Relaxing on the wave lounger, getting information from the information board, a picnic with table and bench - sometimes it's the little things that make a local experience complete. And it is precisely the castles and palaces in the Münsterland that are ideal destinations when it comes to an excursion, a bicycle tour or a holiday. 132 new information boards, photo frames, bicycle racks, benches, wave loungers or table-bench combinations now increase the added tourist value of these historical treasures and have meanwhile been installed at many historical estates located along the 100 Castles Route.
"With the new equipment elements, we are increasing the quality of the experience at our castles and palaces and thus strengthening tourism in the entire region," says Kerstin Clev, head of the ERDF funding project "Münsterland Castles and Palaces Region". "Because people who visit a castle often also want to learn something about the history of the complex, take a short break or discover the surroundings. It is important to have a corresponding infrastructure that accommodates the guest and makes the castle experience special. This also pays off for our joint regional brand with the claim 'MÜNSTERLAND. THE GOOD LIFE.'"
The funding project launched in 2019, through which the elements will be financed, is one of the largest tourism projects the region has ever launched together. It was initiated by Münsterland e.V. and the four districts as well as the city of Münster.
The largest number of elements is that of the information boards: among the 93 boards in total, there are both sightseeing boards at the large castles and palaces with information on the history, pictures of the interiors and much more, as well as boards with overview maps showing the castles in the immediate vicinity, so that a further visit can be planned spontaneously. Private estates are provided with small panels so that interested visitors not only get a view from a distance, but also information on their history and current use. The offer is complemented by 39 cycling region and place boards at central locations such as railway stations or town centres with information on nearby sights as well as cycling routes.
"With the new information boards, we are closing a gap in the so-called customer journey, i.e. the visitor journey," explains Kerstin Clev. "Until now, a major shortcoming cited in surveys was that there was no on-site information about many of the castles and palaces on the 100 Castles Route. Now the houses are better connected and guests get a first impression via the boards and can call up further information on the internet via a QR code." An app is also available free of charge via another QR code, with which the historic properties can also be discovered digitally and playfully.
The well-being of visitors has also been given a stronger focus: those who want to relax or take a short break during an excursion can now make use of the 40 table-bench combinations, 10 Münsterland benches and 120 other elements such as wave loungers and thrones that have been installed in the parks around various estates.
To capture the castle experience forever, there are a total of 23 photo frames that frame the estates from a special perspective and invite visitors to take a photo. The chosen design language of all the furnishing elements reflects the core values of the Münsterland region: energetic, ambitious and prudent. The closeness to nature is expressed by the choice of warm wood. This also convinced the jury of the renowned IF Design Award - a globally recognised trademark when it comes to excellent design - which was awarded this year for the Münsterland furnishing elements, among others.
The large target group of cyclists in Münsterland was also taken into account: New bicycle bars, repair stations and luggage boxes round off the range of new equipment elements. A digital campaign on the topic of "Cycling in the Münsterland Castles and Palaces Region" has been running since May to coincide with the region's most popular cycle route, the 100 Castles Route. This campaign focuses on the route in terms of both overnight and day tourism. "With the contents of the campaign, we want to strengthen the lifestyle of cycling in the Münsterland and make the region even more well-known and desirable among cycle tourists," Kerstin Clev explains the goals of the campaign.
An important interface is also the promotion of the castles and palaces region via the Komoot touring platform: with over 15,000 followers, Münsterland is strongly represented in the fast-growing and very active network for outdoor activities. "There is a lot of interaction here - and thus many users who actually ride the tours," explains Kerstin Clev. Since the tour directory is also available in English and Dutch, international guests are also addressed.
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