Promoting the use of cultural heritage in service design of rural tourism

Thematic cluster:
Central Baltic Programme
2. Economically competitive and innovative region
Direction of support:
Supporting innovation and improving competitiveness
Nov 2011 - Apr 2014 (2 years, 6 months)
Total funding:
702 934 €
ERDF funding:
545 124 €
EUSBSR Priority area
Reinforcing cohesiveness of the macro-region through tourism
Developing and promoting the common culture and cultural identity
Promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the growth of SMEs

Development idea

There has always been competition between rural tourism enterprises and larger cities in attracting visitors. The quality of service in the tourism sector is crucial in today's highly competitive environment: therefore, it is necessary to design services that take every small detail into consideration. It is obvious that cultural heritage, including national traditions, handicrafts, architecture and cultural events is the main asset of the rural tourism sector in attracting visitors to explore the local culture. Unfortunately, rural tourism businesses do not use cultural heritage in their service design sufficiently, as the majority lack the necessary know-how to actually implement it in real life.

Aim of the project

As the national cultural heritage in Estonia and Latvia are similar, and rural tourism represents an important part of the tourism sector in both countries, the partners of the HERITAGE TOURISM project sought to jointly find common solutions to make rural tourism businesses more attractive in both nations.

Main project activities

The project increased the competitiveness of Estonian and Latvian rural tourism businesses through product development and the design of tourism services by focusing on the architecture of buildings, landscape architecture, interior design, preparation and the serving of national food, clothing for service personnel, the celebration of national holidays and events in tourist establishments, and the selling of souvenirs.


The Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce

ERDF funding:
67 182 €
Amount of eligible national funding:
19 449 €

Non-profit organisation Estonian Rural Tourism

ERDF funding:
169 354 €
Amount of eligible national funding:
49 027 €

Latvian Country Tourism Association

ERDF funding:
308 588 €
Amount of eligible national funding:
89 334 €

Latvian Country Tourism Association

ERDF funding:
308 588 €
Amount of eligible national funding:
89 334 €


Consultation programme in developing heritage tourism on farms

Thirty tourism farms from Estonia and Latvia improved their products and services of traditional cultural heritage.

The participating tourism farms composed development plans and started the implementation process. An overview of the farms, used consultants and activities is available on the project website.


Handbooks about heritage culture in rural tourism farms in Estonia and Latvia

Practical handbooks have been prepared for rural tourism farms. 

Handbooks include the themes about using heritage culture in inner decoration; about using heritage culture in organizing different events and programmes; information and suggestions for preparing and serving national foodbout marketing of heritage tourism product in Estonia and Latvia.

Rohkem kui kolm ideed ehk pärimuskultuuri kasutamisest maaturismiettevõtete sisedisainis EST

ROKASGRĀMATA Latviska arhitektūra, interjers un ainava LAT
ROKASGRĀMATA Latviešu virtuve LAT
ROKASGRĀMATA Gadskārtu un godu pasākumu organizēšana LAT


Manual "GoLocal - The Baltic States and Beyond" includes descriptions of tour itineraries in Baltic states.

Manual "Go Local" ENG
Manual "Go Local" RUS
Manual "Go Local" GER



Heritage map

The map presents 50 magnificent places in Latvia and Estonia where customs which have been passed from one generation to another blend into modern life – whether these are grandmother’s potato pancakes, made not counting calories, or a clear homebrew with the nowadays mandatory excise stamps, and a tag of the owner-manufacturer, or the traditional sign of Jumis on the roofs of new buildings. The map encourages people to visit craftsmen and centres of craftsmen, masters of local and traditional dishes and drinks, small rural food manufacturing companies, fishermen, sites of annual traditional celebrations (such as solstice), farmsteads where visitors can participate in farm works and children can learn more about domestic animals, to visit organic and health holdings, pubs, museums and collections, historic centres of towns, ethnographic villages and territories, events with a theme related to history and reconstructions of historical events, sacred sites and buildings, castles and manors, traditional places for buying souvenirs, nature trails and routes. The map was composed by Lauku ceļotājs and the Estonian Rural Tourism Association (Eesti Maaturism).

Heritage map "Worth Seeing" EST
Heritage map "Worth Seeing" LAT
Heritage map "Worth Seeing" ENG
Heritage map "Worth Seeing" GER
Heritage map "Worth Seeing" RUS
Heritage map "Worth Seeing" FIN


Route leaflets for independent travellers

Latvian Rural Tourism Association "Lauku Celotajs" has prepared 10 route leaflets which includes information for independent travellers about local attractions and accommodation options.

The routes include following regions and topics: Daugava, Lower-Kurzeme, the Coast of Livonian Gulf, Piebalga, Selija, Suiti, Zemgale (in Latvian and English), Holidays in the Baltics (in Russian), Active holiday in the Baltics, Agricultural tours in the Baltics (in English and German). 

Daugava (in Latvian and Russian)
Lower-Kurzeme (in Latvian and Russian)
The Coast of Livonian Gulf (in Latvian and Russian)
Piebalga (in Latvian and Russian)
Selija (in Latvian and Russian)
Suiti (in Latvian and Russian)
Zemgale (in Latvian and English
Holidays in the Baltics (in Russian)
Active holiday in the Baltics (in English and German)
Agricultural tours in the Baltics (in English and German)