On April 16, 2021, IX International Conference on Sustainable Development and Tourism was held online, organized by the Faculty of Management in Tourism and Trade, Timisoara, Romania.
During the conference, Dr. Desislava Aleksova, "Carpet tale" project manager, presented a report on "Sustainable Development of Chiprovtsi Municipality with its carpet traditions as a tourist destination." The studies in the report are related to the author's research and include some of the intermediate results of the project "Carpet tale".
At the end of February and the beginning of March 2021, two 5-day trainings were held, aimed at creative tourism and creation of a new cross-border tourist product under the project "The Carpet Tale". The trainings aimed the museum directors, staff and local craftsmen from both regions of Chiprovtsi and Pirot. Two two-day working meetings were held online, focused at developing the concept of the new tourist product "The Carpet Tale", sharing good practices on European projects in the region of Pravets and Botevgrad. As a result of the trainings and the performed expert activity, carpet weaving demonstrations started in Chiprovtsi Historical Museum and the Museum of Humiliation in Pirot. Within 120 days, tourists will be able to touch the preserved carpet traditions and participate in the demonstrations that take place.
The trainings, workshops and demonstrations are part of the project "The Carpet Tale: Establishment and initial marketing of a new cross-border tourist product connecting the regions of Pirot and Chiprovtsi through their shared carpet-making Traditions". The leading partner is International Business School, and the project manager is Dr. Desislava Aleksova. The project is implemented in partnership with the Historical Museum - Chiprovtsi and the Museum of Ponishavie - Pirot.
On March, 9th and 10th, 2021, a two-day online workshop was held on the project "The Tale of the Carpet", organized by the International Business School. External experts who took part in the research so far were invited to the meeting, as well as representatives of the Botevgrad Historical Museum and the Pravets Historical Museum, who shared their experience and good practices. The Pravets Historical Museum presented a short presentation of their project, working solutions and challenges in the field of tourism marketing. The presentation provoked a lively debate, in which representatives of local associations from the region of Chiprovtsi, as well as members of the project team took part with their ideas.
In the period between 4th and 8th of March 2021, a successful 5-day online training was held, aiming the director and employees of the Historical Museum - Chiprovtsi and local craftsmen. The main topics during the first two days were related to the possibilities of digital marketing, creation and management of marketing tools; copywriting and working with influencers. Important highlights in the following days were the events and art workshops organization, presentation skills and presentation of good practices from the country and abroad. The main focus was on creative tourism and how the two museums organize, offer and distribute their services and products, according to current trends in tourism and the requirements of target audiences. Konstantin Zankov - an expert in tourism and digital marketing was the main speaker who prepared intriguing presentations and a diverse range of practical tasks. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rumen Draganov also took part in the training, emphasizing the role of creative tourism and presenting the work with the methodological guide developed under the project. Both trainings took place with increased interest, interactive participation of participants and lively discussions on practical cases.
On March 1 and 2, 2021, a two-day online workshop was held on the project "Carpet tale". The aim of the workshop was discussing the concept of the new tourism product and the creation of a unified vision of the project, once what will be developed in marketing proposals and multimedia content. The meeting is attended by IBS lecturers and experts, participants from a project team, directors of both museums and external experts. During the afternoon session, Mr. Konstantin Zankov presented the developed methodological guidance, conclusions and recommendations from last week's training. The meeting was accepted by the participants with a great interest.
From February 24th to 28th, a 5-day online training was held for the project partners in Pirot. The focus of the training were practical tools and promoting methods of carpet workshops as tourist sites and turn them into real value-added places of the tourist product. Attention was also paid to the opportunities of raising awareness of the unique traditions in the carpet production, which underlie the whole initiative, subject of this project, as well as their cross-border nature as a means of advertising the new tourist product. The main highlights included digital marketing activities and promotion of the concept of the new tourism project.
On February 18, 2021, an organizational meeting was held on the project "Carpet tale", at which current and upcoming activities were discussed. The focus was on the upcoming trainings of craftsmen and museum staff from the cross-border region. The meeting was also attended by Konstantin Zankov - owner and manager of "Travel Mind" EOOD, who will be one of the speakers. Mr. Zankov briefly presented the concept of the two trainings and asked some organizational questions, after which the meeting continued with the topics of the concept of the new tourist product in the cross-border region "The Tale of the Carpet" and the workshops in the two museums. The members of the team congratulated each other on the successful work so far and specified at the beginning of next month to hold an online meeting in a wider format, to which they would invite external experts and present the results so far.
