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‹ber NSCR
NSCR Final Conference
from the Newcastle conference The projectís final public event was held in Newcastle upon Tyne in England in early November. A conference, looking at tourism, economic development and European funding, was held on Thursday 9 November.

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This was followed on the Friday by a set of technical workshops on providing information to cycle tourists and on the Saturday by site visits to view work in progress. Newcastle City Council hosted the event.

Delegates from all the partner countries attended together with representatives from municipalities, cycling and other organisations in the UK. The conference attracted 85 people and the workshops 65. Stephen Hughes MEP led off in the morning of the conference, looking at the wider European context. Key note speeches were from our leading supporters in the region. John Holmes of One North East (the regional development agency) outlined the wider context of tourism and job creation. Then Joanne Morrisey described how Sustrans had moved from a narrow focus of creating cycle routes to a much wider promotional and business development role in the north east of England and elsewhere in the UK.


The speakers following came from a variety of backgrounds and overall gave a fascinating insight into how cycle tourism (and of course the North Sea Cycle Route) might develop in future, with or without Interreg-type funding. We also had a look at our sister project NAVE Nortrail, which caters for those on foot rather than cycles. Two speakers had a very personal story to tell. Eli Laupstad Omdal in the morning described how she had created the ultimate in niche hotels in her small town in Norway of Sogndalstrand. In the afternoon Mary Blanche from Norfolk in the UK gave a moving talk on how she had found great pleasure and spiritual uplift from cycling the route with her husband Lionel.
 

The workshops were aimed at a slightly more technical audience and brought together experts in a number of fields. Eli Viten from Rogaland opened on the achievements of the North Sea Cycle Route project and then Runar Bergheim of Avinet spoke on the projectís dramatically renewed web site. From the UK we had sessions on map making, signing and promoting new cycle related business, plus reports on the projectís monitoring programme, led by the University of Central Lancashire.


There was a strong contingent of speakers from Flanders, looking at cycling in relation to new technologies, public transport and new technologies. Floris de Jong and his partner Monique gave another personal account of using the route, accompanied by his fine photographs. Bernhard Ensink, Secretary General of the ECF rounded off the day with a look into the future of transnational routes.


On the Saturday some delegates stayed on to look at work in progress, mainly in and around the Port of Tyne terminal at North Shields. We saw how better facilities were being created for cyclists leaving the terminal, linking up also with the national and regional route network. The brave then set off on bikes for a short, wet and windy ride down the river and then warming up again on the Shields Ferry (pedestrians and cyclists only). We then looked (very briefly) at the North Sea at South Shields before having lunch ŗ líancienne in the reconstructed Roman fort at Arbeia.

A lot was spoken about and a lot was learnt over the three days and feedback from those speaking and attending as delegates has all been very positive. If you missed out you can still look at the photographs and read the presentations given - they are at www.tynebikes.org.uk/nscr


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