The first International Meeting of Equestrian Tourism,, organized the 13th of September 2022 by the FITE gathered stakeholders of equestrian tourism and outdoor sports from 9 different countries.
Organized before the Euro’Meet of ENOS -European Network of Outdoor Sports of which FITE is a founding member - the largest European gathering of outdoor sports, the Meeting took place in Silkeborg, elected Outdoor Capital of Denmark for 5 years.
The objective of this Meeting, launched at the initiative of the FITE Board of Directors and the Equestrian Tourism Committee, was to exchange on the different practices, to share ideas, to promote outdoor sports and in particular equestrian tourism as well as its economic, societal and environmental benefits, with a particular involvement of territories and rurality. This meeting was also an opportunity to present the initiatives of several countries that have chosen horse riding and tourism to develop equestrian activities and their territory. Finally, they allowed all the actors to meet again after the interruption of the activities because of the difficult sanitary context and to share tracks of development and collaboration for the whole sector.
Various topics discussed
4 topics have been covered during this Meeting:
- Equestrian tourism and rural development,
- The creation and promotion of equestrian routes,
- Equestrian tourism, its interrelation with other forms of tourism and cooperation with other outdoor sports,
- Crossing borders on horseback in the European Union.
Several project leaders spoke in plenary before discussing each topic in round tables.
During this day, the participants took part in rich discussions and exchanges. Many avenues for collaboration and development were also opened. A document summarizing these exchanges will be distributed shortly.
Silkeborg FITE Statement
At the end of this Meeting, the President called on all participants to sign a Silkeborg FITE Statement:
Gathered on September 13, 2022 in Silkeborg (Denmark), during the first International Meeting of Equestrian Tourism organized by the Fédération Internationale de Tourisme Equestre, we shared the wealth of equestrian tourism activities and its opportunities for People, Horses and Territories.
We have also noted together the need to facilitate exchanges on a European and even international scale, and first of all, the crossing of borders on horseback.
With this declaration, we, the participants of the International Meeting of Equestrian Tourism in Silkeborg, call upon the institutions and authorities, so that the European spirit of equestrian itinerancy, practiced by more than 6 million Europeans, becomes a reality.
A word from the President
"FITE was more visible at sporting events in recent years. When I took over as president in 2015, I pledged to restore the prominence of horseback hiking in all its forms. This is what we have been working on with all the members of the Board of Directors. We have brought back to the forefront the equestrian guide diplomas - the renovated reference system of which came out at the beginning of the year - created a label for equestrian tourism centers or for equestrian stages, etc.
Shortly before the Covid crisis, we had launched the idea of holding a meeting to discuss all the issues affecting equestrian tourism. Like everywhere else, activities were interrupted for almost two years. We took advantage of the resumption of activities to launch the first International Meeting of Equestrian Tourism.
While work is underway on border crossings on horseback, the signing of the Silkeborg FITE Statement on this theme by the participants supports the efforts of the FITE and its various members, for consideration at the European level, the activities of tourism on horseback should not be forgotten and be taken into account as are those of competition. The second subject that came up was a better participation and involvement of the countries that make up the FITE in European funding, to support structuring projects and development of equestrian tourism in Europe.
See you in 2024
Finally, the President recalled the mission of FITE: "This is the strength of a federation, to do together what we can not do alone," concluding "these first International Meeting of Equestrian Tourism are the beginning of an adventure, they will call for other editions, which will be discussed at the next meeting of the Board of Directors of the FITE in December, for a next appointment in spring 2024.
The President thanked all the participants of this meeting, which highlighted very concrete actions for the future work of the FITE. He also thanked all the people who contributed to the organization of this event: the members of the Board of Directors and the Equestrian Tourism Committee of the FITE and the ONTE France - the French Equestrian Federation.