Final conference

November 22-23th in Lazdijai Cultural House took place Lithuanian, Polish and Russian Federation Kaliningrad Oblast neighbouring programme INTERREG IIIA project „Lazdijų rajono ir Punsko valsčiaus savivaldybių kultūrinio bendradarbiavimo ir turizmo plėtra“ (Lazdijai district and Punsk region municipalities cultural cooperation and tourism development) final conference. During the conference project results were presented, participants shared their experience and predicted further cultural cooperation aspects. The participants of the conference were Lazdijai district mayor Artūras Margelis, Punsk region Chief Executive Vytautas Liškauskas, cultural centre workers from Lazdijai cultural centre, Punsk Lithuanian cultural house, Punsk Lithuanian cultural house, Lazdijai district museum and Seinas cultural centre, Interreg United Technical Secreatariat, representatives from the Ministry of Interior.

Lazdijai district municipality mayor Artūras Margelis started the conference, he introduced our district project activities. He informed that totally 48 projects are being carried on in the district, from which 26 – by municipality. The mayor was happy that the number of Lazdijai district projects carried out by municipality is bigger than other Dzūkija region municipalities. This provides a higher quality of life for district residents.

Punsk region Chief Executive Vytautas Liškauskas, speaking about Punsk region project activity, also said that participation in this project guaranteed their region residents‘ well-being. Due to the received finances from the projects, Punsk region municipality budget is three times bigger than of the neighbouring municipalities. These means help to implement new ideas and improve activities caried out for a long time. Viršaitis was satisfied that Punsk region was preparing common projects with Lazdijai and Alytus district municipalities, which encourage cultural cooperation of these two parts.

Fulfilling the project „Lazdijų rajono ir Punsko valsčiaus savivaldybių kultūrinio bendradarbiavimo ir turizmo plėtra“ (Lazdijai district and Punsk region municipalities cultural cooperation and tourism development) project managers were working with various institutions, especially with Lazdijai region museum and Lazdijai tourism information centre.

In the conference, the museum director Daina Pledienė gave a presentation „Lazdijų muziejaus vaidmuo plečiant turizmą Lazdijų rajone“ “ (Lazdijai district and Punsk region municipalities cultural cooperation and tourism development) and stated that cultural tourism is getting more popular in Europe. Lazdijai district has got exceptional cultural tourism elements: unmovable cultural heritage (mounds, historical sites, museums) and living traditions (songs, dances, craft festivals, educational programmes, gastronomic heritage). Having fulfilled the project and prepared a tourist route, it is expected to have bigger tourism flows not only from Lithuanian cities, but also from neighbouring countries.

The director of Lazdijai tourism information centre Roma Stulgienė, speaking about the influence of cultural events for tourism development in Lazdijai district, noticed that for tourism development it is not enough only to have proper tourism information, developed infrostructure and effective tourism advertisment. It is necessary to collaborate with other institutions. She was satisfied that Lazdijai cultural centre organizes attractive cultural events, which most often take place near the objects of tourist attractions. These events are very attractive for tourists, especially for foreigners. In the conference the president of Lithuanian cultural centre association Romas Matulis presented the activity of cultural centre projects in Lithuania. In the presentation he stated that nowadays cultural centres in the country are significant not only by artistic, cultural and educational aspects but also by social and economic aspects. This significance is based on meaningful project activity, when the profesional specialists ensure the index of quality and quantity and who are able to create and manage the teams of the projects. The majority of Lithuanian cultural centres, including Lazdijai cultural centre, have good specialists, who carry out the project activity. They also create the net of international cooperation successfully, that allows for cultural centres to collaborate on international level. The chief of the regional culture department of The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania Irena Seliukaitė spoke about the opportunities to use ethnic culture for tourism. She encouraged to make more authentic country tourism houses in Lazdijai region and together with them to establish the centre of traditional crafts. In such country tourism houses the visitors could celebrate traditional festivals of Dzukai region and study old crafts. The project director of Lazdijai cultural centre Arūnas Maciulevičius and the director of Punsk Lithuanian cultural house Asta Pečiulienė presented their jobs, which were fulfilled during the project, reviewed cultural events,which were introduced for the society with the support of the Republic of Lithuania and EU, which partly financed the event.

Time, place, history and future prospects of these events were reviewed in the issue, prepared byLazdijai cultural centre „Lazdijų ir Punsko krašto kultūros proveržiai“. The chief specialist of LR Cultural Heritage Department Planning and Programme Division Indrė Baliulytė overviewed the past strategies of collaboration between Lazdijai district and Punsk region municipalities. The director of UAB „Investicijų ekspresas“ Dalia Budrienė presented the programme of cultural heritage development of Lazdijai district and Punsk region and introduced the report of the survey. The first day programme of the final conference was finished with the united concert of project partners Lazdijai cultural centre and Punsk Lithuanian cultural house. The director of INTERREG United Technical Secreatoriate A. Bernadišienė was happy with the cultural events, prepared general cultural programme and said that this is a good demonstration of a successfully fulfilled project. On the second day of the conference the cognitive excursion around Lazdijai district was organized. Everybody visited touristic sites of Lazdijai district. Also there was an excursion to the Republic of Poland, Punsk town.

Having summarised the conference and the activity of the project „Lazdijų rajono ir Punsko valsčiaus savivaldybių kultūrinio bendradarbiavimo ir turizmo plėtra“ (Lazdijai district and Punsk region municipalities cultural cooperation and tourism development), the project director of Lazdijai cultural centre Arūnas Maciulevičius was satisfied that they had fulfilled the project successfully and he was grateful for his colleagues and project partners for working together and hoped that in the future they would do more successful projects.