On January 28, 2021, an online workshop was held on the project "Carpet tale", which was attended by the directors of the Historical Museum - Chiprovtsi and the Museum of Humiliation in Pirot, as well as by all team members from the three partners. Ms. Maya Jovanovic from JS office in Nis joined a bit later.
The meeting discussed the reporting of the first half of the project, the organization and implementation of the upcoming trainings under Activity 2, as well as the launch of carpet weaing demonstrations in the two museums and the development of multimedia content under Activity 3. The partners from the Museum of Humiliation who have already started such carpet weaving demonstrations shared their experience.
The debates about the possibilities for holding the Carpet Festival in Chiprovtsi and the Days of Chiprovtsi in Pirot during the complicated situation related to COVID-19 provoked a lively discussion. Ms. Jovanovic gave valuable advice and suggested different options to be discussed in detail further, depending on the situation.
The meeting was successful and each of the partners made specific commitments to implement the current tasks of the project: preparation of texts for audio guides, implementation of operational tasks related to the development of marketing tools for Activity 5, organizational tasks in connection with upcoming trainings and others.
On December 14, 2020, a working meeting was heldonline, where project results for the first half of the year and the current activities related to the preparation of the interim report were discussed. The meeting was attended by the director of the Museum of Ponishavieto - Pirot, the project manager and technical assistants of the three partners, who reported on the progress of tender procedures and contracts concluded so far. There was a short discussion about the conditions of COVID-19 and how they will affect the overall implementation of the project.
On October 22, 2020, an online workshop was held on the project "Carpet tale", which was attended by the director of the Museum of Ponishavie in Pirot and team members from the three partners.
Results of the work under Activity 1 so far haven't been discussed at the meeting: collection, processing and analysis of information for preparation of a study of the carpet traditions and the tourist potential of the cross-border area; filling in the working cards for collecting photo material; preparatory work for the implementation of part of the other activities of the project, planned within the second quarter.
Each of the partners commented in summary on the preparation of the tender procedures and technical parameters in connection with their forthcoming implementation.
A lively discussion was provoked by the canceled working meeting with external experts, scheduled for the end of the month in the town of Botevgrad. Options for all workshops and trainings in online format and possible changes in the schedule of the second quarter in connection with the complicated situation around COVID-19 were discussed.
At the end of the workshop, Dr. Tatyana Dimitrova joined the meeting. She is one of the key experts in the development of marketing tools. The aim was to get acquainted with the team and get an idea of the main parameters of its upcoming work.
The meeting was successful and each of the partners made specific commitments to implement the current tasks of the project.
An online meeting was held on 08.09.2020, where results of the project for the first quarter and the current activities related to market research were discussed in connection with the forthcoming tender procedures. The meeting started with a short presentation of what has been done so far by the project coordinator and continued in a discussion format. Each of the partners summarized the market research in connection with the forthcoming tender procedures for supplies and services, expressed an opinion and gave recommendations and suggestions. The meeting was attended by the project manager and coordinator, the directors of the two museums, the technical assistants, employees of the two museums and an external expert, consultant to the Chiprovtsi municipality.
An online meeting was held to discuss the possibilities for a visit to Chiprovtsi or Pirot, scheduled for early September. Due to the delay of the advance payment and the extraordinary situation in connection with COVID-19, it was unanimously decided that meeting to be postponed for the project's second quarter. The discussion on the preparation of the tender dossiers continued and the issue of the preparation of the first interim report was touched upon. For the purpose both partners reported on the development of collecting basic information for the implementation of some of the activities planned for the next quarter. The directors of the two museums and the three partners' project teams took part.
A meeting was held to discuss issues related to the forthcoming tenderIng procedures and the approved procurement plan (Project procurement´s plan), as well as the implementation of the Action Plan and the forthcoming activities for the next quarter. The meeting took place in a discussion format with more questions and distribution of operational tasks. The directors of the two museums and the three partners' project teams took part.
First project meeting in relation to the distribution of tasks for the implementation of Activity 1. The directors of the two museums and the three partners'project teams took part in it. Issues related to database collection and basic information on the cross-border area were discussed. An action plan for the first quarter was presented and approved. The roles, duties and responsibilities of the team members were discussed and each of the partners committed to operational tasks related to the launch of Activity 1.