South-Estonia

Vision & objectives

The main objective of the cluster is to improve its environmental performance (save energy and resources) and strengthen regional cooperation as well as promote their services and destination. Accommodation facilities as key actors in the cluster were interested to implement environmental management system (according to Green Key or EU ecolabel) to create better environment for guests and staff, a better environmental image, marketing advantages and increased activity and sales. They were also interested to improve cooperation with their suppliers (especially organic food and services).

Funding

No additional funding was received, except MOVE-IT project support for cluster coaching, training, auditing etc., during the implementation process.

April 2010 - October 2011

Stakeholders

Key Stakeholder : Pühajärve Spa & Holiday resort

Other stakeholders : In addition to lead member of the cluster - Pühajärve Spa & Holiday resort - there are several important stakeholders in the region:

  • Regional development center – Valgamaa Development Agency;
  • Foundation South-Estonian Tourism;
  • Local tourism organization – Otepää tourism center

The coach

Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) -Tallinn Centre

SEI-Tallinn is the lead coordinator of the EMAS Easy MOVE-IT project. The organization is responsible for all contacts with the European Commission, the coordination of the project, the coaching of clusters in Estonia, the adaptation of the cluster toolkit in …

Labels ands brands in the region

EMAS

The European EMAS Regulation specifies the requirements to comply with when setting up an Environmental Management System (EMS). It is a voluntary scheme. EMAS goes beyond...

Green Key

The Green Key is the first international environmental label for tourist accommodation (hotels, campsites) and a voluntary label based on rigorous criteria, which cover the...

European Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations

In order to be granted the European Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations, the accommodation entities have to meet a set of very strict environmental performance criteria...

The region

Description

South Estonia is the land of untouched nature, rivers and deep lakes. Old farmhouses, picturesque villages and pastoral small towns are typical for this part of Estonia. South-Estonia is popular among tourists who seek for sport active and wildlife/nature holidays in all seasons.

ISF (International Ski Federation) World Cup's cross-country skiing competitions are held in the region and there are lots of opportunities for winter sports.
South-Estonia cluster crosses the border. SMEs that are part of the cluster are from 4 different counties. Although the main cluster activities are mostly located around the city of Otepää that is situated in Valgamaa county.  Otepää and its surrounding areas are located in Otepää Nature Park. Thereof the activities in Nature Park territory are more strictly regulated.

Policies

All four counties development strategies have a focus on tourism. This is linked to quality in tourism sector, sustainable environment and development of regional tourism marketing strategies.
There is a development plan for South-Estonia Tourism as well (South-Estonia tourism region covers 6 Estonian counties out of 15). This plan sets five product categories for further development, which are: active holiday, nature tourism, health and wellness tourism, business tourism, historical and cultural tourism.

Boundaries and Certifications

All accommodation facilities part of the cluster have implemented environmental management system based on criteria of Green Key (Green Key is the most common and well-known label in Estonia). One hostel implemented EMS according to EU ecolabel criteria. Other SMEs (services, farms and food processing firms) implemented EMS according to EMAS. Only one company was registered according to EMAS. EMAS registration is considered to be too expensive for SMEs and there is lack of awareness and demand amongst customers and the public.