about Suiti Association


Estonian-Latvian cross-border cooperation program project UNESCO-tourism

Igaunijas-Latvijas pārrobežu sadarbības projekts, prezentācija, PDF

The goal of the project is the development and popularization of cultural tourism in the regions recognized by UNESCO “UNESCO tourism” in cooperation with the Livi in Latvia and the Seti and Kihnu communities in Estonia. Project duration 3 years; the total amount of the association’s budget – 27,062 EUR, including state funding 5%, association co-financing 10% (will be covered from the state grant). There are a total of 12 partners in the project.

Project goals:

To create a tourism product, including 4 small regions of ethnic cultures, based on the uniqueness of “living cultures” recognized by UNESCO.

Planned results of the project:

  • to develop a unique tourism product and marketing activities that combine local cultural heritage, services of local tourism entrepreneurs and attractive places in an integrated tourism offer;
  • a jointly developed tourism product will make the unique values of ethnic cultural regions accessible, understandable and attractive to tourists;
  • tourists have the opportunity to experience and understand cultural heritage as a professional tourism product.

Regions of ethnic cultures included in the project – Setu country (Setomaa) and Kihnu island in Estonia, Suiti region and Liv coast in Latvia.

The total budget of the project: 1,123,547.00 EUR, including funding from the European Regional Development Fund: 955,014.95 EUR.

Programme web page:

Oficial EU webpage:

Project partners:

  • MTÜ Setomaa Turism
  • SA Seto Instituut
  • Biedrība Etniskās kultūras centrs „Suiti”
  • Dundagas novada pašvaldiba
  • Ventspils novada dome
  • Latvijas Lauku turisma asociacija “Lauku celotajs”
  • Kihnu Vallavalitsus
  • SA Kihnu Kultuuriruum
  • Värska vald
  • Meremäe Vallavalitsus
  • Kuldigas novada pašvaldiba
  • Alsunga novada dome

Project information in EST-LAT webpage:

Project results:

Publications in English:

Publications in Latvian:


  • Māju kafejnīcu dienas Lībiešu krastā 1.-2.06.2019
  • Māju kafejnīcu dienas suitos 24.08.2019


Līvu krasts
Suitu kultūrtelpa

* This website reflects the views of the author. The Managing Authority of the program is not responsible for the possible use of the information contained therein.

From March 6 to 8, the first project events took place in Estonia – a ceremonial signing of the cooperation agreement, a meeting of the project working group, where the project activities were discussed and the implementation schedule was specified, as well as the first practical seminar on the development of tourism routes in Latvia and Estonia.

