The VIIth coordinating meeting of the interregional commettee of Via Francigena is under preparation. This technical body coordinated by the EAVF connects the 18 European regions on Via Francigena. The meeting will take place on 26th June 2015, in Saint Maurice, in the Swiss Canton of Valais.
"If you want to travel fast, walk alone. If you want to travel far, walk together". This African proverb explains well the European Association of the Via Francigena Ways' networking, and it also explains the philosophy behind the cooperation between the European regions situated along the Via Francigena, which started in 2012 due to the Association itself.
By signing the Memorandum of Understanding, the European regions of the Via Francigena have committed to cooperating transregionally on this cultural route and have acknowledged its great potential for integrated local promotion and development. Like the links of a chain, the critical points and the strengths of the Via Francigena influence the whole route.
Taking into consideration the results achieved by some regions and Italy's interregional projects, eleven European regions are taking part in three thematic working groups within the framework of the European Steering Committee set out by the Memorandum. The work teams "Route", "Accommodation Capacity and Services", "Tourist Information and Promotion" - respectively coordinated by the Regional Authorities of Tuscany, of Emilia-Romagna and of Lombardy - are working on the definition of shared standards for a full accessibility of the route (safety measures, signage, accommodation facilities) and on the development of shared information strategies, starting from the update of the European web portal.
Whilst awaiting the new programming of European Funds, the interregional Steering Committee is already laying the foundations for a Euro-Mediterranean Master Plan of the Via Francigena ways. Itinerant tourism is a steadily increasing phenomenon in Europe, and the territories that will take up this challenge will only take advantage of it.
After the recent meeting held in Reims in December 2014, the regional representatives are meeting in Saint-Maurice at the eponymous Abbey on 26th June. This remarkable religious and historic site is celebrating its 1500th anniversary of uninterrupted existence this year. A privileged setting for the meetings of this network, which has roots in the search for intercultural dialogue also through sustainable development. The meeting will be organised in cooperation with the Region of Bas Valais, a member which is also holding the Vice-Presidency of the EAVF.