30Kamieńska MountainNew tourism infrastructure of Bełchatów industrial district
15:30 – 17:00Kamieńska Mountain – ŁódźBus transfer

SPOT project team celebrated 20th Anniversary of ERDN

Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała represented SPOT project team during celebratory seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN (European Rural Development Network). The event was held on September 14-16, 2022 in Mielno (Poland), and organized in cooperation with the Koszalin University of Technology. The title of the seminar was ‘Cooperation and experience of science in support of policies for rural development’.

The celebratory seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN was the outstanding opportunity to meet all members of the network. The ERDN was established in 2002 as a forum for exchange of ideas and research experience and a platform for cooperation between Polish and European scientific and research institutions in the field of rural development and agriculture, especially in the perspective of the European Union enlargement and its future policies.

Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała and Tomasz Napierała contributed to the seminar for the 20th Anniversary of ERDN by the presentation entitled ‘Going back/forward to rurality: Case of tourism in Bełchatów industrial district’. The goal of the presentation was to discuss rurality as the neglected context of the wider perspective of co-evolution of tourism and core industries of the Bełchatów industrial district: lignite mining and energy production. The Bełchatów industrial district in Central Poland is the case study area. It consists of the city of Bełchatów and thirteen rural communes. The case study area was delimited based on industrial transformation of rural landscape resulting from lignite mining and energy production and fitted into administrative divisions at local level.

The roots of tourism development in Bełchatów industrial district date back to the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. At that time, it did not stand out against the economic background of the region, remaining a typically agricultural area with limited expansion of holiday homes along newly built railway line connecting Warsaw and Vienna. The first triggering event for the development relied on the discovery of rich and accessible lignite deposits. Since the mid-1970s, the case study area has undergone rapid and permanent structural changes with unprecedented development of opencast mining and energy production. That included stimulation of leisure and tourism through organizational and financial support targeting employees and their families, as well as direct investment in facilities for holidaymakers (social tourism).

Economic transition is considered as a second triggering event shaping co-evolution of tourism and industrial sectors of Bełchatów industrial district. In 1990, lignite mining and energy production were marketed in Poland. Bełchatów Mining and Energy Complex was included in assets of the company currently called PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna (Eng. Polish Energy Group). Development of a large enterprise in Bełchatów industrial district stimulated significant increase of both demand and supply of business tourism. In 2014 the exhibition of ‘PGE Giganty Mocy’ (PGE Giants of Power) was opened. This event triggered the development of educational tourism in the case study area.

The future of Bełchatów industrial district is shaped by the European Green Deal and implementation of Just Transition Mechanism. To make the European Union (EU) climate-neutral by 2050, the lignite mine in Bełchatów industrial district will be closed, and the way the power plant works will be transformed. It is proposed that tourism, in particular leisure tourism, might become one of new developmental functions of Bełchatów industrial district. It should be emphasized that all mentioned processes of both mass tourism and industry development were triggered by political decisions at regional, national and European level.

The perspective of the local stakeholders is substantially different from supralocal once. Local actions groups operating in the case study area identified folklore, history, local traditions, culture, and material heritage, as well as – interestingly – contemporary economic and social challenges, as the most significant elements of local identity. Sustainable tourism development is directly indicated as a way to increase social participation and social capital. Thus, promoting agritourism and ecotourism combined with organic farming and ecological food processing is requested.

In both spatial and development strategies in the case study area it is clearly stated that the focus on quality of local spatial policy and spatial order will affect the increase of supralocal interest in developing areas for second homes construction. It should be indicated as a great chance for Bełchatów industrial district to keep relations between the inevitable outflowing population and its recent places of permanent stay. The path from industrial dwelling-places towards rural second homes should be considered as the bottom-up alternative for top-down decisions. This is the path going back/forward to rurality.

Programme of study visit to Italy and local seminar

See the programme of study visit to Italy organised by the SPOT project. We are going to concern the case study of “vineyard landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato”. All activities are presented in Italian time zone (CEST). Students and academicians are requested to take own laptops. You might also download the programme of the study visit to Italy as a PDF file, and the programme of the local seminar (PDF file).


