The city of Sigulda (LV) has created an excellent multi-purpose Event Space in the Sigulda Castle Complex. There are several outdoors venues that can serve for various events different in size and character – starting from small gatherings, wedding ceremonies, and ending with concerts or festivals that can host up to 5 000 visitors in medieval open air stage. There are also indoor spaces that may complement outdoor events and can also serve on their own – a gallery space, a co-working space, and in the near future – the Sigulda New Castle with permanent exhibition and a wedding hall, which currently is under restoration.
Solutions offered by the case example
10 years ago Sigulda Castle Complex was a rather undeveloped area somewhat remote from the city centre where few summer events were held in the medieval castle ruins. Now this previously degraded area has been turned into a lively part of the city where local businesses and craftsmen reside in the renovated spaces. However, to keep the place alive a packed calendar of events that are interesting not only to locals but also attracts visitors from the whole region as well as the capital city Riga is crucial. The events bring visitors and customers to the local businesses throughout the year thus maintaining (and creating new) workplaces and promoting development of new services.
Events held in Sigulda Castle Complex are crucial part of site marketing strategy. There is an overall tourism strategy for city of Sigulda, including Castle Complex as one of priorities, but to ensure the site is visited and loved by local residents and people from neighbouring cities unique events are organised throughout a year: concerts, gastronomy festivals, opera festival, outdoor cinema nights, markets etc.
Building on the sustainable and integrated approach
The key to the successful event management is the integrated approach where all the involved parties work together: municipality team (culture, tourism, marketing departments), event organisers. City of Sigulda has developed a program to attract partners for events offering co-financing if proposed event meet municipality’s priorities.
Based on a participatory approach
The event management has certainly built on the participatory approach. There are regular Sigulda Development Agency meetings with the entrepreneurs residing in the Castle Complex where day-to-day information is exchanged. Entrepreneurs are invited and encouraged to participate in all the events that are organised in the Castle Complex.
What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?
There is an overall increase of number of registered visitors in Castle Complex by 12% yearly and an increase in time they spend there by 20%.
Increase in number of events organised by 55%, visitors – 80%.
Increase in number of businesses in the Castle Complex 75%.
Why should other EU cities use it?
To find a contemporary use of their cultural heritage which justifies spending of public money in restoration and maintenance processes.
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