Municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis
Georgios Karaiskakis is a municipality in the regional unit of Arta, Greece,
Named after Georgios Karaiskakis, a leader of the Greek War of Independence.
The municipality’s population (2011) : 6.089 humans
Municipality has an area of 463.889 km2
The Municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis includes extensive mountain areas, characterized by delayed development, depopulation, low infrastructure and geographical isolation. The low population density and a high aging index reflects the phenomenon of internal and external migration and the composition of the human resources capacity.
The economic sector is dominated by dispersed traditional agricultural and livestock establishments and small- capacity-agritourism businesses with limited competitiveness, without participation in the strengthening of GDP of their respective Regions. The municipality features a high poverty ratio, social exclusion and premature school discontinuation.
The region is a typical area where the specific geographical features create territorial inequalities, therefore requiring reduction or elimination policies (Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion, 2008)
The geographical isolation, despite the economic shortfall, has contributed to maintain the area’s rich natural reserve unspoilt highlighting it as a vantage point and as an element of development potential. Similarly the anthropogenic reserve, in the long history of the place formed an inexhaustible, but until now undeveloped, asset. At the same time, the small size of farms in the primary sector with the traditional character and superior quality of products, becomes a potential agrotourism enhancing factor, while approaching the agricultural production in a holistic way.
Assessing the strengths and prospects (swot analysis), in the municipality’s 2015-2019 Operational Plan the utilization of these available elements is approached as an extroverted development pathway, specifying their use on the objective of providing "experience", not in static form but as a spatial expression that involves the space where the user meets the surroundings / product / service.
The aim is to determine new forms of evolution for the existing entrepreneurship and development, within the “Experience Economy” (Experience Economy 1999 B. Joseph Pine & James H. Gilmore). The Experience Economy represents the next economy, following the agrarian, the industrial and -the most recent- services economy. The fundamental economic trend of the 21st century describes that, as the world economy proceeded from the goods to the services economy, today the service economy progresses to the experience economy.
Identifying the medium / long-term prospects, the municipality thus adopts a system of interrelated actions which seek to achieve long-term improvement of the economic, environmental, climatic, social and demographic conditions. These actions have sought to be characterized by outward diffusion and added value, while achieving transnational compliance with the integrated territorial approach as it is specified in the Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.
Within its role and competence, the municipality’s development strategy focuses on the inelastic need to protect, preserve and promote the abundant natural and human reserve, as assets for providing potential “experience”'. An outreach towards the public and the penetration in the tourist market are pursued to strategically support the sustainability and development of local entrepreneurship.
Given that the municipality does not have sufficient own funds, a key concern is always a planning leading to mature and realistic actions (in terms of implementation capacity) and proportionate to the amount of the related financing.
It is the municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis belief that on it’s own resources, the implementation of an important part of the operational planning is not possible, considering the availability of financial resources, staff and expertise.
Given that areas with less advantageous "initiation conditions" suffer more intensely from the competitors’ pressures, the utilization of the cooperation opportunities and networking experiences is a one-way street, specifically working with other partners that interpret in the same way the territorial cohesion and supralocal development possibilities.
The common challenges and the economic crisis require cross-border cooperation in the framework of decentralized planning processes, so as to achieve on the one hand the amplification of actions, but mainly to create viable and lasting cooperation mechanisms and leverage ways to take full advantage of the endogenous capacity.