September 19, 2022, Monday, Study visit Day 1

09:45 – 10:00Meeting at Castello del ValentinoRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:00 – 10:30WelcomeGiancarlo Cotella (POLITO, SPOT Partner Leader)
Andrea Bocco (DIST, Head of Department)
Marco Santangelo (POLITO, School of Planning and Design Vice-Head)
Tomasz Napierala (ULODZ, SPOT Project Manager)
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 11:30Introduction to the Case Study AreaMarta Bottero / Vanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
11:30 – 13:00Spatial Planning, Landscape Planning and Tourism in ItalyGiancarlo Cotella / Emma Salizzoni (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
13:00 – 14:30Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club
14:30 – 15:30Subdivision into Groups & Meeting with the Tutors7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
15:30 – 16:15World Heritage Sites – Cultural Landscapes and TourismYasemine Sarikaya Levent (UMERSIN)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
16:15 – 17:00The Challenges of Climate ChangeVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
17:00 – 17:30Break
17:30 – 18:15Enhancing Sustainable Tourism in Rural Areas – Mobility ChallengesElisabetta Vitale Brovarone (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
18:15 onwardsFree Evening

September 20, 2022, Tuesday, Study visit Day 2

08:30 – 09:45BUS travels to the case study areaMarta Bottero / Vanessa Assumma (POLITO)Castello del Valentino – Serralunga d’Alba
09:45 – 10:15Exploratory walk in Serralunga d’Alba TownSerralunga d’Alba
10:15 – 12:15“Locals talking” – Discussion with various stakeholders from the case study areaVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Maria Cappellano Square, Serralunga d’Alba
12:30 – 13:30Lunch time (Lunch box)Verduno Belvedere
14:00 – 16:00Visit in the WiMu Wine Museum in BaroloFalletti Castle, Falletti Square, Barolo
16:00 – 17:30Scenic walk from Barolo to La Morra BelvedereBarolo – La Morra (Download GPX file for your GPS device)
17:30 – 18:45BUS travels back to TorinoLa Morra – Castello del Valentino

September 21, 2022, Wednesday, Study visit Day 3

09:00 – 10:30Workshop: Stakeholder AnalysisKatarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała / Marta Nalej (ULODZ)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 12:30Students working in groups on stakeholder analysis7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club
14:00 – 15:00Workshop: How to Support Decision Making EffectivelyVanessa Assumma (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
15:00 – 17:00Participated SWOT Analysis: Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
17:00 – 17:30Break
17:30 – 19:00Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group is supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
20:30 onwardsSocial dinnerLo Sbarco – Via Silvio Pellico 5

September 22, 2022, Thursday, Study visit Day 4

09:00 – 12:30Workshop: Writing Actionable Policy RecommendationsKatarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała / Marta Nalej (ULODZ), Yasemine Sarikaya Levent, Tolga Levent (UMERSIN)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
10:30 – 12:30SPOT Consortium MeetingIn parallel to the working groups (max 2 persons per every SPOT Project Partner)Room Astengo
12:30-14:00Lunch break
14:00 – 18:30Students working in groups7 groups of students (each of 5-6 students from 5 different universities)
Each group will be supported by 1-2 instructors
Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
18:30 onwardsFree (working…) evening

September 23, 2022, Friday, Local seminar

09:00 – 09:15Welcome speechGiancarlo Cotella (POLITO)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
09:15 – 09:30Presentation of the SPOT ProjectTomasz Napierała / Katarzyna Leśniewska-Napierała (ULODZ)Room 6V – Castello del Valentino
09:30 – 11:00Students’ presentation. Round I15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes of discussion for each of 3-4 groupsRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
11:00 – 11:30Break
11:30 – 13:00Students’ presentation. Round II15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes of discussion for each of 3-4 groupsRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
13:00 – 14:30Lunch breakArmida Canoeing Club

September 23, 2022, Friday, Study visit Day 5

14:30 – 16:00Evaluation of educational effectiveness of teaching on the spotInstructors (2 per group) will conduct focus with each of students’ groupRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
16:00 – 16:30Summary of the study visit to ItalyRoom 6V – Castello del Valentino
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