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Sustainable tourism on the Danube – from the Black Forest to the Black Sea

Galați is a port town on the Danube River in Romania.

The Danube is 2,888 kilometres long, which means it is the second-longest river in Europe. On its way from the Black Forest to the Black Sea it flows through ten countries and links a number of cultural and economic regions.

While the Upper Danube, which flows from Germany through Austria and Slovakia to Hungary, is well developed for tourism, the middle and lower stretches of the river have so far benefited little from the international travel business. In response, 22 private companies and governmental and non-governmental institutions from Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine got together in early 2010 to set up the Danube Competence Center (DCC).

The DCC now has 76 members, some of whom are based in countries on the Upper Danube. It is based in Belgrade and provides a regional cooperation and marketing platform. The Center fosters cooperation through joint presentations at trade fairs and through the development of transboundary tourism products and activities. It provides services for members and non-members and assists riparian countries in coordinating their national tourism strategies.

Signature projects

Signature projects include

  • the development of a common web portal,
  • the development of the Roman Emperors and Danube Wine Route through Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, which has been certified by the European Institute of Cultural Routes,
  • the enhancement of the EuroVelo 6 cycling route and the improvement of the cycling path network in Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria,
  • the development of marketing services such as Danube@ITB for partner countries, and
  • the development of quality standards for sustainable tourism in the Danube delta.

Implementation of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

The activities of the Competence Center are helping to implement the EU Strategy for the Danube Region. Its purpose is to accelerate the sustainable economic and cultural development of Central and Eastern Europe. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) supports the development of the Competence Center on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Among other things, it provides advice to the members of the Center on how to work together with other Danube riparian countries, develop joint tourism products, and ensure that they will be financially viable.

For example, the first Danube Cruise Travel Trade Masterclass was held in Belgrade in November 2016 – an event for companies, tourism agencies and government institutions to exchange knowledge and build networks.

German contribution:

First phase (2009 to 2012): 3.3 million euros
Second phase (2012 to 2015): 3.62 million euros
Third phase (2015 to 2017): 2 million euros

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