After 10 years of experience with LQT – Best of Europe, following a request from the Regional Tourist Office (ORT) of the Eislek region in Luxembourg, ERA started in 2019 on a pilot project to study the feasibility of a new quality label applicable in Europe for tourist regions suitable for the development and promotion of hiking.
ORT, the Deutscher Wanderverband Service and ERA have been working together very actively to bring this project to a success.
This label is directly inspired by the German “Qualitätsregion” label applied in 4 regions of Germany. If Luxembourg is the territory where this experimentation is taking place, the concept should be applicable throughout Europe. This is why other European partners have been asked to verify the transferability of the criteria, including the LQT managers on the island of Andros (GR).
In summary the areas included to get the label:
43 criteria for the Leading Quality Trail – Best of Europe, Region :
- 13 criteria for the walking trails network/signposting
- 6 criteria for accommodation providers
- 10 criteria concerning service for hikers
- 7 criteria for tourist office
- 7 criteria for organisation
After almost 3 years of work, 2022 will be the decisive year. The walking routes are installed. The first hiking map will be published in the first half of the year.
The very detailed catalogue of criteria for the label is almost complete and is being translated into the three official languages.
A first audit has already been carried out to evaluate about ten routes in 2021. A second audit will be carried out this spring concerning the facilities and various services offered to walkers (criteria 2-5).
Once this stage has been completed, the complete file will be sent to the ERA Board for an approval during the summer.
After approval, the new label can be officially and fully presented at the ERA conference in Helsingør, DK at the end of September 2022.
It will then be up to ERA to make it known in Europe, to tourism stakeholders, in particular to regional structures.
The ERA member organisations will be able to play a key role in this process by guiding the research towards regions in their countries that may offer the conditions required for the implementation of the label.
An interesting side effect of this work
Accommodation is a prerequisite for the success of our new label. This work has led to the development of a catalogue of criteria for accommodation facilities for hikers. These are various services that are particularly useful to hikers. This catalogue has also been the subject of consultation with other European regions in order to ensure its relevance. It will be studied in the coming year before being validated.
ERA could use it for the implementation of its “ERA Recommends” label.
Through this work, ERA is affirming its desire to be as close as possible to the interests of hikers, but also to those of tourism stakeholders. The interests of both parties converge.