Tourism is important to the economic and social sustainability of many communities in the Northern Periphery Progamme area. The aim of the project is to develop innovative, long term and sustainable solutions for transport services adapted to rural tourism areas in the Northern Periphery. This will be done by implementing new and improved public transport and related information services:
- New tourist bus services, operated to meet local and seasonal demand (shuttle or flexible timetables) and integrated with long distance transport.
- Food delivery and recycling pick-up services to/from cabins and rental apartments
- User friendly web and mobile phone based transport information systems
The services will facilitate development of tourism in the project areas whilst reducing carbon emissions and local congestion from private cars. The project results will be disseminated to the wider Northern Periphery through a website, newsletters and seminars, and a joint policy advice paper on transport planning in rural tourism areas will also be produced.
Nature and adventure tourism is a quickly growing business in many rural areas within the Northern Periphery area. These areas attract tourists because of their natural landscapes, wildlife, beauty and low population density. One of the main challenges often faced by these areas is their remoteness and relatively poor transport services. The roads are often of poorer standards than in the rest of the countries, whilst rail and bus services are either infrequent or non-existent. The seasonality of tourism demand in most areas presents an additional challenge to transport planners and operators, making it difficult both to meet peak demand and justify services outside of the peak season. Also, historically many tourist developments have been planned without giving consideration to transport access, and have simply assumed visitors will arrive by private car (or in some cases private coach tours). Tourism in rural areas therefore tends to be highly dependent on private car usage, which can have negative consequences in terms of transport carbon emissions and traffic congestion around key attractions and in towns and villages. The lack of public transport, and of accessible and understandable information about it, may also discourage visits by certain groups of people who are either unable to or choose not to travel by car.
The opportunities for remote areas of the Northern Periphery areas in developing their tourism are good. At the moment the tourism industry is in many of these areas facing a boost in number of visitors. It is important for them to capture opportunities presented by the current trend, and attract new groups of visitors to make the businesses viable over time, without negative environmental impacts. New and improved transport schemes will contribute to the overall sustainability of tourism ecologically, economically and socially.
The project aims to demonstrate innovative, sustainable transport and transport information services that are environmentally beneficial and economically viable, for rural areas in the Northern Periphery. The new services will improve accessibility by public transport and encourage lower car dependency for tourism activity in the project areas, leading to longer term economic and environmental benefits.
In summary, the main objectives of the project are:
- Identification of new or improved public transport and transport information solutions and partnerships for sustainable services in rural tourism areas
- Implementation and documentation of the transport solutions, information solutions and planning strategies
- Policy advice on transport planning in rural tourism areas
- Documentation and dissemination of the project results to spread best practise to the Northern Periphery area via seminars, website and other communication channels