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Braga sets up its participatory approach to the ULG

Edited on

16 October 2020
Read time: 2 minutes

                              How to structure an ULG in these times of COVID 19 outbreak? The city of Braga shares its experiences and explains step by step how to approach and structure in the best way an "emergency" ULG!

On march 2nd we had the first meeting with the ULG local group. This first meeting, was to explain the project TFC to all stakeholders involved and if they were on board. We have had a very positive reaction given by the attendance through several inputs and preliminary suggestions, with immediate effect we felt they were committed to the project. 

Due to the situation the world is going through with the pandemic Covid-19, we were hoping to have another meeting to consolidate the ULG local group engagement to the project and start working on the project itself.  Unfortunately, it was not possible because the city of Braga implemented an action plan to struggle the propagation of the virus on the 15th of march so we had to postpone all offline meetings.  

On September 7th, we have had our 2nd ULG meeting and we could manage to have reunited almost 19 stakeholders, which was quite good with the pandemic problem.  In this meeting, we had the privilege of having the presence of our Deputy Mayor for Tourism, Altino Bessa.

 

We took some preparations before the meeting on:  

  • Tentative agenda and a list of new stakeholders to invite to our 2nd ULG meeting.
  • Setup a survey to be sent following the e-mail invitation in order to prepare the meeting and compile contributions from all stakeholders
  • Once we gather all the information from the survey, we started to analyze it in order share their observations with the local group and lead a discussion. Our major concern was to find a balance between their vision and the road we want to follow towards sustainability

Naturally, our main concern was to be able to organize an offline meeting within a safe ambience with all security measures regarding Covid-19, knowing that stakeholders could be somehow afraid of participate. 

In addition, the work undertaken was:  

  • Presenting the working methodology of ULG meetings – Braga
  • Analyzing and diagnose the existing problems in the tourism sector in Braga
  • Listen to possible and concrete approaches to overcome the problems identified in the previous point

 

Following this, the ULG was divided into four small groups for twenty minutes. Each group was led by one of the members of the ULG Coordinating Team (Minho de Porta Aberta) or by a member of the Tourism division of the City Council (Luís Ferreira). The purpose of these side meetings were to gather as many perspectives on the issues being faced by the local tourism industry and by other local stakeholders. 

Back to the main meeting, each group leader summarized the main points for each small group. A large group discussion followed for the remainder of the session, when the main identified issues were reviewed and debated.


 
Main Discussion Points 

1. Need to increase the RevPAR (revenue per available room) for the city/region;

2. Need to address mobility and parking in the city and toward regional tourist focus points; 

3. Need to integrate the available tourism services:  

  • improve communication and awareness between all stakeholders 
  • institute culture of cooperation
  • overcome access limitations to relevant tourist attractions
  • provide hubs for different types of tourism (such as religious or nature tourism in the city/region
  • improve communications with arriving tourists

4. Establish a local “passport” for facilitating and promoting tourists’ and locals’ awareness to the main attractions in the city/region;

5. Create local awareness regarding the cultural, natural, social and monumental heritage potential of the city/region for tourism. Informed locals may act as proud hosts and learn how to interact with tourists and tourism stakeholders to their mutual benefit.

 

Luís Ferreira - Municipality of Braga

 

 

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