In Estonia and Latvia there are four unique regions – Setomaa, Kihnu, Suiti and Liv coast – where old cultural traditions are kept alive as part of everyday life of local people. These old traditions, including singing and dancing traditions, national costumes, celebration of religious and traditional holidays, food and handicraft traditions, old-Võrumaa smoke-sauna tradition etc. are reasons why three of regions (Setomaa, Kihnu and Suiti) are included to the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Livi coast area, which includes 12 villages, is making efforts to apply to the list. However, the potential of unique cultural heritage and worldwide known UNESCO-label in promotion of those regions as tourism destination has been underused both in domestic and foreign markets.
Many visitors and local tourism service providers doesn’t know the meaning of UNESCO-label, it should be much more understandable for them. Regions’ should learn together the effective use of UNESCO-label in promotion using the experience of other regions (like Hungary), heritage culture specialists, tourism experts etc.
The place in UNESCO-list is available only for regions having authentic cultural heritage. It means that all relevant parties should know the historical background and authentic content of different aspects of local heritage. Then it can also be introduced to visitors. Because the official logo of UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage is not allowed to use in marketing a joint slogan/selling message is needed for promotion and marketing.
Project objectives:
The aim of the project is to create a tourism product involving 4 small ethnic culture regions based on the uniqueness of living heritage cultures recognized by UNESCO. By offering a joint holistic and attractive tourism product it is possible for the visitors to acquire and to experience genuine cultural heritage, which is rare to find in nowadays world.
As a result of the project, partners have composed unique tourism product and marketing themes which combine local cultural heritage, services offered by local tourism businesses and attractive sites to an integrated tourism offer.
The jointly developed tourism product will make the actual unique values of the mentioned ethnic regions accessible, understandable and attractive for tourists. Tourists have an opportunity to experience and understand the cultural heritage as professional tourism product.
Main activities:
WP1 Product development
Development of 4 routes in Setomaa, Kihnu, Livi and Suiti regions. Set of 4 routes will be promoted under one common slogan and selling message.
1) Partners organize joint workshop with external experts in Setomaa, Estonia about the creation of heritage based routes. In each region 2-4 local workshops will be organized together with tourism service providers and tourism experts.
2) In each region tourism service providers will be encouraged to compose joint tour packages for individual tourists and groups consisting several tourism services. These tour packages can be thematical for visitors with special interests, or regional.
3) Theoretical seminars and practical workshops will be organized (1-2 in each region) during which service providers interested in packaging work together and design using the support of tourism specialists attractive and profitable tour packages.
4) Partners organize 4 2-days mutual study tours for tourism service providers for exchange of experiences and benchmarking.
5) In each region partners organize 10 local practical seminars to tourism service providers for improvement of their skills and knowledge for using local cultural heritage in tourism service design.
6) Partners compose joint practical handbook or guidelines for tourism service providers offering practical advice and tips in using local heritage in tourism. It will be published in 2 languages and disseminated to local businesses and other service providers.
7) A style books will be created for each region introducing how to use the common visual identity of each region in websites, menus, promotional materials, banners, signposts etc.
8) In Setomaa there is experience in organizing open cafe days for visitors introducing local food heritage and using it for promotion of the region. Other 3 regions will initiate similar events using the experience of Setomaa.
9) Partners are planning small-scale investments to 8 tourism sites in 4 regions. Värska municipality is planning to reconstruct a building in Seto museum in Värska. Meremäe municipality will renovate the main building of Luikjärve farm, which is the branch of Obinitsa Seto museum. Kihnu municipality will establish a new exhibition building next to Kihnu museum. Kihnu Cultural Space foundation will reconstruct the building of Kihnu heritage culture centre in Rootsiküla, Kihnu. Alsunga municipality will renovate the premises of Alsunga museum. Kuldiga municipality will invest to equipment for creation of the exhibition of Suiti cultural heritage in Basi culture house. Dundaga municipality will invest to equipment for Livi heritage culture centre in Kolka. Ventspils municipality will create oak tree installation that represents the Livi marines from last century.
WP2 Effective use of UNESCO-label in promotion of region as tourism destination
Tourism service providers and organizations in regions and other relevant stakeholders should agree the basic concept about using Unesco-label in product development, marketing and communication, so it is understandable for all parties. As regions cannot use official Unesco logo, joint selling message/slogan is needed for joint marketing, communication, publications etc.
1) Seto Institute will organize 1-day joint workshop in September 2017 in Setomaa. The aim is to achieve common understanding of the meaning of Unesco label and possibilities to use it jointly in tourism.
2) ECC Suiti will organize a 1-day joint conference in Alsunga in June 2017 dedicated to the wider use of music/singing traditions in tourism product development and service design.
3) Seto Institute and Värska municipality will organize in cooperation 2-days conference in Värska in October 2018 dedicated to the use of Unesco-label and cultural heritage in tourism
4) Latvian Rural Tourism Association “Lauku Celotajs” will organize 3 1-day national seminars for Latvian tourism service providers and stakeholders explaining and highlighting the importance of using cultural heritage in rural tourism.
5) 1-day open workshops introducing Seto leelo tradition will be organized by Meremäe municipality in 2017 and 2018, and Värska municipality in 2017 and 2018.
6) Partners create joint selling message and slogan which is symbolizing and creating joint visual identity of Unesco regions in Estonia and Latvia.
7) Partners will have a joint group who will visit Hungary in April 2018 (8 days) and learn the experience of different Unesco sites and traditions, incl. workshops with local stakeholders.
8) Partners from all 4 regions produce together 2 thematical booklets introducing visible and attractive aspects of local cultural heritage to tourism service providers, so they can use these traditions in authentic way. The booklets will be prepared in 2 languages (est and lat).
9) Dundaga and Ventspils municipality will prepare the application to Latvian national body in 2017 for including Livi coast area to national Unesco-list. In case of success partners prepare an English version of the application in 2019 for Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
WP3 Marketing and communication
Marketing activities are needed for introducing 4 regions as tourism destinations and bring out the uniqueness of these ethnic regions in different markets. Marketing activities are designed for attracting new visitors from target countries including tourists especially interested of cultural heritage.
1) Partners compose joint marketing brochure in 3 languages (est, lat, eng), which includes information about the main attractions and features of each 4 regions + South-Estonia smoke sauna tradition, image maps etc.
2) After creation of routes in regions marketing materials (leaflets, route maps) will be produced using same concept and approach.
3) Partners will produce pocket size travel guides in 3-4 languages about each region introducing main tourism sites and attractions in the region and providing basic info about accommodation and catering places.
4) Partners produce joint event calendar of 2018 as promotional item.
5) NGO Setomaa Tourism will organize 2 media trips (2017 and 2018) and one fam trip for Latvian tour operators (2017). Kihnu municipality will organize fam-trip to tour operators (est or fin) in 2019. Lauku Celotajs will organize 2 media/fam trips in 2018 and 2019.
6) Partners create project/visitor sections in their websites using external IT-services. In KIhnu separate visitor’s website will be created. In Setomaa site will be updated with new project information. In Lauku Celotajs website there will be separate section for marketing Unesco regions and Livi coast and Suiti routes and tour packages.
7) NGO Setomaa Tourism will participate in tourism fairs Tourest, Balttour, Mardilaat and Matka tourism fair (Finland). They will be supported in Balttour fair by Alsunga municipality (Suiti box) and in Esttour fair by Kihnu municipality representatives.
8) Kihnu municipality and Kihnu Cultural Space foundation will organize Kihnu Heritage Days as open event introducing Kihnu cultural heritage in June 2018 (3-days event) including concerts and events promoting Kihnu handicraft, art and music traditions and history.
9) The 2-days open festival of Fenno-Ugric nations will be organized by Dundaga municipality in Livi coast area promoting local heritage culture of Livs.

