Meeting Twin Towns in Săcueni
The members of the delegations discussed the opportunities in e-tourism.
A twin town meeting took place in Săcueni from June 8 to 11. Representatives from Algyő, Edelény, Gyermely, Héhalom, Mucsony (Hungary), Kamocsai, and Kürti (Slovakia) participated alongside the host Săcueni.
Among the more than two hundred representatives from the eight municipalities, were those who greeted each other as old friends, but new friendships were also forged during the enjoyable joint programs.
The four-day meetings program introduced the participating delegations and interested parties to the segment of tourism that takes place in the digital space. This is because in today’s world, most travel planning happens online, using smart devices. Travelers often value the ability to compare prices and accommodations on online lodging booking platforms and the fact that they don’t need to establish direct contact with the accommodation provider. Digitization is a constant presence in the tourism industry, and the changing customer demands of the past two and a half years have only accelerated this process. A significant portion of the sector, at least the rapidly awakening part, made significant leaps in development during this time, and the twin town meeting revolved around the aspects of digitization and tourism.
The goal of the meeting was for the representatives of the present municipalities to define common strategic directions within the framework of the project called “E-Tourism in the EU” for the development of their own municipalities’ e-tourism and their coordination. As a result, by the end of the project, an accessible website was created where the digitized tourism services, databases, and related information for each municipality could be continuously updated and accessed by all partners.
The first day of the event involved the arrival of the delegations and their accommodation check-in. In the evening, a joint dinner and informal friendly conversations took place at the restaurant of the city’s thermal bath.
Professional and theatrical presentations added color to the twin town meeting.
On the day after their arrival, delegates from the participating municipalities gathered at the Szabó Ódzsa City Theater in an official opening ceremony of the 2023 Citizen Twin Town Meeting. The guests were welcomed by Csaba Béres, the mayor of Săcueni, and Timéa Aszalós, the president of the Ér Hangja Association. They presented the objectives, programs, and expected outcomes of the multi-day event. Following this, the twin towns introduced themselves in terms of tourism, outlining the benefits and opportunities of EU membership from the perspective of tourism and e-tourism, both in the short and long term.
Subsequently, a tourism exhibition was opened in the city museum where each partner municipality showcased their own tourism booth. Visitors could explore the peculiarities of different regions and even taste the presented foods and beverages. The thoughtfully arranged stands and various culinary offerings achieved their goal, as those who went through and sampled the exhibited items were certainly inspired to visit the respective municipalities.
During the day, delegates from the twin towns had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Transylvanian dance and folk music traditions presented by the Zajgó Folk Dance Group from Săcueni. After dinner, the guests and locals were treated to a live music show by Szenes Iván, accompanied by an orchestra at the city theater, as well as a performance by Tihanyi-Tóth Csaba and his wife, Bognár Rita.
Saturday was dedicated to workshops where participants discussed their municipalities’ tourism situation, potential, and opportunities for digitalization in smaller, coordinated working groups. Additionally, participants had the chance to attend several professional presentations. The event welcomed Ödön Szabó, a parliamentary representative from Bihor County, who detailed the main topics of the program series. Following that, Edina Kémenes, an assistant from the office of Gyula Winkler, a Member of the European Parliament, gave a professional presentation on the topic of “E-Tourism in the EU.”
Subsequently, roundtable discussions took place, during which participants learned about EU financial and strategic opportunities, EU directives in the tourism and e-tourism sectors, and gained a comprehensive view of the future of the Union, various cooperation possibilities, and programs.
We enriched ourselves with tourism and gastronomic experiences.
In the afternoon, participants had the option to choose from various programs. Through different tourist routes, they had the chance to get to know the tourism facilities and planned future investments in Săcueni and the region.
On the closing day of the event series, participants prepared gastronomic specialties that are typical of their municipality or region during a joyful cooking session. These dishes were available for anyone to taste. Additionally, they evaluated the events of the past few days and determined common strategic directions.
These few days, and the tourist routes on Saturday afternoon, not only provided enjoyable relaxation for everyone but also shed light on a very important matter: from a tourism perspective, our city and its surroundings have much greater potential than we, the locals, had previously thought. The guests’ use of the thermal baths, city tours, visits to folk houses, and wine cellar visits allowed us, the residents of Săcueni, to see our region through the eyes of our guests.
These opportunities showed that Ier Valley is beautiful, interesting, and uniquely special in its own way, with so much to see and experience that couldn’t possibly be squeezed into just a few days. What is routine for us is a novelty for others. The opportunities that lie within this are worth exploring and exploiting from a tourism perspective. This four-day meeting was truly enjoyable, and the representatives of the municipalities came well-prepared. Everyone took their tasks seriously, but there was also time for entertainment. Each delegation succeeded in presenting their own region in a way that genuinely piqued the interest of those who saw the presentation, inspiring them to visit. Perhaps, in terms of its theme, this is one of the greatest achievements of this twin town meeting. The event, organized for the fourth time, was conducted by the Ér Hangja Association, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Săcueni, with the support of the European Union’s Europe for Citizens Program.