The aim is to create a transnational touristic trail, involving around 400 traditional crafts and local product businesses offering the same quality standards, created in Israel, Italy and Spain.

EU project to develop small tourism business along historic routes in Israel

 

Copyright: Israel Ministry of Tourism

(Communicated by the Ministry of Tourism)

The Mediterranean Sea Basin has always been a common space characterized by intense exchanges of people, culture, goods and values among its countries. Nowadays, the contribution of typical products such as wine, salt, olive oil, textile and crafts to the economy of rural areas is progressively decreasing due to several problems including population decline, abandonment of agricultural activities and loss of competiveness of small agro-food and crafts businesses. The current economic and social crisis is stressing the need for coordinated actions which have the potential to improve opportunities for small agricultural industries and local products businesses.

The European project CoMeD Pro (Common Mediterranean Development Programme) is designed to assist in the development of new and traditional small and medium businesses located along cultural touristic routes. The aim is to create a transnational touristic trail, involving around 400 traditional crafts and local product businesses offering the same quality standards, created in Israel, Italy and Spain, along which small and traditional businesses will be developed, and existing ones upgraded. Partners in the project include Catalonia in Spain and the Italian island of Sardinia. Through the common touristic trail, the CoMeD Pro project will seek to generate higher flows of visitors interested in quality agricultural and crafts products.

Two areas have been selected within Israel – the Gospel Trail in the Galilee and the businesses and villages located along the Incense Route in the Negev desert. The Israel Tourism Ministry, via the Israel Government Tourism Corporation, is leading the €1.5 million project in Israel, in cooperation with European countries. Israel will receive €700,000 to advance the project.

Entrepreneurs who express an interest in establishing tourist enterprises along the Gospel Trail and the Incense Route and participate in the project can benefit from consultations in developing and upgrading their businesses, branding and assistance in promoting their businesses with their counterparts in Catalonia and Sardinia. To this end, a dedicated website for the project will be launched, with an online store for marketing products from businesses in all three countries.

An Israeli company (TIK Projects) that specializes in business development for tourism projects in Israel and overseas, which was also involved in the development of the Incense Route, among others, and the master plan for Beer Sheva, has been selected to prepare a framework for promoting businesses along the trails in the three countries participating in the project.

An Israeli delegation has already participated in a conference in Barcelona together with its partners in the project, in which each country presented its work plan. Among others, the participants were impressed with the production of wine and olive oil, and its tourism potential for businesses along the trail, as presented by the Catalonia delegation. The European delegation expressed their appreciation for the business incubators from Israel Tourism Ministry and requested permission to implement this model in the current project.

The next meeting will take place in Israel with the arrival of the Italian and Spanish delegations who will visit the Gospel Trail and the Incense Route, guided by Israeli professionals specializing in the development of tourist trails and traditional businesses.