Project partners:
Setomaa Tourism NGO, Seto Institute Foundation, Ethnic Culture Centre “Suiti”, Dundaga Municipality, Ventspils Municipality Council, The Latvian Country Tourism Association “Lauku ceļotājs”, Kihnu Municipality Council, Foundation Kihnu Cultural Space, Värska Municipality Council, Meremäe Municipality Council, Kuldiga District Council, Alsunga Municipality Council
Project period:
01.03.2017 – 29.02.2020
Total budget:
1 123 547,00 € (including ERDF co-financing 955 014,95 €).

Conference “Bourdon. Tradition. Inheritance”

As part of the Fifth International Bourdon Festival, from June 9 to 11, 2017, a project co-financed conference “Bourdon. Tradition. Inheritance” was held in Alsunga on June 9. Lecturers from Latvia, Estonia and Georgia performed at the conference, as well as a special guest – Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, who presented the 5th volume of her sun songs “Three suns. Mythological sun.”

From September 20-22, 2017, the working group of the project of four communities (Suits, Setos, Kihns and Libyans), businessmen and representatives of the NGO sector, who participated in the meeting of the project management group, as well as a tour of the Setos land – to learn Setos, visited the Setos. the experience of entrepreneurs, how to create and develop a business based on traditional culture in rural areas.

Suiti style book

The Suiti style book will be accessible to everyone who maintains and uses Suiti traditions on a daily basis – tourism service providers, local organizations, etc. The brochure information and logo will be used for marketing and communication purposes – brochures, websites, souvenirs and much more.

This edition is financed by the Estonia-Latvia program under the European Regional Development Fund project “Small ethnic cultural territories as a tourist destination”. The project includes four ethnic cultural regions – Seta (Setomaa) and Kihnu in Estonia, the Libyan coast and Suiti area in Latvia. All of these regions are unique and unique in their ethnic culture and values, and the slogan “Living Traditions: Unique Entities” unites all four regions, emphasizing that each region is sustained daily by local unique traditions.

Available for download: Suitu stila grāmata

Folk costume of Kihnu, Setu, Suiti and Livians

In today’s globalized world, people appreciate cultural differences more and more. National costume is the most easily visible part of cultural identity. This book provides a brief overview of the folk costumes and traditions of four very peculiar ethnic groups – the Suits and the Libyans, as well as the Seti and the Kihnians living in Estonia.

The authors of the “Suits national costume” section of the booklet “Every nation has its own costume” are Juris Lipsnis, Dace Martinova, Māra Rozentāle.

This publication is financed by the Estonia-Latvia Program European Regional Development Fund project “Development and popularization of small ethnic cultural spaces as a tourist destination”. The project includes four regions of ethnic cultures — Seto land (Setomaa) and Kihnu island in Estonia, the Libyan coast and Suitu district in Latvia. All these regions are special and unique with their own ethnic culture and values, and the slogan “Living Traditions: The Unique Unites” unites all four regions, highlighting the fact that in each region, local unique traditions are maintained on a daily basis.

Workshop: digital marketing,
home open cafe training