A EU – COSME Programme financed project to attract senior tourists 55+, during low and medium season in the four target areas through the creation of customized tourist packages, thanks to the collaboration of senior organisations and SMEs in the tourist sector.
The DiscOver55 project is financed by the EU – COSME Programme, for the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises – and it has a duration of 18 months (March 2016 – August 2017).
The project will involve the areas of: Montepisano in Italy, Vulkanland in Austria, Izola in Slovenia and the Lake Saimaa in Finland. All these regions have in common two elements: water and green environment.
What is special about the project is that the tourist services will be created with the collaboration of groups of seniors, experts in the tourist field and tour operators and under the supervision and with the contribution of a research institute active in destinations’ assessment.
Monte Pisano (Tuscany, Italy)
The Monte Pisano area between the cities of Pisa and Lucca, is characterised by very diverse landscape, alternates terraces of olive groves, hills, forests and mountains. It is a small territory characterized by the beauty of nature shaped by the man over the centuries, mild climate, the hospitality of families running farm houses and hotels, the slow pace of the countryside and of agricultural activities.
The itinerary “The route of water-Nottolini and Medici aqueducts” allow to walk from Lucca to Pisa along the two aqueducts which for centuries has supplied water to the towns placed on both side of the Monte Pisano. Thermal spring also exists in the area as well as historical spas located into XVII century buildings.
Lake Saimaa (Finland)
The Lake Saimaa is the 4th largest lake in Europe providing attractive environment for holiday making and leisure activities in the lake archipelago.
Last summer the Wall Street Journal ranked Lake Saimaa among the top 5 lake destinations in the world, while the 5 week long Savonlinna Opera Festival is ranked among the top 5 opera festival in the world. Savonlinna has already development experience and expertise in senior travel.
Water is a key element in Savonlinna landscape, being located at the crossroads of Lake Saimaa water routes in a very attractive location. Savonlinna is also well reputed as destination for spas, wellbeing and rehabilitation activities.
Izola is a small town facing the nord Adriatic Sea with 16.000 inhabitants. It is a popular tourism resort due to its pleasant Mediterranean climate, preserved nature and lively medieval old town. It is a destination appreciated by tourists especially for the beautiful landscape that can be explored by walking, cycling or by horse-riding.
Water has a deep impact on the town. The sea, which in past times used to provide food and existence to fishermen and their families, today enables development of tourism. But it is not only the sea the main attraction. Izola also has the unique abundance of Mediterranean plants flourishing in its green parks. This is due to the water springs laying underneath Izola and feeding its numerous wells and fountains.
Vulkanland Region in the South East of Styria is labeled as an European Destination of Excellence EDEN. The region is very active in promoting tourism, starting from the richness of local offers that ranges from wellness and spa offers to sports activities (hiking, nordic walking, cycling, gulf), sight- seeing, culinary art, etc.
Thermal baths are embedded in green, unexploited nature. The natural and cultural richness of the thermal regions is unique and the combination of both – the local culture and nature – facilitates mental and physical relaxation and recreation. Underground water shapes the landscape in Vulkanland and it is the label element for going to its discovery.
The project is coordinated by Timesis Ltd – Montepisano DMC (IT) SME in the field of project management and monitoring and incoming agency, in partnership with Municipality of Capannori (IT) a local authority, SiTI (IT) Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation, Gefas Steiermark (AU), a non-profit organization for seniors the incoming agency Spirit of Regions (AU), the non- profit senior organization ZDUS (Zveza društev upokojencev Slovenije) (SI) and the agency for regional development Savonlinna Business Services srl (FI).