The third TAT (Transnational Assessment Team) meeting took place in the Vulkanland region from 27 June until 01 July 2016.

The task of TATeams is to examine the partner destinations regarding their suitability for the target group 55+ by using the ETIS criteria. The aim of the four TAT meetings is the preparation of a comprehensive report based on SWOT analyses of the individual regions. These reports will serve as a basis for the development of an attractive tourist product for the target group 55+. The TATeam comprises eight tourism experts with background information on the development of each partner destination. On Monday members from Italy, Finland and Austria arrived at the hotel „Pfeilers“ in Feldbach by public transport (train or thermal region shuttle from the airport).

The first day of the program was marked by activity and culinary art. After the initial program meeting the tourism experts were introduced to their e-bikes, today’s mode of transportation, and started their exploration via Castle Kornberg to Auersbach for a guided tour at Vulcano ham manufactury. Strengthened by a sip of Holler Vulkan, the tour then led to Weltmaschine in Edelsbach. The Weltmaschine left a lasting impression on all members. After a visit and light lunchtime snack at Genusshotel Riegersburg our group discovered castle Riegersburg. The culinary tour culminated in a schnaps and vinegar (Gölles) as well as chocolate (Zotter) tasting.

Day two took us to the home town of our TAT member Walter Prager (Gefas): Klöch. After visiting a typical farm holiday home (Ferienhaus Zotter, Feldbach) the tour led us over the hills Gleichenbergerkogel and Rosenberg to Klöch. In Klöch Mayor Josef Doupona welcomed us for a wine tasting in the wine shop of Klöch. He explained volcanism and the health effects of basalt minerals. The Klausbach in Klöch for example is used for Kneipp treatments before or after walks along the Traminer wine hills. Our route led on via St. Anna, Kapfenstein, Fehring to Weinberg, where we visited another farm holiday home (Kürbishof Gartner) and enjoyed a pumpkin seed oil tasting. Dinner was followed by the introduction on the regional development of Vulkanland by Michael Fend and the master conversation with representatives of the local economy at Landhotel Herbst.

On the third day, we organised the focus group in Bad Gleichenberg. Among others, representatives from the tourism board Bad Gleichenberg and joined the discussion at Gleichenberger Hof. The discussion focused on the criteria accessibility, public transport / arrival, language, security, possible activities for guests 55+ in our region. For a report in “Styria today, broadcasting on 29 July” a crew from ORF filmed some sequences of the focus group. The descriptions of a senior on her travel behavior and expectations for a successful holiday were especially interesting and helpful. The day ended with a guided tour through Gleichenberger Hof, the thermal bath Bad Gleichenberg, a ride on the train and a visit to Buschenschank Leitgeb. The last point on the agenda was the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the region.

Three very intensive and eventful days with international tourism experts have resulted into one main finding – the people and entrepreneurs of the region live the idea “Vulkanland Steiermark”. They make sustainable tourism authentic and easy to feel for all guests.

Pictures from the TAT visit