A new literary tourism project for the border region has been launched. Entitled, ‘BLITZ – The Business of Literature Zones’, the project has been awarded funding of almost €2 million from the EU Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) Programme.

ICBAN is the Lead Partner for the project and other project partners are from Finland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Speaking following the launch event in the city of Kajaani in Finland, Project Coordinator Mr. Andy Hallewell of ICBAN said, “The project aims to grow entrepreneurship and SME reach beyond local markets by developing and marketing literary tourism products across the NPA region of the EU.

The project will ensure the enhanced capacity of SMEs to act beyond local markets through increased awareness, enhanced visibility and changed attitudes towards the Literary Tourism sector as an economic driver within areas such as our own border region. The plan is to take literature tourism to a new level.

The NPA funding programme is an opportunity for us to engage with areas such as Finland and Scotland, in generating the funding to promote such a project in our own cross-border region.

 All these wonderful assets have until now been like well kept secrets. From this point onwards a broader range of SME products and services will be combined with the literary tourism offering, so that a culturally curious/literary tourist will get an integrated view of the full services available – accommodation, transportation, experiences and shopping opportunities.

Essentially, we are creating a broader product offering than has been in place.

The project is currently being finalised for delivery, commencing with business workshops across the area.”

Commencing in May 2019, Literary Tourism development Pilot Projects will take place in each of the partner Regions. The Pilots will identify the literary tourism themes and opportunities which will help local businesses to develop new products and services. The local businesses will then be supported further by a series of workshops and an incubation programme to enable them to translate their ideas into tangible products and services. These new Literary Tourism products and services that result – five of which are to be developed in the ICBAN Region – will be marketed to businesses and customers via an app for mobile phones being developed by Kajaani University, in Finland.